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ANOTHER PLANET?

free the arctic 30The Arctic 30 protester Phil Ball, currently in custody in Russia after the Arctic protest, has said that ‘My little girl will have forgotten who I am if I get out of here in seven years’. The thirty protesters are now in their eighth week of imprisonment in Russia on piracy charges (now hooliganism) after boarding a drilling rig. Video clips on the Huffington Post here.

The “strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in world history”, Super Typhoon Haiyan, has crashed into the central Philippines, with the country suffering winds of up to 195mph. More than one million people have been evacuated from areas in the path of the extreme weather as the storm hit with flooding and severly damaged buildings. The body count from the havoc wrought by typhoon Haiyan could be ten times as many as first feared, with up to 1,200 people lost in the storm. The Red Cross said it feared 1000 had been killed in the central city of Tacloban and 200 in Samar province. Many many more people, potentially tens of thousands are feared dead as the true extent of the disaster unfolds,

A new ‘eco friendly’ festival is being launched in Florida. with the aim of raining awareness about protecting the planet. the 40,000 capacity Friends of Nature Festival we will be held at Miami’s Virginia Key Beach Park and will use power from solar, bio fuel (and less attractively) natural gas generators. The site will have recycling, composting stations and will feature biodegradable and edible plates and cups. The event will be promoted by Eyewitness Productions.

Sumatran_Rhino_2Some of the most critically endangered species in the world including the last few Sumatran tigers and rhinos, birds, elephants and insects, could be wiped out if plans to build a major road through the Harapan rainforest to transport coal goes ahead. The rainforest is already a priority for conservation with a 98,555 hectare reserve supported by the RSPB, the UK Government and the Co-operative Bank.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/09/conservation-wildlife

London mayor Boris Johnson cycle ‘super highways’ have come in for some harsh criticism –  as yet another cyclist’s death was confirmed: A 62 year old cyclist has died after a collision with a tipper lorry in east London on a cycle superhighway. The Metropolitan Police confirmed they were called to CS2 on Mile End Road at 16:38 GMT and a man had died. Transport for London said nine cyclists had died on London’s roads so far this year, compared with 14 in 2012. This cyclist is the third to have died on CS2, which a coroner recently described as “confusing”. The Mayor has now confirmed that London is due to receive new segregated cycle routes, including a ‘substantial upgrade’ to Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2) with ‘pioneering’ separate cyclist traffic lights.  Johnson said: “This Barclays Cycle Superhighway is the first physical fruit of my promise to improve the experience of cycling in London. A stone’s throw from the Olympic velodrome where Britain’s cycling team topped the world, we humbler London cyclists now have a world-standard cycle route of our own.”

Halloween may be frightening and the night produces a scary amount of pumpkin waste. With very few pumpkins being eaten, up to 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin could be thrown into Britain’s bins by the end of the day, says waste management company BusinessWaste.co.uk.

Nineteen companies have been closed by the Government’s Insolvency Service after they “ripped off” nearly £24m from more than 1,500 investors in a carbon credit investment scam. Consumer Minister Jo Swinson announced that the victims of the scam, who ranged in age between 50 and 85 years, were sold Certified Emission Reduction Units (CERs) – or carbon credits – using high pressure sales techniques.

The “short-termism” from Government and the private sector, combined with a growing population, means “we are already using the next generation’s fresh water supply, says professor David King. Opening Global Action Plan’s 20th Anniversary conference in London, the foreign secretary’s special representative on climate change said that the population is in a position where ground fresh water lakes are being ‘mined out’.  “As we move forward in time, we see a crisis in terms of fresh water needs for this growing humanity,” he added.  Edie.net reports that King hailed the advances in science, medicine and engineering made in the 20th century, calling the explosion in global population a huge “success story” but this increase is now causing a severe strain on the world’s natural resources.

A new book, Cutting Edge – Green Innovations and IPR Management, edited by Andree Kirchner and Iris Kirchner-Freis, dealing with the ever more important issue of green/sustainable developments and Intellectual Property has now been published. According to the Preface, the editors’ desire is “guided by the understanding that we all have to continue to change our behaviour to treat and manage our natural assets on the basis of sustainability and intergenerational equity”. To meet this aim, the book is expressly directed at inventors, innovators, decision-makers, government official and lawyers. The book meets this aim by combining broad overviews over the most important IP rights such as patents, trade marks and designs with more specific – green – topics and examples/case studies such as Eco-labelling, including Nordic Eco-labelling, designs and the challenges and potentials of eco-designs, and green patents and e.g .patenting Green Polymers. Publisher: Kluwer Law International; hardcover, ISBNs 9041133445 and 9789041133441, 344 pp. Price £89 (From the IP Kat).

Britain’s next generation of biomass power stations will need to source millions of tonnes of wood – from around the World – if they are to run at full capacity. which some commentators now saying that the plants are not producing ‘sustainable’ energy. A campaign group, Biofuelwatch, calculates the UK could end up burning up to 82 million tonnes of biomass each year – more than eight times the UK’s current production level in wood. The new biomass plant at Drax would need 16M tonnes a year at full capacity and the reports says the increase in capacity will trigger a ‘gold rush’ for wood, changing global land use such as the planting of vast eucalyptus plantations in Portugal to feed biomass pants.

The Scottish island of Gigha is to be the home of a £2.5 million experiment aimed at solving how to store the electricity generated by wind farms – by building giant batteries filled with 75,000 litres of sulphuric acid and vanadium pentoxide. At the moment only some of the Island’s excess power can be exported to the mainland.

What would happen if all of earth’s ice melted? London and most of South East England would disappear altogether, for a start. And so would Venice, the entire Netherlands and a good chunk of Denmark. At least, that’s according to National Geographic, which has created a set of maps showing the catastrophic effects melting ice could have on the countries around the globe. While it suggests it would take around 5,000 years for temperatures to rise enough to melt all the five million cubic miles of ice on the planet, it suggests that this process has already started. Since 1992, the warming ocean has seen the West Antarctica ice sheet lose 65 million metric tons of ice a year. Eeek!

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