Top news: The IPCC says renewables could supply 80 percent of the world’s energy by 2050, averting catastrophic climate change; shale gas is found to contaminate tap water with explosive methane; Italian activists campaign against nuclear power; Greenpeace appeals against New Zealand High Court’s decision to strip organization of charitable status.

#Climate: Looking for some good news to brighten up a dull Tuesday morning? Look no further. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN scientific intergovernmental body, announced yesterday that renewables could supply almost 80 percent of the world’s energy within 40 years, concluding that if governments invested in the full range of renewable technologies already available, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would remain below the “tipping point” at which scientists say climate change will become catastrophic and irreversible. And the cost? The chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, said that the investment needed is equivalent to just 1% of global GDP annually.

#Gas: If you’ve never seen someone setting fire to tap water before, you might be interested in this next story. Drinking water sourced near shale gas drilling sites is at increased risk of becoming contaminated with methane, a highly flammable gas. Scientists from Duke University in the US found extremely high concentrations of methane in 68 private water wells located close to natural gas wells in the states of Pennsylvania and New York. Professor Rob Jackson said: “That sort of concentration is up at a level where people worry about an explosion hazard.”

#Nuclear: Greenpeace activists in Italy have had a very busy 24 hours. In Turin, 200 protestors blocked a train in that was due to take radioactive waste to France, while in Rome more protestors scaled the balcony of Palazzo Venezia where they hung a banner of Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, saying: “Italians, I decide your future”. “Berlusconi’s statements on nuclear energy are clearly contrary to the will of the Italians,” said Salvatore Barbera, a nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace Italy. The activists are pressurizing the government to stop postponing a referendum on the future of nuclear power in Italy.

#Greenpeace: Greenpeace New Zealand is appealing against a decision made by the country’s High Court, which ruled that Greenpeace’s political activities means it cannot be classified as a charity. The executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand, Bunny McDiarmid, said: “I think most people in the street would agree that our objective as an environmental organization benefits the community, which is one of the tests for being a charity.” McDiarmid said that since Greenpeace still has “donee” status, which allows people to make tax-deductible donations, the removal of charitable status is “not a huge financial disadvantage to us”, as “the primary difference is that as a charity you have no income tax on business income, which we don’t have anyway.” She explained that the reasoning behind the organisation’s challenge is to create a debate on what constitutes a charity in the twenty-first century.

Got any exciting environmental news? Let us know in the comments below!