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El_Cid

The Environmental Concerns thread

1,071 posts in this topic

Okay, I phrased that poorly, but I'm pretty sure you know what I mean.

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Not me. I wipe my ass with Safe, which is a 100% recycled toilet paper, and not not owned by any of those brands.

 

Ok fair point I forgot about them. :lol:

 

Just to note, SCA and KC use fully accredited environmentally friendly forestry processes.

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......and i'm sure one persons 'ethical toilet paper' is not so ethical, depending on the material source and production techniques. It's pretty hard to be sure, but atleast these days there is a global effort to better label products in this area, so we can make a more informed choice than a decade ago etc. Progress :)

 

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And finaly some news on the bee-death issue:

 

'Honeybee virus: Varroa mite spreads lethal disease':

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/18339797

 

"A parasitic mite has helped a virus wipe out billions of honeybees throughout the globe, say scientists.

 

A team studying honeybees in Hawaii found that the Varroa mite helped spread a particularly nasty strain of a disease called deformed wing virus.

 

The mites act as tiny incubators of one deadly form of the disease, and inject it directly into the bees' blood.

 

This has led to "one of the most widely-distributed and contagious insect viruses on the planet".

 

The findings are reported in the journal Science.

 

The team, led by Dr Stephen Martin from the University of Sheffield, studied the honeybees in Hawaii, where Varroa was accidentally brought from California just five years ago.

 

Crucially some Hawaiian islands have honeybee colonies that are still Varroa-free.

 

This provided the team with a unique natural laboratory; they could compare recently-infected colonies with those free from the parasite, and paint a biological picture of exactly how Varroa affected the bees.

 

The team spent two years monitoring colonies - screening Varroa-infected and uninfected bees to see what viruses lived in their bodies.

 

Dr Martin explained to BBC Nature that most viruses were not normally harmful to the bees, but the mite "selected" one lethal strain of one specific virus.

 

"In an infected bee there can be more viral particles than there are people on the planet," Dr Martin explained.

 

"There's a vast diversity of viral strains within a bee, and most of them are adapted to exist in their own little bit of the insect; they get on quite happily."

 

But the mite, he explained, "shifts something".

 

In Varroa-infected bees, over time, the vast majority of these innocuous virus strains disappear and the bees' bodies are filled with one lethal strain of deformed wing virus.

 

And when it comes to viral infection, it's the sheer quantity that kills; each viral particle invades a cell and takes over its internal machinery, turning the bee's own body against itself.

 

Although it is not clear exactly why this strain thrives in mite-infected bees, Dr Martin explained that it could be the one virus best able to survive being repeatedly transmitted from the mites to the bees and back, as the mites feed on the bees' blood.

 

The effect appears to take once the mites have changed this "viral landscape" in the bees' bodies, the change is permanent.

 

"So the only way to control the virus is to control the levels of the mite," said Dr Martin.

 

Prof Ian Jones, a virologist from the University of Reading said the findings mirrored "other known mechanisms of virus spread".

 

He added: "[This] reinforces the need for beekeepers to control Varroa infestation."

 

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) praised the research.

 

BBKA chairman Dr David Aston said it "increased our understanding of the relationships between Varroa and [this] significant bee virus."

 

He told BBC Nature: "These findings underline the need for further research into Varroa.

 

"There remains a clear and urgent need for an effective, approved treatment."

 

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So it is not just the fact of having the equivalent of a dinner plate sized tick on your own body (the scale of the varroa mite compared to a honey bee), but they have also been carring a deadly virus! It certainly took long enough for this info to be discovered (i'm wondering if the Hawaiian bee situation is different at all from the rest of the world?), so i'm hoping it will be full steam ahead on some kind of preventative solution for control of the virus. Our ability to farm pretty much depends on it.

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It isn't the whole world that has the problem. While North America and Europe have seen large declines, Australia's bee population is as strong as ever. From my recent brief research, Russia doesn't have the problem either.

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ah yes, sorry, i briefly forgot that Australia in particular has been serving the agriculture industries of america and europe by exporting/lending the use of it's varroa free bees :nod: Still it will just be a matter of time, especially given that exchange before it gets to you too! That's why we really need to find a way to deal with the threat, it's big enough a concern on the global stage.

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One of the significant reasons why Australia hasn't suffered, is that we have a broader genetic pool of bees.

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yeh... just a shame about the people ;)

 

That was a 'pom' class joke btw, just in time for the new rugby matches this weekend (well ok you lost to scotland and beat wales so far!) ;)

 

And yes we had completely over selected our honey bees in the uk, not sure about the usa, but it has been a long term concern from bee keepers here.

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'Diesel exhausts do cause cancer, says WHO': (Not 'The Who' ;) )

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18415532

 

"Exhaust fumes from diesel engines do cause cancer, a panel of experts working for the World Health Organization says.

 

It concluded that the exhausts were definitely a cause of lung cancer and may also cause tumours in the bladder.

 

It based the findings on research in high-risk workers such as miners, railway workers and truck drivers.

 

However, the panel said everyone should try to reduce their exposure to diesel exhaust fumes.

 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, had previously labelled diesel exhausts as probably carcinogenic to humans.

 

IARC has now labelled exhausts as a definite cause of cancer, although it does not compare how risky different carcinogens are. Diesel exhausts are now in the same group as carcinogens ranging from wood chippings to plutonium and sunlight to alcohol.

 

It is thought people working in at-risk industries have about a 40% increased risk of developing lung cancer.

 

Dr Christopher Portier, who led the assessment, said: "The scientific evidence was compelling and the Working Group's conclusion was unanimous, diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans.

 

"Given the additional health impacts from diesel particulates, exposure to this mixture of chemicals should be reduced worldwide."

 

The impact on the wider population, which is exposed to diesel fumes at much lower levels and for shorter periods of time, is unknown.

 

Dr Kurt Straif, also from IARC, said: "For most of the carcinogens when there is high exposure the risk is higher, when there is lower exposure the risk is lower."

 

There have been considerable efforts to clean up diesel exhausts. Lower sulphur fuel and engines which burn the fuel more efficiently are now in use.

 

The UK Department of Health said: "We will carefully consider this report. Air pollutants are a significant public health concern, we are looking at this issue as part of our plans to improve public health."

 

Cancer Research UK said employers and workers should take appropriate action to minimise exposure to diesel fumes in the workplace.

 

But director of cancer information Dr Lesley Walker said the overall number of lung cancers caused by diesel fumes was "likely to be a fraction of those caused by smoking tobacco".

 

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some links in the article :)

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:lol:

I remember the leaked comment of a clerk at the Department of Health back in the nineties when the dioxine crisis was revealed in Belgium.

"But lady, inhaling the exhaust of your car is more lethal!"

Turned out ALL food that was contaminated with this dioxine needed to be put out of the food chain. And it was supposed to be less lethal then car exhaust. ;)

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All just a product of our industrial process chasing the money without tough enough legislation in place. There may be a reason why cancer is the big concern it is know.

 

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'Australia to create world's largest marine reserve':

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18437040

 

"Australia says it will create the world's largest network of marine parks ahead of the Rio+20 summit.

 

The reserves will cover 3.1 million sq km of ocean, including the Coral Sea.

 

Restrictions will be placed on fishing and oil and gas exploration in the protected zone covering more than a third of Australia's waters.

 

Environment Minister Tony Burke, who made the announcement, will attend the earth summit in Brazil next week with Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

 

"It's time for the world to turn a corner on protection of our oceans," Mr Burke said. "And Australia today is leading that next step."

 

Australia has timed its announcement to coincide with the run-up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit - a global gathering of leaders from more than 130 nations to discuss protecting key parts of the environment, including the ocean, says the BBC's Duncan Kennedy.

 

The plans, which have been years in the making, will proceed after a final consultation process.

 

Last year, the Australian government announced plans to protect the marine life in the Coral Sea - an area of nearly 1 million sq km.

 

The sea - off the Queensland coast in northeastern Australia - is home to sharks and tuna, isolated tropical reefs and deep sea canyons. It is also the resting place of three US navy ships sunk in the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942.

 

The network of marine reserve will also include the Great Barrier Reef, a Unesco World Heritage site.

 

The plan will see the numbers of marine reserves off the Australian coast increased from 27 to 60.

 

"What we've done is effectively create a national parks estate in the ocean,'' Mr Burke told Australian media.

 

However, activists and environmental protection groups are likely to be less than satisfied with the plans, having called for a complete ban on commercial fishing in the Coral Sea.

 

The fishing industry is set to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, reports say.

 

Some have also noted that oil and gas exploration continue to be allowed near some protected areas, particularly off western Australia.

 

The Australian Conservation Foundation said that although the plan didn't go as far as they would like, it was a major achievement in terms of ocean conservation.

 

Currently the world's largest marine reserve is a 545,000-sq-km area established by the UK around the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean."

 

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sounds awesome :b:

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Its easy to put boundaries on "protected" areas. Quite a bit less easy to implement it. :ninja:

Further more, the oceans know no boundaries. Stuff from one place goes to others only too easy.

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True, but having designated area's does help fish stocks recover, even if you can't always stop all the fishing trawlers, having a legal framework for the existence of such area's will help in the long run. I'd say in the context of Australia and a very 'hungry' asian fishing fleet (Japan seems to literaly want to eat everything in the sea), this kind of thing is essential for long term protection of their fish stocks etc.

 

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'GM crops 'aid plant neighbours':

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18424557

 

"GM crops that make their own insecticide also deliver benefits for their conventional plant neighbours, a study in China has concluded.

 

These strains seem to boost populations of natural pest-controlling predators, and this effect spills over to non-transgenic crops, the research found.

 

Details of the work by a Chinese-French team appear in the journal Nature.

 

But one group critical of GM planting described the effect as a spillover "problem", not a "benefit".

 

Scientists investigated a modified version of cotton grown in China that generates a bacterial insecticide.

 

The strain has led to a reduction in the use of insecticide to control a major pest, the cotton bollworm.

 

After the GM cotton was introduced, researchers saw a marked increase in numbers of pest predators such as ladybirds, lacewings and spiders.

 

At the same time, populations of crop-damaging aphids fell.

 

The predatory insects also controlled pests in neighbouring fields of non-GM maize, soybean and peanut crops, said the team led by Dr Kongming Wu from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

 

Commenting on the study, Professor Guy Poppy from the University of Southampton, UK, said: "Global food security will require us to sustainably intensify agriculture. Opponents of GM have argued this can't be done through biotechnology, whereas this research challenges this view and demonstrates the wider benefits of using GM plants.

 

"By reducing the need for insecticides against caterpillars, insect biodiversity is increased and this is shown to have added benefits outside of the GM crop field."

 

Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association, the British campaign group that advocates organic farming, said: "Encouraging predator insects is crucial to managing crop pests sustainably - indeed, that's how organic farmers avoid pesticides, using natural processes to encourage beneficial predators.

 

"This study finds that Bt cotton is a better habitat for such predators than cotton that has been sprayed with pesticides.

 

"What it doesn't cover is other recent research in China that has discovered increased insect resistance and increased numbers of pests developing in and around these GM cotton crops."

 

Previous research by Dr Wu showed that one crop pest - the mirid bug - had boomed since the introduction of Bt Cotton, as it filled the gap left by other cotton pests. This had driven farmers back to using pesticides.

 

Professor John Pickett from Rothamsted Research, UK, commented: "Many, including distinguished scientists, have looked for associated problems as the technology has been commercially developed throughout the world and, of course, we should always exercise caution in introducing new technologies.

 

"However, use of GM-based Bt resistance to pest insects would not have advanced so dramatically without advantages, not least a reduction in use of insecticides against the target lepidopterous insect larvae."

 

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Links in the article, and probably the most important bit is the bit i've bolded. GM has many aspects to what it offers, but as we've seen with agricultural scientists in the past (cane toads/rabbits etc), they are often pressured by the big food industries to rubber stamp techniques before they are ready.

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'Should it be a crime to harm the environment?': An interesting article looking at this issue and one that seems quite popular in green circles.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18455351

 

"At the heart of its official negotiations, the Rio+20 summit is all about looking for political agreements that will improve the lot of society, particularly the poorest, and of nature.

 

Politics isn't necessarily the best course, nor politicians the best people to plot such a course, to judge by the glacial, boulder-strewn pace of talks here in Rio.

 

The science is clear on so many of the issues, and ministers acknowledge it - but they see many other factors too, which is why the political response on issues such as climate change often lags way behind the science.

 

If politics can't get on with it, what about the law?

 

In 1996, lawyer Mark Gray had a simple vision: make ecocide (destroying nature) a crime.

 

Well, you might say, any country can do that - and many countries have, in various degrees. Depending on where you live, lighting bush fires, stealing birds' eggs, dumping old motor oil in streams and building on the habitat of a protected newt can all land you in court.

 

But other nations don't have such laws. Also, activities that harm the natural world sometimes take place beyond national boundaries, such as exploitative high-seas fishing - and some of the worst are performed by companies belonging to one state but operating in the territory of another.

 

Hence a move several years back by UK barrister Polly Higgins to make ecocide one of the five international "crimes against peace", joining war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

 

The Eradicating Ecocide movement isn't talking about slap-on-the-wrist punishments for law-breaking.

 

Last year they mounted a "trial" trial - a demonstration, if you will - where two CEOs of fictional Canadian tar sands companies faced a court staffed by real lawyers, a real judge and a real jury.

 

One was "sentenced" to four years in jail.

 

As well as bosses of misbehaving corporations, the movement believes ministers and heads-of-government that commit or allow ecocide should also stand trial.

 

And cases could be brought on behalf of inhabitants, whether human or another species.

 

The Eradicating Ecocide notion has gained some backing - from environmental activists of course, but also, I'm told, some governments, though I'm not aware of any that have gone public with it yet.

 

The chances of gaining support from all governments would appear to be infinitesimally small, especially given that a number have chosen not to put themselves under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, the body that can hear cases brought under the four existing crimes against peace.

 

But maybe that doesn't really matter. The main aim is to prevent ecocidal events from occurring in the first place; and if you have a corporation, say, that operates in many countries, some that are parties and some that aren't, it's going to have to adhere to the standards of those that are.

 

Given where I came into this article, there's an irony here in that we're talking about lawyers saving the environment from lawyers.

 

Most countries employ lawyers as negotiators in these UN processes, and that's partly why they get so bogged down.

 

Working out the legal definition of a tree in the Kyoto Protocol took years.

 

Yet in the court arena, the law has the capacity to cut through these very same knots. If your neighbour cuts down what any normal person would call a tree that's standing on your side of the fence, he/she can face punishment, with no arguments about the legal definition of said tree.

 

So what would a normal person put under the heading of ecocide?

 

The word gained an airing across the world 40 years ago, at the first UN environment summit in Stockholm, when Sweden's Prime Minister Olof Palme levelled the charge against the US over its use of defoliant chemicals during the war in Vietnam.

 

In Polly Higgins' vision, ecocidal acts during war are not the main target - they'd be covered under some of the other crimes of peace.

 

The main concern is what happens during normal times.

 

So the law would presumably cover something like a massive oil leak caused by slack or actively risk-taking management, for example.

 

Would fishing or hunting a species to near-extinction count? What about:

 

the careless introduction of alien species that out-compete native ones

a mine that pollutes its homeland

over-enthusiastic use of pesticides that removes insect life from a tranche of land

the diversion of a river for irrigation that drains wetlands and their spider inhabitants?

 

Clearly there are some difficult issues here.

 

If a company digs a massive mine, for example, there's going to be significant ecological damage in the area. But with will and the right approach, it can be restored after the mine closes.

 

So would the initial dig qualify as ecocide for the damage it does?

 

It'll be interesting to see how far the Eradicating Ecocide idea goes in the next few years.

 

One senses inevitable resistance ahead from a number of very important countries. And dealing with that would be a matter of politics; which in the environmental arena, as we're seeing here in Rio, is often a long and messy business.

 

A new environmental summit is about to take place in Brazil, 20 years after 172 nations gathered in Rio, for the Earth summit. To find out more about the issues facing the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, see below."

 

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'See below' is for a range of pictographic charts and stats around the issue of current sustainability. And a number of links are in the article proper.

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'Healthy forests key for green growth, says UN report':

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18491741

 

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"The world's forests, if managed properly, can help deliver a strong and durable global green economy, a UN report has concluded.

 

But the report's authors said that nations needed to do more to ensure the right policies are in place if forests are to meet their maximum potential.

 

In another initiative, an international collaboration has pledged to restore 18 million hectares of wooded landscapes.

 

The findings were launched at the Rio+20 summit in Brazil.

 

"Forests and trees on farms are a direct source of food, energy and income for more than a billion of the world's poorest people," said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, assisant director-general for Forestry at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

 

"At the same time, forests trap carbon and mitigate climate change, maintain water and soil health, and prevent desertification," he added.

 

"The sustainable management of forests offer multiple benefits - with the right programmes and policies, the sector can lead the way towards more sustainable, greener economies."

 

The report, The State of the World's Forests 2012, the 10th in the SOFO series, highlighted some of the main avenues in which money could figuratively grow on trees, including:

 

Critical life support systems - can perform a range of "essential ecosystem funtions", such as regulating water supplies and buffering floods and droughts.

"Engine of economic development" - SOFO highlights strong link between reforestation and growth, and deforestation and economic decline, hence the anti-poverty role of forests.

"Key component of greening other sectors" - wood is still the primary energy source for one-third of the world's population, therefore - with the right policies - it can expanded to provide a global greener, cleaner energy source.

 

The report, launched at the R+20 summit in Rio De Jainero, concluded that forests and forest products "will not solve the challenges of moving towards greener economies, but they will provide excellent examples and a source of hope".

 

Also being announced at the summit was a joint pledge between a number of nations and NGOs to restore more than 18 million hectares of forest landscape.

 

The US and Rwanda goverments teamed up with the Brazilian Mata Atlantica Forest Restoration Pact (made up from government agencies, NGOs, private sector bodies and indigenous groups).

 

The annoucement forms part of the "Bonn Challenge", which was agreed in September 2011 and commits nations to restore 150 million hectares of forested areas by 2020.

 

"The largest restoration initiative the world has ever seen is now underway," said Julia Marton-Lefcvre, director-general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

"[it] will provide huge global benefits in the form of income, food security and addressing climate change," she added.

 

"We urge other countries and landowners to follow suit."

 

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links in the article proper :)

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Mostly for Dale's benefit, but I thought this needed to be posted here.

575896_412809015436945_1201048513_n.jpg

 

Um, I mean... :solemnFace: We must all dig deep and pray hard for all those to suffer nature's wrath in Melbourne's most damaging earthquake in decades.

 

It was magnitude 5.2 and there have been no reports of injuries or notable damage. Don't worry.

 

 

I was considering posting this in the global warming topic and (jokingly) blaming climate change, but I think this is a better fit.

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We got nothing. No volcanoes, no fault lines. So understandably, earthquakes here are both rare and weak. This was allegedly the strongest in around a century.

 

EDIT: Also, that picture isn't from the quake. It was late-ish evening when it struck.

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We got nothing. No volcanoes, no fault lines. So understandably, earthquakes here are both rare and weak. This was allegedly the strongest in around a century.

 

EDIT: Also, that picture isn't from the quake. It was late-ish evening when it struck.

 

Gippsland is riddled with stress faults and gets tremors all the time (I can remember heaps from when I was a kid). BTW, Geoscience Australia upgraded it to a 5.5 making it the biggest earthquake in Victoria in 109 years.

 

Ten late news reported SES getting minor damage reports from Moe and Morwell (10kms from epicentre), plus the power stations in the area haven't reported in yet.

 

EDIT: Oh and I also posted that photo on my Facebook feed about 10 mins after it happened. ;) Though I'm surprised to find out you read Bolt's blog.

 

EDIT2: Geoscience Australia revised overnight to an official 5.3. It was really weird, it started off sounding like a huge truck driving past the house for a few seconds then a shockwave like a massive wind buffeted the house and it just shook for about 30 seconds. We had paintings move on the walls and a couple things fall off shelves. No damage but the house got a pretty good shake.

Edited by Dale

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At least a dozen of my friends on Facebook posted or shared the picture (sometimes with varying captions). I took one of those.

 

Part of the back fence of my house fell down, but it was already damaged and the landlord had been looking to replace the whole back fence anyway.

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'Seagrass solution theory for endangered coral reefs':

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-18558155

 

"Research headed by a Swansea University marine biologist has offered potential solution to endangered coral reefs around the world's oceans.

 

Dr Richard Unsworth's team included scientists from Oxford University and James Cook University in Australia.

 

They found varieties of seagrass which may reduce the acidity of water around reefs, protecting them from erosion.

 

Corals are worm-like creatures of around a centimetre length which live in colonies numbering millions.

 

Calcium carbonate released by the corals forms a protective reef around the entire group.

 

The survival of these corals has been threatened by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the last 40 years, as it has raised the acidity of the oceans, rotting the reefs in the same way as fruit and fizzy drinks can erode tooth enamel.

 

But now Dr Unsworth believes he has found varieties of seagrass which can photosynthesise carbon dioxide so quickly and efficiently that they actually turn the surrounding water more alkaline.

 

"Highly productive tropical seagrasses often live adjacent to or among coral reefs and photosynthesise at such rates you can see the oxygen they produce practically bubbling away," he said.

 

"We wanted to understand whether this could be a major local influence on seawater and the problems of ocean acidification."

 

"Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide in the air, primarily from human fossil fuel combustion, reduces ocean pH and causes wholesale shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry.

 

"Over long term time scales, this change in seawater carbonate chemistry is likely to cause coral reefs to start to disappear as the rate of erosion starts to exceed growth rates."

 

Dr Unsworth said not only are coral reefs intrinsically valuable in their own right, but they provide natural fishing lagoons and sea defences for millions of people, mostly living on small islands in the South Pacific.

 

The team's findings are published in this month's edition of the science journal, 'Open Access Environmental Research Letters', and Dr Unsworth is due to give a presentation on 10 July at the 12th coral preservation symposium in Cairns, Australia.

 

But he warned that unless action is taken to protect them, then seagrass itself could be under threat from human activity such as over-fishing, chemical pollution and climate-change."

 

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sounds like an interesting study :b:

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'Government must resist new 'dash for gas', advisers say':

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18641136

 

"The government needs to multiply investment in clean energy four-fold to avoid breaking laws on renewables and climate change, official advisers say.

 

This would raise the annual energy bill of a "typical household" by £100 by 2020, says the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

 

But it says that is a cheaper option than a new "dash for gas".

 

It says the potential advent of a shale gas boom in Europe is not a "game-changer" for energy policy in the UK.

 

The committee's annual report to Parliament confirms that greenhouse gases fell in the UK by 7% in 2011, but says most of this was down to the warm winter, rising fuel costs and falling incomes.

 

Only 0.8% of the CO2 cut was due to policies from government.

 

"We have to move from good intentions and we need to do it very quickly," said David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC.

 

The report says investment in wind power has been running at a third of the annual amount that will be needed by the end of the decade.

 

Plans for new nuclear power, and carbon capture and storage projects have also both slipped.

 

There has been an improvement in insulating roofs and cavity walls but little progress on solid walls and low carbon heating. Emissions from new cars have continued to fall but there has been scant progress with vans.

 

The report examines the notion of a second dash for gas by some who are optimistic that Europe will benefit from the same sort of cheap shale gas boom as that experienced in the USA.

 

The first dash for gas in the 1990s reduced the UK's emissions as power generation switched from dirtier coal.

 

But the committee draws on International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts to project that gas costs up to 2020 will remain around 80p per therm, which will make it unaffordable for electricity when the price for carbon is added.

 

It says the government is giving mixed messages on gas, and should explicitly rule out a new dash for gas.

 

However, its projections are challenged by some who believe the global glut of gas will eventually lead to much lower prices if the historic link between oil and gas prices is broken.

 

Nick Grealy, who runs the pro-shale gas website No Hot Air, told BBC News: "The 80p figure is ludicrous. It may well happen in a tight market until 2015 but after that the deluge."

 

The CCC says it has modelled a future with gas at 40p per therm which still shows gas confers no advantage over nuclear power.

 

That is because the government's controversial carbon floor price will increase from £30 per CO2 tonne in 2020 to £70 in 2030, forcing up the cost of generating with fossil fuels.

 

Climate change sceptics have been campaigning to have the targets under the Climate Change Act scrapped, but Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, recently said the Act would stay.

 

Mr Kennedy said: "There's nothing we have seen that tells us we are not going to live in a carbon-constrained world."

 

Asked if the government should have a Plan B in case it fails to deliver a new fleet of nuclear power stations, he added: "Nuclear has a major role. It's much harder to decarbonise the power sector if we don't get nuclear."

 

If financing could be agreed for a new nuclear station for EDF at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, others would follow, he said.

 

But he did urge the government to announce swiftly the new level of wind energy subsidies and the Treasury's future cap on the clean energy levy on people's bills.

 

Some £8bn a year is needed in clean energy development by 2020, he said, so the chancellor should set his cap on bills at this level, costing £100 extra per home for in gas and electricity bills.

 

With fuel poverty on the rise some MPs want a tight cap to keep bills down.

 

But Mr Kennedy said: "There must not be an arbitrary Treasury cap. It must be based on technical studies that show how the carbon cuts under the Climate Change Act can be met."

 

The committee said the government's forthcoming Energy Bill should include a clear target of 50g of CO2 per kWh of electricity produced by 2030 - compared with some 400g now - in order to keep on track with the agreed 80% CO2 cut by 2050.

 

Current proposals have no clear over-arching objective, it said, warning this would deter investors.

 

The review of wind subsidies is due shortly, with the chancellor under pressure from many backbenchers to cut the subsidy by more than the 10% proposed by the Department for Energy and Climate Change - a cut which many experts say would increase the price of energy.

 

Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF UK, said: "For the fourth year running, the Committee on Climate Change has made clear that a dramatic step change in ambition is needed.

 

"Too many key policies - such as the Green Deal, the Green Investment Bank and now the Energy Bill - are hobbled by lack of ambition and poor implementation."

 

He added that the government risked letting the Climate Change Act "wither by neglect"."

 

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Links in the article proper. I've not seen alot to recomend this whole method, it's caused lots of issues in the usa and other countries where it has already been used on a high scale.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale_gas

 

It's quite funny as just the other day was a report pushing for the uptake of this shale gas technology:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/29/shale-gas-fracking-expanded-regulated

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Shale gas usage in USA means that their carbon emissions have been cut drastically, and saved consumers more than $100 Bn a year. Emissions so far this year are on track to drop under 1990 levels.

 

Article: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/02/us-co2-emissions-may-drop-to-1990-levels-this-year/

Link to EIA data showing carbon emissions: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec12_3.pdf

 

Oh I forgot. Greenies will still somehow consider this "evil". :rolleyes:

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Sigh:

 

on emissions (and don't forget that the usa has been processing shale gas since 1821, so any claim over recent effects on the us emissions in relation to lowering output of emissions is erm well not that useful!):

 

"In late 2010, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency[21] issued a new report, the first update on emission factors for greenhouse gas emissions by the oil and gas industry by the EPA since 1996. In this new report, EPA concluded that shale gas emits larger amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than does conventional gas, but still far less than coal. Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas, although it stays in the atmosphere for only one tenth as long a period as carbon dioxide. Recent evidence suggests that methane has a global warming potential (GWP) that is 105-fold greater than carbon dioxide when viewed over a 20-year period and 33-fold greater when viewed over a 100-year period, compared mass-to-mass.[22] However, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a preeminent authority on this issue, ascribes a GWP of only 25 to methane over a 100-year period, and only 72 over a 20-year period.[23] A 2011 study published in Climatic Change Letters controversially claimed that the extraction of shale gas may lead to the emission of as much or more greenhouse gas emissions than oil or coal.[24] In that peer-reviewed paper, Cornell University professor Robert W. Howarth, a marine ecologist, and colleagues claimed that once methane leak and venting impacts are included, the life-cycle greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas is far worse than those of coal and fuel oil when viewed for the integrated 20-year period after emission. On the 100-year integrated time frame, this analysis claims shale gas is comparable to coal and worse than fuel oil. However, numerous studies have pointed out critical flaws with that paper and/or come to completely different conclusions, including assessments by experts at the U.S. Department of Energy,[25] peer-reviewed studies by Carnegie Mellon University[26] and the University of Maryland,[27] and even the Natural Resources Defense Council, which concluded that the Howarth et al. paper's use of a 20-year time horizon for global warming potential of methane is "too short a period to be appropriate for policy analysis."[28] In January 2012, Howarth's own colleagues at Cornell University, Lawrence Cathles et al., responded with their own peer-reviewed assessment, noting that the Howarth paper was "seriously flawed" because it "significantly overestimate the fugitive emissions associated with unconventional gas extraction, undervalue the contribution of 'green technologies' to reducing those emissions to a level approaching that of conventional gas, base their comparison between gas and coal on heat rather than electricity generation (almost the sole use of coal), and assume a time interval over which to compute the relative climate impact of gas compared to coal that does not capture the contrast between the long residence time of CO2 and the short residence time of methane in the atmosphere."[29] The author of that response, Lawrence Cathles, concludes that "shale gas has a GHG footprint that is half and perhaps a third that of coal," based upon "more reasonable leakage rates and bases of comparison."

 

---------------------------

 

on general environmental concerns:

 

"Chemicals are added to the water to facilitate the underground fracturing process that releases natural gas. Some 0.5% chemicals (friction reducer, agents countering rust, agents killing microorganisms) need to be added to the water. Since (depending on the size of the area) millions of liters of water are used, this means that hundreds of thousands liter of chemicals are often injected into the soil.[30] Only about 50% to 70% of the resulting volume of contaminated water is recovered and stored in above-ground ponds to await removal by tanker. The remaining "produced water" is left in the earth where it can lead to contamination of groundwater aquifers, though the industry deems this "highly unlikely". However the wastewater from such operations often lead to foul-smelling odors and heavy metals contaminating the local water supply above-ground.[31]

 

Besides using water and chemicals however, it is also possible to frack shale gas with only liquified propane gas. This reduces the environmental degradation considerably. The method was invented by GasFrac, of Alberta, Canada.[32]

 

The 2010 U.S. documentary film Gasland by Josh Fox, which focuses on the impact of hydraulic fracturing, is critical of the industry's assertions of its safety and its exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.[citation needed]

 

A study published in May 2011 concluded that fracking has seriously contaminated shallow groundwater supplies in northeast Pennsylvania with flammable methane. However the study does not discuss how pervasive such contamination might be in other areas where drilling for shale gas has taken place.[33]

 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced 23 June 2011 that it will examine claims of water pollution related to hydraulic fracturing in Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Louisiana.[34] On 8 December 2011, the EPA issued a draft finding which stated that groundwater contamination in Pavilion, Wyoming may be the result of fracking in the area. The EPA stated that the finding was specific to the Pavilion area, where the fracking techniques differ from those used in other parts of the U.S. Doug Hock, a spokesman for the company which owns the Pavilion gas field, said that it is unclear whether the contamination came from the fracking process.[35] Wyoming's Governor Matt Mead called the EPA draft report "scientifically questionable" and stressed the need for additional testing.[36] The Casper Star-Tribune also reported on 27 December 2011, that the EPA's sampling and testing procedures "didn’t follow their own protocol" according to Mike Purcell, the director of the Wyoming Water Development Commission.[37]

 

A 2011 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that "The environmental impacts of shale development are challenging but manageable." The study addressed groundwater contamination, noting "There has been concern that these fractures can also penetrate shallow freshwater zones and contaminate them with fracturing fluid, but there is no evidence that this is occurring". This study blames known instances of methane contamination on a small number of sub-standard operations, and encourages the use of industry best practices to prevent such events from recurring.[38]"

 

---------------------------

 

on the economics:

 

"Although shale gas has been produced for more than 100 years in the Appalachian Basin and the Illinois Basin of the United States, the wells were often marginally economical. Higher natural-gas prices in recent years[when?] and advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal completions have made shale-gas wells more profitable.[41] As of June 2011, the validity of the claims of economic viability of these wells has begun to be publicly questioned.[42] Shale gas tends to cost more to produce than gas from conventional wells, because of the expense of the massive hydraulic fracturing treatments required to produce shale gas, and of horizontal drilling. However, this is often offset by the low risk of shale-gas wells.[citation needed] A 2012 article estimated that the UK may have offshore shale gas reserves of 1,000 trillion cubic feet (28 trillion cubic metres) compared to UK gas consumption of 3.5 trillion cubic feet (99 billion cubic metres) per year. However the cost of extracting this gas with existing technology would be probably be more than $200 per barrel of oil equivalent (UK North Sea oil prices were about $120 per barrel in April 2012).[43]

 

North America has been the leader in developing and producing shale gas. The great economic success of the Barnett Shale play in Texas in particular has spurred the search for other sources of shale gas across the United States and Canada.[citation needed]

 

Research has calculated the 2011 worth of the global shale-gas market as $26.66bn.[44]

 

However, a June, 2011 New York Times investigation of industrial emails and internal documents found that the financial benefits of unconventional shale gas extraction may be less than previously thought, due to companies intentionally overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves.[45]"

 

----------------------------------

 

so no not all win (except for the energy companies profits). Greed is all shale gas is about, as per usual.

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'San Francisco plans to ban officials from buying Apple Macs':

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18790729

 

"City officials in San Francisco plan to block local government agencies from buying new Apple Macintosh computers.

 

The move follows the firm's decision to pull out of a green certification scheme designed to identify which electronic devices pose the least risk to the environment.

 

CIO Journal reported the ban was designed to encourage Apple to reconsider.

 

It noted local officials spent $45,579 (£29,365) on Apple equipment in 2010.

 

The sum is a fraction of the firm's $65bn net sales the same year, but the fact that its Cupertino headquarters is about 70km away from San Francisco (43 miles) and many of its staff live in the city have helped the act gain attention.

 

San Francisco's chief information officer told the BBC that his decision was in line with a long running policy to opt for equipment listed on the EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) registry.

 

"San Francisco has reached out to Apple and is hopeful that a solution to this challenge can be found in the future," said Jon Walton.

 

But a statement from Apple suggested it had no plans to reverse its decision.

 

"Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government," a spokeswoman said.

 

"We also lead the industry by reporting each product's greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials."

Pull-out

 

The organisers of EPEAT announced last week that Apple was withdrawing its products from the registry and would no longer submit new devices to receive ratings.

 

"We regret that Apple will no longer be registering its products in EPEAT," the organisers said. "We hope that they will decide to do so again at some point in future."

 

The news prompted speculation that government bodies, schools and some businesses would bar purchases of Apple computers as a result.

 

US government rules dictate that 95% of all electronics bought by official agencies must fall under EPEAT's scheme. iPads and iPhones do not fall under the system's remit.

 

Apple has not explained why it abandoned the standard which it helped create in 2006.

 

However, an article by Infoworld - highlighted on EPEAT's site - links the move to manufacturing techniques used to make the latest version of the firm's MacBook Pro, which features a 5.1 million pixel high-definition display.

 

In order to include the new screen while minimising the laptop's thickness Apple made it harder to disassemble the computer causing it to be difficult for even experts to upgrade or recycle the device.

 

The move would have made it unlikely that the machine would have qualified for EPEAT's highest rating.

 

One Wall Street analyst suggested that the firm had acted in its long-term interests.

 

"Apple has a long history of being a cutting-edge design company and some of these processes involve state of the art components and manufacturing techniques," Colin Gillis, senior technology analyst at BGC Partners, told the BBC.

 

"Its entire credo is to be pushing the envelope forward, and in our opinion it's better to lose some sales rather than risk not having any at all."

 

Sarah Rotman Epps, a San Francisco-based analyst at Forrester Research, also played down the news.

 

"I don't think Apple - or the world - should read too much into this," she said.

 

"California also recently banned the sale of foie gras - a decision not all consumers or businesses would agree with. Just because the city of San Francisco isn't buying Macs doesn't mean that other municipalities, businesses or consumers will follow suit."

 

------------------

 

Boo apple :q:

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