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ANOTHER PLANET?

elephantThe elephant population in Africa is facing extinction as the soaring price of ivory on the black market, driven by buyers in countries such as China, drives a surge in poaching and slaughter and fractured elephant societies. Almost 35,000 elephants have been killed since 2010 according to scientists from Colorado State University – out  of as total population of 400,000 – less than a third of what it was at the start of the 1980s when 100,000 plus elephants were killed each year.  The sale of ivory was banned in 1989.

The UK Government has launched a code of conduct for  Chinese and other paper lanterns  saying these should not be released by people under the influence of alcohol and air-traffic control should be notified if lanterns are to be set free within 10 miles of an airfield. The change follows growing concern about the risk from lanterns to people, wildlife and the environment, farm animals, aviation, property, including campsites and waste sites, and coastal rescue services. Event organisers are also advised to ask local authorities for risk assessments and not to release lanterns in wind speeds of 5mph or higher. The new code also says lanterns should be biodegradable, not harmful to animals, and not coloured red or orange to ensure they are not mistaken for distress flares. More from the Guardian here.

Plans to duplicate the world’s largest solar thermal energy plant at sites across the US are being opposed because thousands of bird are bursting into flame when they fly over head. The $1.3 billion Ivanpah plant on the Mojave desert uses more than 300,000 mirrors each the size of a garage door, to reflect rays to three towers heating up water and driving steam turbines to generate power. But insects are drawn to the glare – and birds follow the insects – and pelicans and hummingbirds end up being fried alive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACampaigners have warned that allowing solar farms into England’s ‘greenbelt’ countryside – zones of land protected from development – is wasting valuable arable land and might be a ‘back door’ to housing development. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) wants to encourage the government to ensure solar parks use south facing roofs of existing factories, offices, shopping centres and warehouses. Plans for nearly 200 solar farms are currently being considered for planning permission. Both the CPRE and the National Trust support green energy in principle but want to ensure plans do not have a negative effect on the environment and wildlife and the CPRE has also highlighted the importance of food security.

Derek Clark, a lecturer in civil engineering at the University of Southampton has said that it is population growth, not climate change, that is driving the increase in flooding in the UK. Since 1884 the population has almost doubled to 591 million and the number of homes risen from 7.7 million to 24.8 million.

The UK Government is considering offering council tax rebates up to £1500 to green volunteers  – people who help keep parks and other green spaces clean or look after cemeteries or allotments. Another suggestion is to levy a tax on those who live near to parks – as the value of their properties is enhanced by state funded green spaces.

Rescuers dug with their bare hands to try and save children and adults buried under a sea of mud after Hiroshima was inundated by four inches of rain which fell in an hour causing massive landslides killing at least 32 people in the Japanese city.

Britain’s first roundabout incorporating separate cycle lanes, separate traffoc lights and raised kerbs to sepaarte vehicles from bikes is to open at Queen’s circus battersea in London next year. Some safety campaigners say the £2.4 milllion project  is too complicated and confusing.

windturbines_300In the UK it seems that Conservative MPs are more vocal in opposing and undermining projects and investment in renewables, so says the wind energy companies. Conservative MPs are much more likely to oppose onshore windfarms than the national average of the public, a new poll has found.  About four out of five Tory MPs are likely to oppose onshore windfarms in their constituency, according to the poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of REG Windpower. But about six in 10 people across the country, and just over half of those eligible to vote in rural areas, favour onshore windfarms, even if built near them.

The Financial Conduct Authority has been accused of undermining official policy by refusing new applications for green energy community projects. The future of community-owned green energy projects that ministers say are crucial to break the dominance of the ‘big six’ is being put at risk by the Financial Conduct Authority, according to co-operatives and the Labour party.  Thousands of towns and villages have clubbed together around the UK in recent years to set up energy co-ops to generate clean electricity from wind turbines and solar panels. In the past six weeks the FCA, which registers new co-ops, has blocked several new energy co-op applications on the grounds that they would not have enough member participation, despite having authorised previous ones set up along the same lines.

Political figureheads will join leaders from business and civil society to announce new commitments and practical actions to address climate change at a climate summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon next month. The one-day summit, which takes place in New York on 23 September, will mark the first time in five years that world leaders will get together to chart a new course of action on climate change.  There will be eight action area announcements including announcements on agriculture, energy, forests, cities, financing, pollutants, resilience and transportation.

Edie.net reports that the top five sharing economy sectors could generate £9bn of UK revenues by 2025 as advances in technology, resource scarcity and social change start to interact with each other, according to new analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The five most prominent sharing economy sectors, currently worth just £0.5 billion, have been identified by PwC as peer-to-peer (P2P) finance, online staffing, P2P accommodation, car sharing and music/video streaming. PwC further predicts that global revenues from these five sectors could hit $335bn by 2025, up from just $15bn today.  According to PwC, this rapid growth potential will happen as several mega-trends – technological breakthroughs, resource scarcity, rapid urbanisation, social change and shifts in global economic power – start to collide and reshape the economic and commercial landscape.

A new report from the BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group, which provides data from more than 2,900 ships, has found that average carbon dioxide emissions for global container transport have declined by more than 22% since 2009. The figures were revealed in the BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group’s (CCWG) 2014 ‘Global Maritime Trade Lane Emissions Factors’ report. The report found that average carbon dioxide emissions per container per kilometre for global ocean transportation routes have declined year on year, and by nearly 8% from 2012 to 2013.