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Supermarkets still produce thousands of tonnes of plastic bags

Greenpeace says retailers failing to take responsibility for reducing footprint

Big supermarkets are producing billions of single-use plastic bags each year despite charges that are designed to reduce their use by the public.

The UK’s 10 leading supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-op and Aldi, continue to put plastic bags into their shops three years after the introduction of 5p charges under EU law.

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UK's backup power subsidies are illegal, European court rules

Surprise judgment means government must halt capacity market scheme

The UK’s scheme for ensuring power supplies during the winter months has been suspended after a ruling by the European court of justice that it constitutes illegal state aid.

Payments to energy firms under the £1bn capacity market scheme will be halted until the government can win permission from the European commission to restart it.

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Climate change is making hurricanes even more destructive, research finds

Hurricane rainfall could increase by a third and wind speeds boosted by up to 25 knots if global warming continues

Climate change worsened the most destructive hurricanes of recent years, including Katrina, Irma and Maria, by intensifying rainfall by as much as 10%, new research has found.

Related: 'It's hyped up': climate change skeptics in the path of Hurricane Florence

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Diesel pollution stunts children’s lung growth, London study shows

Research carried out in London also shows charging polluting trucks had no effect on health

Pollution from diesel vehicles is stunting the growth of children’s lungs, leaving them damaged for life, a major study has found.

The research, conducted with more than 2,000 school children in London, is the first such study in a city where diesel pollution is a significant factor, and has implications for cities around the world. It also showed that charges to deter polluting trucks from entering the city did reduce air pollution a little but did not reduce the harm to children’s lungs.

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Jonathan Franzen: 'Climate change isn't only reason for bird decline'

‘The two things I love most are novels and birds, and they’re both in trouble,’ says The Corrections author, one of the world’s most famous birdwatchers

Birdwatching was once an activity that elicited a sense of mild shame in Jonathan Franzen. The author stalked New York parks with binoculars in hand, rather than on a strap, carefully hiding from view the word “birds” on his field guide. Debonair friends in London recoiled in horror when told of his pastime. Franzen was furtive, almost embarrassed. Now, he is one of the most famous birdwatchers in the world.

“I totally let my freak flag fly now,” Franzen says as he scans for birds at a community garden near his home in Santa Cruz, California. His phone has an app that deciphers bird sounds. He travels the world to see recondite species. He has written about birds in essays, op-eds and novels.

“I was so socially unsuccessful in my youth and such a pariah in junior high that I really didn’t want to look like a dork,” says Franzen, the 59-year-old author whose best known works include The Corrections and Freedom. “I got over that. The success started to make me think: ‘Hey, it’s not me who’s got the problem.’”

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