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ANOTHER PLANET

The Independent reports that most British businesses fail to comply with government guidance on reporting their carbon footprints and a survey of 100 companies said that only a handful came within striking distance with complying with the Defra guidance which means that there may be signifiucant problems for many companies when the rules become mandatory. Whilst 57% of companies reported some disclosure, only 37% made formal disclosure in annual reports and just 9% were reported in accordance with the Defra guidelines. Amongst problems with those reporting was a lack of transparancy aroiund measurement and reporting principles. 88% of companies in the energy, utility and infrastructure sectors reported, 58% in the media, technology and telecomms sector and 45% in the manufacturing sector. Of all repoirting only 8% was assured by a third party.

The Observer reports that UK shopper spend £700 million on illegally harvested wood every year, mostly as paper, furniture and flooring. A survey by the WWF found that 50% of consumers in the UK had no idea that wood for sale in the UK could be from illegal sources and the UK is the forth latgest importer of illegal wood after China, the USA and Japan. Currently schemes like the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) labelling scheme offers some information on sustainable forestry to consumers:  in 2012 the European Commission is due to bring in new rules banning illegally sourced timber although commentators doubt the legislation will be effective. Deforestation is reponsible for 15% of the World’s greenhouse gas emissions. See more at www.www.org.uk/whatwoodyouchoose

The great biofuel debate continues with a new report saying that Europe’s guarantee to source 10% of vehicle fuel from renewable sources such as biofuels within the next 10 years will cause a rise in carbon emissions – and that the policy is counterproductive, causing more greenhouse gas emissions than are saved. The report from the Institute of European Environmental Policy concludes that biofuels will produce an extra 56 millions tonnes of CO2 per annum and an area somewhere around the size of Belgium will need to be cultivated. If Europe cannot find the space then the production of first generation biofuel crops such as sugar cane, oliseed rape and palms will shift to Asia and South America, taking land away from food production and potentially causing deforestation. Environmental charitoes have long argued that the European Union needs to re-think its targets. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/biofuel-plan-will-cause-rise-in-carbon-emissions-2129773.html

With Prime Minister David Cameron leading a UK trade mission to China you might woder what our biggets export to China currently is – well, it seems that of the $7.8 billion in exports – up to one quarter is WASTE – sent to China for recycling. whilst we do export plastics ($366 million) and rubber ($106 million) to China, even some of this wll be plastics and rubber for recycling.

UK Supermarkets have abandoned their commitment to halve the number of plastic bags given out to consumers. Currently UK shoppers use SIX BILLION plastic bags a year (thats 100 for each and every one of us) and these take up to 1000 years to degrade and pollute our towns, countryside, rivers and the sea. Some of the big chains (Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Co-op, Somerfield, M&S and Waitrose) claimed that they had narrowly missed a target to reduce bags by 50% between 2006 and 2009, although by March 2010 they had achived a laudable 43% reduction compared to 2006. But in May bag use went UP by 23 million bags (or 5%) compared to May 2009 and it seems some customers resent being restricted from taking as many bags as they want,  and now the supermarkets have dropped the commitment.

The Observer reports that new research shows that up to 1 billion people risk  losing their homes to the effects of climate change. Devastating changes to sea levels, rainfall, water supplies, weather systems and crop yields are increasingly likely before the end of the century, scientists will warn in a special report  to be released at the start of climate negotiations in Cancún, Mexico. The report  will reveal that up to a billion people face losing their homes in the next 90 years because of failures to agree curbs on carbon emissions. Up to three billion people could lose access to clean water supplies because global temperatures cannot now be stopped from rising by 4C. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/28/cancun-climate-summit-weather