Friday, 31 January 2014
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/30/flooding-experts-uk-adapt-climate-change). Much of the flooding is associated with low lying areas (in some cases, these are occupied because the land is agriculturally enriched by flooding events). Dredging rivers sounds a commonsensical 'cure' but it may simply hurry the waters downstream to flood other areas.
Monday, 27 January 2014
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-25910398) should come as no surprise. It is likely that the attackers are trying to get the doves to regurgitate grain on which they might have been fed rather than to actually kill them. Releasing, however, food items in a predictable location and at a predictable time is likely to generate this behaviour.
Sunday, 26 January 2014
Friday, 24 January 2014
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/23/climate-change-risks-greenland-arctic-icecap). The removal of the white obstacle is encouraging a potential invasion of mining and oil prospectors attracted to the new accessibility of abundant natural resources. Although this might well improve the economy of the region (perhaps at the expense of further exaccerbating climate change), these activities will exert real pressures on the largely Inuit populations. I think a certain degree of caution is needed. There is even a suggestion that Greenland will seek complete autonomy from Denmark.
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jan/23/quinoa-ethiopia-teff-super-grain). After initial enthusiasm for Andean quinoa, Ethopian teff is now the 'hot' 'super-food' grain of choice. It is certainly true that both grains have some interesting properties (in terms of amino acids etc) and increasing their utilisation could well pull needed currencies into the places where they are grown. Generally, however, such fashions tend to increase the prices paid for these crops, often making them too expensive for the local populations who have relied on them. Even nutrionally-inferior alternatives are commonly out of their range.
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/13/fracking-shale-gas-incentives-councils). This move is argued on the basis ensuring UK energy supplies (only if the quantities produced are truly impressive and other potential environmental issues are avoided) and increasing the number of jobs (only if they are semi-permanent and do not entirely consist of operatives bought in to do the activity). The burning of shale gas (as well as 'escaped' methane) would do little to limit the build up of 'greenhouse gases'. It is, perhaps, also pertinent to note, according to some writers (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/13/flooding-public-spending-britain-europe-policies-homes) note that the same government seems to be responding in an unintelligent way to the recent UK flooding of homes by advocating policies that reduce areas with trees (trees on sites result in absorption of much more rain water than fields). Agricultural subsidies only go to areas that lack trees and shrubs meaning that there is even an incentive to remove these 'obstacles' from upland areas. People are also being encouraged to straighten and dredge rivers to increase flow through, even though this is known to direct water to built up areas that are prone to flooding. Concrete barriers are not only relatively inefficient but concrete production is one of the largest generators of carbon dioxide.
Monday, 13 January 2014
Saturday, 11 January 2014
Thursday, 9 January 2014
Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Monday, 6 January 2014
Saturday, 4 January 2014
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25599249 ). Are we talking about social or high-end housing? What species of trees would be used? Where would the offsets be planted? What would happen to the animal and fungal species in the destroyed area? The point is simply that you would not (even with the passage of considerable time) be replacing like with like. There is so little ancient woodland in this country that I think he needs to think a little more carefully.
Friday, 3 January 2014
Thursday, 2 January 2014
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fewer-clouds-could-mean-greater-global-warming ) suggests that failures to consider reductions in cloud cover that would normally reflect a percentage of solar energy the Earth receives back into space have resulted in a marked underestimation of the likely rate of global warming. Their models predict that, rather than the increase, by 2100, being limited to a dangerous but containable 2 degrees Centigrade, the average rise will be a catastrophic 4 degrees. That's the kind of clarity that makes me nervous.
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