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Coffee Pod Sales Will Soon Surpass Regular and Instant Coffee

Theyre calling it the Clooney effect. Single-use coffee pods are flying off supermarket shelves at a faster rate than ever before, possibly aided by actor George Clooneys persuasive good looks in European Nespresso advertisements since 2006 and, more recently, in the United States.

Kantar Worldpanelrecently announced that coffee pod sales of brands such as Nespresso, Tassimo, and Dolce Gusto (owned by Nescaf) willsoon overtake standard roast and ground coffee after an increase of 29.5 per cent over the last 12 months, bringing sales to 137.5 million. During the same period, sales of roast and ground varieties rose by only 2.5 per cent to 167 million.(The Telegraph) In its report, based on data from 986 million households across 35 countries, Kantar goes on to explain that the global market has expanded 16 percent in the past year, with particularly strong growth in France and Spain.

Photo Credit: Daniel Lobo/Flickr

This is sad news for those of us who wish that more sustainable consumer practices would infiltrate the mainstream. There is nothing green about coffee pods, no matter what the manufacturers tell you. The recycling claims aremostly bogus, as the used pods are a mix of plastic, aluminum foil, and coffee grounds that must be separated by hand in order for recycling to occur. It remains, as Lloyd wrote earlier, design for unsustainability, regardless of how manufacturers want to spin it.

Shipping pods across the country to make the world’s most expensive compost out of the coffee and lawn chairs out of the plastic doesn’t make a lot of sense. As for the people who try to separate the components themselves, there are not that many of them; if they are willing to do that, they probably have the time and energy to make a real pot of coffee.

Change did seem imminent. Earlier this year thecity of Hamburg, Germany, banned the purchase of all coffee pods using council money in an attempt to reduce waste. A YouTube video called Kill the K-Cup got many others thinking about where their used pods end up long after the cup of coffee has been finished. Even the Keurig cup inventor hasexpressed regretat unleashing such an environmental nightmare into the world. And yet, Kantar reveals that sales continue to climb, likely due to the sheer convenience of having to do nothing but press a button.

Coffee capsules have helped create the holy grail of marketing: a new category combining the indulgence of caf culture with the convenience and speed of the capsules.

Nespresso advertises on a historic building in Turin, Italy. Photo Credit: Lloyd Alter

This, despite the fact that pods are ridiculously expensive compared to high quality beans. Pods can work out to cost between 30 and 50 dollars per pound, which is a vast difference from the $16 I shell out every couple weeks for a pound of fairtrade, shade-grown beans.The Telegraph citesKantar analyst Ed John: An average cup of regular instant coffee costs only 2 pence (3 U.S. cents). A caf-style instant is 17p (23) while the fastest growing sectorpodscost an average of 31p (41) per cup.

Pods makes no sense for any reason other than convenience, and even that could be argued: its not that difficult to boil water and push down a French press. But, like so many other environmentally destructive practices, people need to be willing to put in a tiny bit more effort in order to lessen their footprint significantly and yet, Kantars findings show that people really dont seem to care. How sad.

Written by Katherine Martinko.This post originally appeared onTreeHugger.

Photo Credit: Tim Lossen/Flickr

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Coffee Pod Sales Will Soon Surpass Regular and Instant Coffee

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The Rise of Syria’s Brutal Chemical Attacks on Civilians

Mother Jones

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For the third time in just two weeks, chemical weapons were reportedly used against civilians in northern Syria. The United Nations is investigating the most recent case, which came Wednesday when barrel bombs thought to contain chlorine gas dropped on the rebel-controlled neighborhood of Zubdiya in eastern Aleppo, killing at least four people, including a mother and her two children, and wounding around 60 more.

Both the Assad regime and opposition forces have denied responsibility, but several witnesses and monitoring groups have said that helicopters dropped explosive barrel bombs on the affected neighborhood. Opposition forces, it bears noting, do not have helicopters.

Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy for Syria, told reporters yesterday that there is “a lot of evidence” that the attack took place, and if confirmed, would amount to a war crime. Images from the alleged attack, showing men and young children being fitted with oxygen masks, circulated widely on social media.

A doctor in Aleppo told Amnesty International that the victims “were all suffering from the same symptoms, mainly coughing and shortness of breath. I could easily smell chlorine on people’s clothes.” And Hamza Khatib, the manager of Aleppo’s Al Quds hospital, told Reuters on Wednesday that he was preserving fragments from the bombs and pieces of clothing to submit as evidence.

Chlorine gas is classified as a choking agent, and when inhaled, fills the lungs with liquid and can lead to asphyxiation. Using it in a weapon is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the Assad regime agreed to join after a 2013 UN investigation found that the nerve agent Sarin was used against civilians in Eastern Ghouta, killing 1,429 people, more than 400 of them children. The Syrian government subsequently turned over thousands of tons of chemical agents, but chlorine, because of its necessary and legal use in other areas, was not among the chemicals that had to be destroyed. Since then, there have been dozens of chlorine gas attacks that have not been countered with any repercussions from the international community.

This latest example comes shortly after rebel forces—led largely by hardline jihadi groups including Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra)—broke the Syrian government’s siege of Aleppo. The siege had cut off the city’s last supply lines, subjecting the 250,000 residents remaining in the rebel-held east to a lack of food, water, and medical supplies. Shortly after the siege broke, doctors warned of revenge air strikes, including a fear that the regime would resort to chemical weapons.

“Looking at the regime’s track record, they are ready to do anything to try to win back power,” Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian-American doctor who was recently in Aleppo, told the Telegraph. “We expect more bombing…They know that the world will not respond.”


The Rise of Syria’s Brutal Chemical Attacks on Civilians

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Germany’s conservative environment minister kiboshes fracking

Germany’s conservative environment minister kiboshes fracking

I do not understand German politics. Are they always the complete opposite of America? Is that how it works?

In Germany, for example, a conservative politician, the country’s environment minister, suggested that he opposed fracking. From The Guardian:

Pending rules for the drilling techniques would likely be tightened, said Peter Altmaier, a conservative politician in chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

“The message is we want to limit fracking, we don’t want to facilitate it,” he told Deutschlandfunk radio. “And anyway I don’t see in the foreseeable future that fracking will be employed anywhere within Germany.” …

Altmaier said he would recommend that interested parties refrain from applying for exploration licences.

Those “interested parties” include BASF and ExxonMobil.


This is somewhere in Germany, for what it’s worth.

Bizarroland, right? It gets weirder.

Claudia Roth, the chair of the country’s Green Party, is under criticism for high-fiving the Iranian ambassador. Seriously.

The Telegraph suggests that Roth “greeted Iran’s ambassador to Germany euphorically.” The ambassador, Reza Sheikh Attar, is accused of having murdered Kurds while governing Iranian states in the 1980s. Yes, Germans should not raise their hands in a gesture of respect to those who commit genocide.

We are exploring reports that in Germany, rain falls up.

Philip Bump writes about the news for Gristmill. He also uses Twitter a whole lot.

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Famed idiot Lord Monckton banned for life from U.N. climate talks

Famed idiot Lord Monckton banned for life from U.N. climate talks

Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, better known as Lord Monckton, is a buffoon. He created a film called Apocalypse? No!, the name of which is a funny joke playing on the fact that Monckton doesn’t believe in climate change. Climate apocalypse? No! says this guy whose scientific credentials are listed on a grain of salt that can be found at the bottom of the ocean. Monckton has built his name (or, perhaps more accurately, ruined the name he inherited) with his climate antics, prompting Grist to several times mock him.

And now Monckton brings a new ignominious distinction to a family name that has survived lo these many centuries, as a clown who got kicked out of a United Nations climate conference.

From the Telegraph:

The hereditary peer, who is not a member of the House of Lords, took the chair of Myanmar and spoke into the microphone against U.N. climate change protocols.

After a short speech, in which he was booed, he was escorted out of the meeting by UN guards.

He is understood to have claimed there is no global warming in the last sixteen years, and therefore the science needs to be reviewed.

Claiming to represent Asian coastal nations, he is understood to have said: “In the 16 years we have been coming to these events there has been no global warming at all.”

(If you require a rebuttal of that “16 years” bit, voila.)

The irony of this is that the conference that kicked Monckton out is the annually futile Convention on Climate Change, which today is struggling to fulfill its mandate of finalizing deck-chair-rearranging recommendations for fighting global warming. If anything, the science that undergirds the conference needs to be reviewed because it’s too conservative, as noted by Daily Climate.

Across two decades and thousands of pages of reports, the world’s most authoritative voice on climate science has consistently understated the rate and intensity of climate change and the danger those impacts represent, say a growing number of studies on the topic. …

As the latest round of United Nations climate talks in Doha wrap up this week, climate experts warn that the [U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]‘s failure to adequately project the threats that rising global carbon emissions represent has serious consequences: The IPCC’s overly conservative reading of the science, they say, means governments and the public could be blindsided by the rapid onset of the flooding, extreme storms, drought, and other impacts associated with catastrophic global warming.

But Monckton won’t be bringing his inadvertently sort-of-correct message to the U.N. again anytime soon. As the Telegraph notes:

He has been banned for life from UN climate talks. …

He has been ‘de-badged’, meaning he no longer has a visa to stay in Qatar and had 24 hours to leave the country.

What Qatar doesn’t realize is that the whole thing is a joke. Monckton isn’t actually an embarrassing British peer with a less-than-firm grasp on the scientific realities of the world. No, he’s something else entirely.


British peer ejected from UN climate talks for denouncing protocol, Telegraph

Philip Bump writes about the news for Gristmill. He also uses Twitter a whole lot.

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