In the UK, the Royal Society has agreed to rewrite its guide on climate chamge on the face of pressure from a number of well respected climate change sceptics who have questined whether it is mankind who are driving global warming or whether there are other factors involved. Climate Change: a Summary of the Science will now state that “some uncertanties are unlikely to ever be significantly reduced” , does not make any predictions about the impact of climate change and also does to make any predictions about the level of climate change that might be expected saying “it is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how climate will change in the future”.
The UK Govenment is planning to test the UK’s flood defences in March 2011 to see how they would cope with severe flooding brought on by climate change. Exercise Watermark will test emergency services and communities on a range of scenarios.
Hybrid trains that can run on both diesel and electric power will be introduced on three main rail lines in the UK – The West Coast line that Virgin Trains use, the Cross Country Line and the Esast Midland line run by East Midland Trains. The trains would be cheaper to run with lower carbon emissions and would replace the 100% disesel trains that currently run and allow them to pick up electricity where lines are electrified with overhead power cables. The plan would also allow the Government to continue with plans to electrify the UK rail network in the face of current spendng cutbacks. Network Rail also has plans to electrify the Midland Main line north of Bedford but has no funding – a similar problem faces the Great Western main line from London to Swansea and the line between Manchester and Liverpool.
There is one hell of a hoohaaa about the new 10:10 short film by Richard Curtis which 10:10 have banned themselves – with a number of charities which backed the film now saying that they are ‘appalled’ at the gruesome four minute short which includes a number of environmental campaigners, including a teacher and a work boss, blowing up climate change recalcitrant members of the public – including two school children, work colleagues and a Tottenham Hotspur FC coach exploding David Ginola . 10:10 have apologised to everyone offended by the film – you can make your own mind up here http://www.nowpublic.com/environment/10-10-no-pressure-movie-taken-down-after-complaints-video-2689728.html and more on 10:10 here www.1010global.org .
The Observer Magazine features reports on Polly Higgins, a lawyer with strong environmental interests, who had published a new book, Eradicating Ecocide, which lays out a franework to lobby for meaningful environmental laws and contains tips on taking ptactica action to halt the ongoing damage to the planet. Its published by Shepheard Walwyn and costs £17.95.
Lucy Siegle (again in the ObserverMagazine on the 3rd October) points out that when it comes to buying furniture – age matters – and an 1830’s antique chest of drawers is 16 times more carbon efficient than a modern equivalent . Even ethically manufactured modern furniture from reponsibly sourced timber made by local craftsmen have higher carbon footprints – primarily because of their short lifespan – with modern furniture used on average for just 15 years and then diacarded. Antiques of course are kept and cherished.
Research by Chinese scientists in ancient caves has pointed towards remarkable recent changes in climate – in particular a disassociation between western warm weather and a good Chinese monsoon. The Chinese government is concerned with the results. Scientists in the US produced similar studies in March this year but to little reaction from the US Government. See http://www.scienceline.org/2010/03/ancient-cave-formations-reveal-history-of-abrupt-climate-changes/
www.Guardian.co.uk/biodiversity100 – this months tips to governments to promote biodiversity include (a) Russia – modify federal legislation to restrict the poaching of endangered species such as tigers (b) UK – re-introduce extinct animals to regions (c) India and Indonesia – ban shark ‘finning’ at sea (d) Brazil – REJECT THE NEW FOREST CODE – and (e) Australia – ban the sale of invasive alien plants.
And finally Stewart Brand, a central figure in the 1960s counter cuklture movement, has said that the planet needs a Plan B – and he has now moved to support GM foods and nuclear energy in his latest book, Whole Earth Discipline (Atlantic Books), saying that nuclear power, genertically modified food and geo-engineering are the only realistic solutions to fight global warming.