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Osborne: 'Ambitious carbon cutting hurts business!' Actual businesses: 'Ambitious carbon targets please!'

If you flick through the Times today, keep an eye out for this ad.

It's calling on the government to stick to our ambitious national carbon cutting targets, a portion of which are up for review next year.

We've joined a whole range of businesses and organisations in putting our name to this.

The tiny grey-on-grey text is hard to read at this size, so I've typed it out below, with a few annotations. Hover over the underlined text to read my explanation:

How we can stop heating going through the roof

Tucked away in a new estate in Oldham, there's a couple of houses that are different from the rest. They look pretty unremarkable from the outside, but a glance at their energy bills tell a very different story.

These homes are build to the ultra efficient Passivhaus standard, which combines thick insulation with a clever heat-exchanger that circulates fresh air without letting the precious warmth escape.

With heating bills of around £20 a year, you can imagine what that means for their carbon footprint. The Guardian spoke to resident Justine Hutton, who's now a Passivhaus convert: "I Googled it but I was still sceptical. But it's great. There are no draughts and it's quiet. They should definitely build more like this."

Justine's home isn't the first of its kind (we wrote about Passivhaus back in 2010) but with energy bills back in the headlines, it's a timely reminder of what’s possible, and a perfect illustration of how muddled the whole debate has become.

Christmas presents the low-carbon way

Wouldn't you rather a trip to Glastonbury than thousands of pairs of socks for Christmas?

I don’t want to alarm you, but it’s less than three weeks till Christmas. You’ve probably already seen the lights on the high street, heard festive songs in shops and possibly been offered an early mince pie.

But unless you’re super organised, you probably haven’t sorted your Christmas presents yet.

Why we're not stressing about today's clean energy cuts

Solar Schools: distinctly unflustured

If you've been following the news today, you might have caught a scary story about cuts to government support for wind and solar power.

The news has got a few people worried about what this means for their home solar panels and community energy projects like Solar Schools, and the good news is that these changes aren't nearly as bad as today's stories suggest.

Long story short, the government has spun the story to make a modest subsidy tweak look like a major attack on renewable energy, presumably to get the anti renewables lobby off their backs. 

Here's a couple of key points that have mostly been missed in the media reports:

Five more tricks to make the most of your heating

Read part one in this series: Five no-cost tricks to make the most of your heating

So, you’ve mastered the central heating timer and stopped the sofa from blocking the radiator. Still wearing ski gloves in the living room? Let’s take this to the next level!

These heating tips are a bit more advanced than the last lot, but they're still cheaper and easier than insulating. And you’ll definitely notice the difference!

Zonnige toekomst voor kinderen op Sumba

Clean power target: the Lords giveth...

Remember the Energy Bill we wrote about a few weeks ago? After coming up a few votes short in the Commons, we hoped the House of Lords would add a strong clean power target for 2030.

Sadly the amendment didn’t pass (it was another very near miss), which means the target is off the table till 2016. We're really disappointed, but the Lord's did give us a small consolation prize. They voted to close a loophole that had exempted old coal power stations from cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

So although we fell short on the target, it wasn't a total loss.

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We bring people together to do positive, practical stuff that helps solve climate change.

You’re a brilliant web developer who wants to use your powers to make the world a better place.

We should talk!

Here come trouble! Solar Schools is back for another year

Good news first: the Solar Schools project is back for another year, with schools all over the country fundraising for solar panels.

From Hampshire to Hartlepool, Britain's Solar Schools are cutting energy bills and carbon

Against a backdrop of rising energy prices, schools the length and breadth of Britain are taking control of their energy and generating their own, thanks to 10:10’s successful Solar Schools campaign.

Supporters ranging from Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts to Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker MP are calling on more schools to help create a trailblazing solar revolution across the country.

The carbon-cutting campaign helps schools fundraise to buy solar PV and generate their own electricity. And it’s not just schools in the sunny south that can reap the rewards. From Five Islands School on the Isles of Scilly in the Southwest corner of the UK, to Springwell School in Hartlepool in the Northeast, schools throughout England and Wales are recognising the financial, community, environmental and educational benefits of going solar.

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