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ANOTHER PLANET

Some of the UK’s biggest industrial companies have warned the government that plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions and impose a carbon tax will drive them to other countries. Tata Steel, chemicals giant Ineos and Syngenta, the seeds and pesticides group, have told ministers and officials that plans to impose a ‘carbon floor’ will make them uncompetitive. From 2013 all major polluters will join power companies in paying to produce CO2 which will start at £16 a tonne and rise to £30 a tonne by 2030. Industries including chemicals, paper and steel companies say that this, along with other green legislation,  will make the UK an uncompetitive business environment.   Alcan, which smelts aluminium, says it may close its plant in Lynemouth in Northumberland in the face of rising energy costs pushed higher by carbon costs and other legislation,

Engineers in the USA are preparing to open floodgates to prevent New Orleans suffering its worst flooding since 1927.  The flood controls will divert waters away from the Mississippi and protect New Orleans and Baton Rouge – although the waters will flood the Atchafalaya Basin and will almost certainly flood numerous small towns in what is known as Louisiana’s Cajun country where many residents have been served with evacuation orders – and the waters  may reach the oli town of Morgan City. The river is expected to reach its peak on the 23rd May.  Without the action the Mayor of New Orleans said the flooding would be worse than the havoc wreaked by Hurrican Katrina in 2005.

Restaurants in the UK will now be able to apply for their own green badge,  awarded by the Sustainable Restaurants Association and based on a minimum of three “ticks” in areas such as sourcing at least 20% of food locally, using FairTrade, conserving energy and recycling waste properly.

Bad new from Brazil – deforestation of the Amazon is on the rise again which is quite a surpise after years of successful action to reduce the loss of this valuable habitat. By 2010 the rate of deforestation was the lowest for 22 years but satellite images show that between March and April 2011, 595 sq km of forest was lost – six times the loss in the same period in the previous year. Much of the destruction took place in the Mato Grasso, the country’s leading area for soya bean farming. Izabela Teixeira, the environment ministers, promised 500 personell who ‘suffocate’ environmental crime in the Mato Grosso but environmental campaigners say that changes to the strict Forest Code, pushed through after lobbying  by the agricultural industry as well as price rises for soya and beef, are to blame for the increase in environmental destruction.  

Britain is set to sizzle in a two week-long heatwave predicted to start this Saturday – which will make this May the hottest for 350 years, sparking fears of a major drought across the country, a summer hosepipe ban, food price rises and devastating forest fires sweeping the country. Weathermen said the average temperature in central England so far this month was 13C (55F) – five degrees warmer than average and ranking it in the top 6% of hottest Mays since records began in 1659. April had just 24% of the average rainfall for the month, making it the driest April for 80 years, while several areas of the country experienced the driest March for almost half a century. Jonathan Powell, senior forecaster at Positive Weather Solutions, told the Daily Express  “‘This is an astonishing year so far and may well continue to turn up more surprises. May is outperforming expectations, as did March and April.”

Puma, the international sports clothing comany based in Germany, has announced plans to begin recycling sports clothing, in particular those manufactured from man-made fibres such as football jerseys.  For more on Puma including the art installation of a F1 racing car made out of recycled Puma shoe boxes see http://www.puma.com/football and  see  http://greenopolis.com/goblog/green-groove/puma-shoe-boxes-recycled-f1-race-car

Chris Huhne, the UK’s energy minister has outlined far reaching emissions reduction measures.  Mr Huhne had managed to win a behind the scenes battle with business secretary Vince Cable and treasury chief George Osborne to get the proposals before parliament and the energy minister backed the views of the Committee on Climate Change as he spoke in Parliament on May 17.  A limit on the total amount of greenhouse gases to be emitted by the UK between 2023-to-2027 has been proposed to cut Britain’s emissions by 50% from 1990 levels. The proposal puts the UK on course to cut emissions by at least 80% by 2050, but will a review of progress was also added in for 2014 linked to progress or, the lack of by in other European Union countries.  According to edie.net, the Government will continue to argue for an EU-wide move to a 30% target for 2020, and ambitious action in the 2020s and, before the end of this year will announce a package of measures to reduce the impact of government policy on the cost of electricity for energy intensive industries and to help them adjust to the low-carbon industrial transformation with Hune saying  “by cutting emissions we’re  getting ourselves off the oil hook, making our energy supplies more secure and opening up opportunities for jobs in the new green industries of the future.”

Chima has admitted that its Three Gorges Dam has created ‘urgent’ problems including drought and an increased risk of earthquakes. The Chinese government had been warned that the planned 660 sq km reservoir would have severe geological challenges.