June hits a new climate high

This past June was 0.9C hotter than the average for the 20th century, and the hottest June ever recorded according to two US agencies, the Guardian reports. The June figures also represent the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat and have been “exacerbated by extreme temperatures over the Arctic [where] warm temperatures there are pushing up the global average, as well a causing record-low amounts of sea ice,” the Guardian writes.

UK “green deal” energy loans failed

A UK energy efficiency loan scheme failed dismally because consumers hadn’t been properly informed about its benefits, the BBC reports. The take-up rate of the “Green Deal” was called “abysmal” in a new parliamentary report - just £50m in loans were given to 14,000 households. The highly critical report noted that the scheme was too complex with excessive paperwork and people were also put off by interest rates of up to 10% on the loans - far more expensive than other lending. "Householders were not persuaded that energy efficiency measures were worth paying for through the Green Deal and take-up of loans was abysmal," the report said.

Kellogg’s apologises for unclear goodness claims

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two adverts created by Kellogg’s for its Special K brand after “it was found to breach the ad code for not clearly signposting how its health claims are substantiated,” Marketing Week reports. Kellogg’s acknowledged that claiming Special K was “full of goodness” needed to be supported with an authorised health claim. It felt it had done this but the ASA disagreed saying the “right context was not provided and therefore the ads breached the ad code.”

Are US taxpayers subsidising junk food?

That’s the question posed by NPR as it considers Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research into the unintended consequences of a system that sees tax payer dollars help farmers cover crop insurance premiums. It asks: “Do subsidies encourage the production — and perhaps overconsumption — of things that we're told to eat less of? Think high fructose corn syrup or perhaps meat produced from livestock raised on subsidized grains.” The answer, as you might guess, is complicated but one contradiction in food policy is clear. “Americans are told to fill 50 percent of our plates with fruits and vegetables [yet] U.S. agriculture policies ‘focus on financing the production of corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, dairy and livestock,’” NPR quotes the CDC researchers as saying.

Get your solar fix on Route 66

Finally today, the iconic Route 66 is about to get new relevance thanks to a solar power experiment. Christian Science Monitor reports how one Idaho start-up, Solar Roadways, will install solar panels in the road at a rest stop on Rt. 66 in Conway, Missouri to “see if the roadway can generate enough electricity to power the rest facility.” The scheme is five years in the making and comes after Solar Roadways proved a crowdfunding hit on Indiegogo that was helped by a promotional YouTube video that got more than 20 million views. 

 

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