View Full Version : Environmental concerns
Nov 18th, 2004, 06:14 AM
I wonder if this might be a suitable place to post environmental concerns? For example, in the IPS, Sonny Inbaraj reports on the threat that East Asia's rich biodiversity faces, with 95 percent of its forests already lost because of uncontrolled logging and wildlife being decimated at alarming rates, may well create what the World Bank calls 'silent forests', completely devoid of animals.
In a report released ahead of next week's World Conservation Congress to be held in the Thai capital between Nov 17-25, the World Bank pointed out that the region's impressive economic growth has brought about environmental degradation at alarming rates. ''Economic growth in the East Asia-Pacific has increased demand for natural resources such as land for non-timber forest resources,'' as a result deforestation continues to accelerate the seemingly inexorable fragmentation and loss of terrestrial and aquatic habitats,'' it pointed out. (The report in full at http://ipsnews.net/new_nota.asp?idnews=26224 )
Jan 7th, 2005, 06:59 AM
http://www.emagazine.com/view/?2208 - from E/environment magazine today.
Jan 7th, 2005, 07:14 AM
Seems that as people get older, they aren't scared of dying, but scared of getting Alzheimers. "Exploring the Aluminum/Alzheimer’s Link" is an article by by Melissa Knopper in the environment mag. http://www.emagazine.com/view/?2187
Jan 21st, 2005, 04:57 AM
Today's UK Independent reports that up to one million farmed salmon and sea trout escaped from their sea cages during the storms that ravaged Scotland last week, triggering fears that the country's remaining wild salmon stock could be wiped out.
Environmentalists fighting to secure tougher legislation governing fish farms are worried that the mass escape will have a detrimental effect on the remaining numbers of wild salmon in Scotland's rivers.
Opponents of fish farms estimate that up to 400,000 fish have escaped every year for the past five years but the force of last week's storms meant many more fish escaped at once.
Jan 21st, 2005, 05:03 AM
And this really is a concern: Professor Diamond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has spent many years studying the reasons why some societies in history thrived and others slipped into decline. He warned yesterday that an environmental collapse that would transform the world into a "global Somalia" could begin in 50 years if we fail to do anything about it. The article in full is at
Jan 22nd, 2005, 08:07 AM
Expanding urban sprawl is putting a third of America's endangered species at risk of extinction - says an article in the E/magazine this week. Read in full here: http://www.emagazine.com/view/?2216
Jan 24th, 2005, 06:30 PM
From The Independent
Countdown to global catastrophe
Climate change: report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
24 January 2005
The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already.
The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world - and it is remarkably brief. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached.
The report, Meeting The Climate Challenge, is aimed at policymakers in every country, from national leaders down. It has been timed to coincide with Tony Blair's promised efforts to advance climate change policy in 2005 as chairman of both the G8 group of rich countries and the European Union.
And it breaks new ground by putting a figure - for the first time in such a high-level document - on the danger point of global warming, that is, the temperature rise beyond which the world would be irretrievably committed to disastrous changes. These could include widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests - with the added possibility of abrupt catastrophic events such as "runaway" global warming, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, or the switching-off of the Gulf Stream.
The report says this point will be two degrees centigrade above the average world temperature prevailing in 1750 before the industrial revolution, when human activities - mainly the production of waste gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), which retain the sun's heat in the atmosphere - first started to affect the climate. But it points out that global average temperature has already risen by 0.8 degrees since then, with more rises already in the pipeline - so the world has little more than a single degree of temperature latitude before the crucial point is reached.
More ominously still, it assesses the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere after which the two-degree rise will become inevitable, and says it will be 400 parts per million by volume (ppm) of CO2.
The current level is 379ppm, and rising by more than 2ppm annually - so it is likely that the vital 400ppm threshold will be crossed in just 10 years' time, or even less (although the two-degree temperature rise might take longer to come into effect).
"There is an ecological timebomb ticking away," said Stephen Byers, the former transport secretary, who co-chaired the task force that produced the report with the US Republican senator Olympia Snowe. It was assembled by the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Centre for American Progress in the US, and The Australia Institute.The group's chief scientific adviser is Dr Rakendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The report urges all the G8 countries to agree to generate a quarter of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and to double their research spending on low-carbon energy technologies by 2010. It also calls on the G8 to form a climate group with leading developing nations such as India and China, which have big and growing CO2 emissions.
"What this underscores is that it's what we invest in now and in the next 20 years that will deliver a stable climate, not what we do in the middle of the century or later," said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on green issues who now advises business.
The report starkly spells out the likely consequences of exceeding the threshold. "Beyond the 2 degrees C level, the risks to human societies and ecosystems grow significantly," it says.
"It is likely, for example, that average-temperature increases larger than this will entail substantial agricultural losses, greatly increased numbers of people at risk of water shortages, and widespread adverse health impacts. [They] could also imperil a very high proportion of the world's coral reefs and cause irreversible damage to important terrestrial ecosystems, including the Amazon rainforest."
It goes on: "Above the 2 degrees level, the risks of abrupt, accelerated, or runaway climate change also increase. The possibilities include reaching climatic tipping points leading, for example, to the loss of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets (which, between them, could raise sea level more than 10 metres over the space of a few centuries), the shutdown of the thermohaline ocean circulation (and, with it, the Gulf Stream), and the transformation of the planet's forests and soils from a net sink of carbon to a net source of carbon."
Feb 9th, 2005, 04:17 AM
I recently aquired a new digital camera and I found this (http://www.newstarget.com/004080.html) article, regarding digital cameras and the environment, to be very interesting.
Feb 13th, 2005, 10:03 AM
Emissions policy in disarray as Brussels rejects Blair's 'bungle'
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Correspondent
13 February 2005
Britain's plans for combating global warming have been rejected by the European Commission for being too lenient to industry, throwing them into disarray.
The rejection - which comes just days before the Kyoto Protocol, tackling climate change, comes into force on Wednesday - is a personal humiliation for the Prime Minister, who insisted on watering down the plans in response to industry pressure.
It further undermines his credibility as he seeks to use Britain's presidency of the European Union and the G8 group of wealthy countries to push the issue up the international agenda this year.
The Secretary of State for the Environment, Margaret Beckett, will tomorrow announce that the Government has no alternative but to accept the EC's rebuff, and will outline measures to try to keep Britain's programme on track.
This is only the latest of a series of government climbdowns since Mr Blair announced his intention to lead the world in the fight against climate change. Late last year Labour had to admit that it was not on target to meet an election promise of reducing pollution by carbon dioxide - the main cause of global warming - by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Britain will meet a less stringent target laid down under the Kyoto Protocol but only, to ministers' huge embarrassment, as a result of action taken by their Conservative predecessors; carbon dioxide emissions have actually increased since Labour took power.
Yet 10 days ago leading experts from around the world, meeting - at Mr Blair's invitation - in Exeter, warned that global warming was proving to be more catastrophic than previously predicted, and that there was only a decade left in which to take effective action against it.
The latest embarrassment arises from Britain's contribution to Europe's main instrument for tackling global warming, a so-called emissions-trading scheme.
Under it, industries are given pollution allowances but are allowed to trade them. So firms that succeed in reducing their emissions below the limit can make money by selling part of their allowances to those that overshoot. The scheme offers a flexible, and fashionably free-market, way of cutting pollution, but crucially depends on tight limits on the allowances.
Under the scheme, each EU country has to submit a national limit to the EC, and then share it out to individual industries and firms.
Britain submitted its plan by the deadline of March last year, adding the proviso that it might revise it later. In July, having heard no more, the EC formally accepted it.
However, industry, which had originally pressed for the scheme as the most business-friendly alternative, then put pressure on ministers to relax the limits. Patricia Hewitt's Department of Trade and Industry took up its cause, leading to a row with Mrs Beckett's Department for the Environment, which insisted on sticking with the original plan.
Eventually Mr Blair personally resolved the row, deciding to increase the limits by 6.6 million tons of carbon dioxide. His decision caused a political and public outcry, with opposition spokesmen accusing him of hypocrisy.
But the EC has now called his bluff. It told the IoS late last week that it had "no intention" of accepting Mr Blair's revised figures, adding: "Britain submitted its plan, and we are sticking to it."
In a desperate attempt to save face, Mrs Beckett will tomorrow accept the EC's ruling, but will announce that Britain will not reduce the individual, more relaxed, limits for individual businesses under the revised plan.
She believes that industry, despite its protestations, will not need to emit as much pollution as it says. But if it does, she will crack down on emissions later to ensure that the EC's ruling is observed.
Last night Michael Jack MP, chairman of the parliamentary select committee shadowing Mrs Beckett's department, described the episode as a "bungle". And Peter Ainsworth MP, chairman of the powerful Environmental Audit Committee, added: "Mr Blair's habit of trying to please everybody all the time has landed him in a predictable mess.
"It is time he translated his expressions of concern about climate change into action at home. Until he does, he cannot expect the rest of the world to listen to him."
Feb 14th, 2005, 06:39 AM
I read at the beginning of an article, "The British ban the hunting of wild foxes, at the same time breeding 20 MILLION pheasants artificially every year to be shot ... the British pass laws, making cruelty to goldfish a criminal offence, while the loathsomeness of fish farming is added to the horrors of fatory farming."
Quite a paradox.
Feb 17th, 2005, 11:36 AM
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=611811 for the story on the £6bn pipeline that threatens endangered Western Pacific grey whale.
Feb 17th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Feb 20th, 2005, 09:53 AM
Air pollution takes six months off your life, international experts find
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
20 February 2005
Air pollution is shortening the lives of Britons by more than six months, a startling unpublished European Commission report reveals.
The draft report, which will be presented to EU experts tomorrow, shows that more than 32,000 people die from breathing contaminated air in Britain each year, far more than had been thought.
This means that the toll from the pollution, much of which comes from cars, is more than nine times greater than the number of deaths from road accidents.
Yesterday, Tim Yeo, the shadow environment minister, called the results a "jolt" and called on the Government to consider them "very urgently indeed". The report, which has been sent to governments, industries and pressure groups, is the first attempt to work out the toll of the pollution throughout Europe.
In all, it concludes, about 310,000 Europeans die from air pollution each year. More than 90 per cent of the toll comes from tiny particulates that cause heart failure. They are emitted by traffic (particularly diesel engines), industry and domestic heating. The other deaths are due to respiratory diseases caused by ozone, produced when sunlight reacts with pollutants emitted by vehicle exhausts.
Across Europe, the report adds, life expectancy is reduced by 8.7 months as a result of breathing in pollution. Britain does better than most countries, with an average of 6.7 months of life lost.
Germany has the most deaths, more than 65,000 a year, followed by Italy at 39,000, with France third and Britain fourth. Luxembourg, with its small population, has the least, at 282 a year, followed by Estonia, with 456.
Lost life expectancy is worst in Belgium, where on average people lose 13.6 months of life, and the Netherlands, at 12.7 months. The Finns are the least affected, losing just 3.1 months on average, followed by the Irish at 3.9 months.
Previous estimates - by a government committee - suggested that someone living in London would lose only three weeks of life as a result of breathing polluted air, while the highest previous estimate for the number of deaths stood at 24,000.
Yesterday Mr Yeo said: "I think we have all been guilty of some complacency about air pollution, and these conclusions come as a jolt."
Feb 20th, 2005, 09:56 AM
Mr Yeo says SOME complacency, what a joke, he clearly has no idea about the impacts of environmental pollution, that's probably why the Tories made him Environment Minister.
Mar 7th, 2005, 09:27 AM
Today, there's an article beginning: "One of Britain's most eminent scientists has attacked President Bush for acting like a latter-day Nero who fiddles while the world burns because of global warming.
To read in full, click on http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=617595
Mar 10th, 2005, 03:05 AM
I read that the battle over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has reached a fever pitch this week. The full article at http://www.emagazine.com/view/?2343
Mar 10th, 2005, 08:26 PM
I thought this (http://www.dieoff.org) site was interesting. It deals with the forthcoming energy crisis, the consequences for the human population size, for the economy, etc. It's basically a bunch of links to various articles. In particular, I thought that Revisiting Carrying Capacity: Area-Based Indicators of Sustainability (http://www.dieoff.org/page110.htm) (which deals with the ecological footprint issues) and The Olduvai Theory: Sliding Towards a Post-Industrial Stone Age (http://www.dieoff.org/page125.htm) were interesting, but there's much, much more to find, most of which I have not yet read.
Mar 12th, 2005, 09:45 AM
Industry fury as Beckett [reluctantly] retreats over UK carbon allowances
By Michael Harrison Business Editor and Stephen Castle in Brussels
12 March 2005
The government was forced into a humiliating climbdown yesterday over the amount of carbon British industry will be allowed to produce under new European Union emission trading rules.
Mar 17th, 2005, 07:09 AM
Good news on neem seeds, here: http://www.biotechimc.org/or/2005/03/4010.shtml
Mar 18th, 2005, 09:01 AM
The oil under this wilderness will last the US six months. But soon the drilling will begin
Senate backs exploitation of Alaskan wildlife refuge
John Vidal, environment editor
Friday March 18, 2005
It is described as the last great American wilderness and has been the battle ground between America's most powerful oil interests and environmentalists for more than two decades. But yesterday the giants of the energy industry were celebrating a significant victory and looking forward to the chance to move into one of the most lucrative oil fields left in the US, following the Senate's narrow 51-49 decision to open up the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska.
Mar 30th, 2005, 08:02 AM
Study highlights global decline (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4391835.stm)
The assessment found that human activities, particularly the spread of modern agriculture, have caused irreversible changes to the natural world.
It cited as an example the over-use of water for farming, which puts pressure on fresh drinking supplies. Land that has been farmed too intensively is also becoming barren.
Apr 28th, 2005, 07:57 AM
Goldman Prize Honors Activists in Developing Nations - April 26, 2005. The San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Foundation recently announced the six 2005 winners of its prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Here's the E/mag url with the article in full:
May 5th, 2005, 06:30 AM
Greenpeace Russia is asking for help from the international cyberactivist community. Why? The Russian Government has given permission to build what will be the world's longest pipeline, running 4,188km (2,602 miles) from central Siberia to the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. The pipeline's end point, the oil terminal, will be built in Southwest Primorye that is a home to over a quarter of Russia's endangered species, including the Amur (Siberian) tiger and the 30 last remaining Amur leopards.
The terminal will also threaten the Far East Marine Biosphere Reserve - Russia's only marine reserve with the status of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
May 9th, 2005, 06:25 AM
Getting back to environmental concerns - a leak of highly radioactive nuclear fuel dissolved in concentrated nitric acid, enough to half fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, has forced the closure of Sellafield's Thorp reprocessing plant. This from today's UK Guardian. Full article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1479483,00.html
May 10th, 2005, 08:06 AM
Save the planet? That's so cool... says the Independent: The rest here:
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