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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

This is where you can talk about every subject (previously it was called shout room)

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:45 am

Climate change: Greta Thunberg
school strikes began a year ago


It started with one girl - Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg - and now millions of young people around the world have joined demonstrations against climate change

It's been one year since Greta first started her 'School Strike for Climate'.

She was 15 years old at the time and skipped school to protest outside the Swedish parliament, calling on world leaders to do more to help the environment.

greta thunberg tweetGretaThunberg/Twitter

She chose to miss classes every Friday and asked other young people around the world to do the same.

This evolved into a massive campaign movement called 'Fridays for Future'.

Over the last year it's grown, with millions of students in countries all over the planet inspired by Greta to take action and walk out of school.

And it's not just been a big year for her campaign, it's been a big year for her too.

Greta has made some high-profile speeches about the issues of climate change.

In March she became one of youngest people ever to have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

In April Greta met with UK leaders and also told the EU to forget Brexit and focus on climate change instead!

She also joined with the campaign group Extinction Rebellion in London, encouraging protesters to continue their fight to stop climate change.

Greta-gives-speech-in-French-parliament.EPA

In May she was named as one of the world's most influential people by Time magazine

Afterwards, she posted on social media saying "Now I am speaking to the whole world".

In June the human rights group Amnesty International presented her with the 'Ambassador of Conscience' award for 2019.

In July Greta even made her music debut by recording an essay on climate change for The 1975's new album, as well as getting the first ever "Freedom Prize" from France's Normandy region for her role in the climate movement.

In August Greta set sail from Britain on a two-week boat journey to the US to take part in two climate change summits there.

She's also been named 'Game Changer Of The Year' at GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2019, appearing on the front cover of the magazine's October edition.

If she can achieve all that in one year, we can't wait to see what she does next!

Link to Article - Lots of Photos:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/49405357
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:00 am

Climate change fears gripping Britain
with 85% worried about warming


Fears in Britain about climate change have hit a record high, an exclusive poll for the Evening Standard reveals today

The Ipsos MORI survey showed 85 per cent of adults are now concerned about global warming, the highest figure since the pollster started asking the question in 2005.

It comes at a time when concern for the natural world is being propelled by freakish weather and after the hottest July ever around the globe.

In Britain, a record temperature of 38.7C was set on July 25 at Cambridge Botanic Gardens . In contrast, the downpours that followed are set to make August the wettest ever , according to the Met Office.

The proportion of people who are “very concerned” about climate change has jumped to a record 52 per cent, up from just 18 per cent five years ago.

More than half of women, 55 per cent, now express such deep alarm, compared with 48 per cent of men.

Nearly three-quarters of Britons believe the country is already feeling the effects of climate change — up from 61 per cent in 2017, 55 per cent in 2014 and 41 per cent in 2010.

When asked about the recent hot weather, just over a quarter thought it was mainly caused by climate change due to human activity, 15 per cent said it was mainly down to natural weather processes, and 57 per cent believed that both factors were to blame.

One year ago Swedish activist Greta Thunberg started the School Strike for Climate movement, which called on children to walk out of classes in protest at government inaction on the issue.

Last week the 16-year-old set off on a zero-carbon yacht from Plymouth to New York, where she will address world leaders at a climate change summit.

In London, there have been a series of demonstrations by environmental group Extinction Rebellion, amid rising public demand for action.

Britain is already committed under the 2008 Climate Change Act to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Just weeks before she quit as prime minister, Theresa May unveiled plans to cut these climate-damaging emissions to “net zero” within the same timescale.

However, 55 per cent of Britons believe the Government should aim to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero more quickly, a belief held by 63 per cent of adults aged 18-34, as well as 70 per cent of Labour supporters, and 69 per cent of Liberal Democrat backers.

Antonia Dickman, head of environment research at Ipsos MORI, said: “In 2005-6 we saw a peak in concern about the environment, reflecting the prominence of media reporting around, for example, Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, the Kyoto Protocol coming into effect and the Stern Report.

“But climate fatigue appeared to set in, particularly in the aftermath of the economic crash.

“Recently, though, concern has been creeping up again, after events such as Extinction Rebellion, the school strikes for climate, and climate emergencies being declared by local authorities.”

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/clim ... 18251.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:07 pm

Green 'silver bullet': Scientists boast way to extract hydrogen from oil without emitting greenhouse gases

Scientists said that they have developed a way of extracting hydrogen from oil without releasing greenhouse gases — a breakthrough they hailed as a “silver bullet” for cleaner energy and the climate

Unlike petrol and diesel, hydrogen produces no pollution when burned. It is already used by some car manufacturers to power vehicles and may also be burned to generate electricity.

But until now the wide-scale roll-out of hydrogen technology has been prohibited by the high cost of separating it from hydrocarbons.

Currently the vast majority of hydrogen used for vehicles is derived from natural gas, the extraction process of which produces planet-warming methane.

Now a group of Canadian engineers say they have come up with a method of getting hydrogen directly from oil sands and oil fields, while leaving carbon dioxide and methane in the ground.

The team behind the research, which was unveiled at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Barcelona, said the technology had the potential to supply Canada’s entire electricity requirement for the next 330 years — all without releasing any greenhouse gases.

“Low-cost hydrogen from oil fields with no emissions can power the whole world using mostly existing infrastructure,” Grant Stem, CEO of Proton Technologies, which is commercializing the extraction method, told AFP.

“This is the silver bullet for clean energy and clean climate.”

With global energy demand rising in lockstep with emissions, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change says the world needs to work rapidly to curb greenhouse gases or risk dangerous temperature increases.

Strem said the method could produce hydrogen at between $0.10-0.50 per kilo, compared with the current production cost of around $2 per kilo.

Even abandoned oil fields still contain significant amounts of oil. Strem and the team found injecting oxygen into the fields raised their underlying temperature, freeing hydrogen that can be filtered from other gases.

“The only product in this process is hydrogen, meaning that the technology is effectively pollution- and emission-free,” said Strem.

Experts greeted the possible breakthrough with guarded optimism.

“Making hydrogen from hydrocarbons using oxygen is nothing new — the trick is not releasing the CO2 to the atmosphere,” said Jeremy Tomkinson, company director and CEO at NNFCC The Bioeconomy Consultants.

“It would be really exciting if they had found a way of … ensuring the carbonaceous gases remain locked underground — letting them go to atmosphere would result in no difference to burning the oil above ground at far less energy burden.”

Professor Brian Horsfield, from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, said that extensive field testing would be needed to see how the system works on an industrial scale.

He nevertheless called the project “highly innovative and exciting.

“Declining oilfield infrastructures now stand to get a new lease of life.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/ ... use-gases/
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:13 pm

Giraffes get trade protection amid falling numbers

Giraffes are targeted for bushmeat, but body parts are also used for jewellery and bracelets

Giraffe conservation has taken a big step forward with the world's tallest mammals receiving enhanced protection from unregulated trade.

The move will regulate the trade in giraffes and their body parts under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The vote was overwhelmingly approved, although some countries opposed it.

Giraffe numbers in Africa have fallen by 40% in the past 30 years, in what is being called a "silent extinction".

The mammals are largely targeted for bushmeat but body parts are also used to make products including jewellery, bracelets and purses, the proposal stated.

The motion came from the Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal, where giraffe populations have been diminishing heavily.

But there was resistance from southern African countries, including South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania, where giraffes have fared better.

They argued that there was scant evidence to suggest international trade was contributing to the decline of the giraffe.

Despite the opposition, 106 parties voted in favour of the motion, 21 voted against, with seven abstentions.

Countries will now need to record the export of giraffe parts or artefacts and permits will be mandatory for their trade.

"The giraffe is, in the wild, much rarer than African elephants, much rarer," Tom De Meulenaer, CITES' scientific services chief, told a news briefing.

"We are talking about a few tens of thousands of giraffes, and about a few hundreds of thousands of African elephants. So we need to be careful," he said.

Despite seeing the move as a positive one, Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, said the new listing was "not going to save giraffe in the wild".

Increased financial and political support was needed, along with boots and resources on the ground, to stop their decline, he said, adding that bushmeat for the domestic market was "by far" the biggest reason for poaching.

"Whilst Southern and West Africa populations continue to increase, the combination of poaching, predominantly for domestic use, habitat loss, human population growth and civil unrest in East and Central Africa are resulting in some populations' 'silent extinction'," Mr Fennessy said.

Link to Article - Photo - Video:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-49440949
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:01 am

Amazon fires an international crisis

French President Emmanuel Macron has said the record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest is an "international crisis" that needs to be on the top of the agenda at the G7 summit

"Our house is burning," he tweeted.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said his government was "open to dialogue" about the surge in fires.

But he said calls to discuss the issue at the G7 summit, which Brazil is not participating in, evoke "a misplaced colonialist mindset".

Satellite data published by the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) has shown an increase of 85% this year in fires across Brazil, most of them in the Amazon region.

Conservationists have blamed Mr Bolsonaro's government for the Amazon's plight, saying that he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.

He has suggested that non-governmental organisations started the fires, but admitted he had no evidence for this claim.

Mr Macron, host of this weekend's G7 summit of some of the world's most advanced economies, warned on Thursday that the health of the Amazon was a matter of international concern.

"The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produce 20% of our planet's oxygen - is on fire," he tweeted. "Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days!"

Mr Bolsonaro responded by accusing the French president of using a Brazilian domestic issue for "personal political gain".

He said he was open to dialogue about the fires if it was "based on objective data and mutual respect", but hit out at the calls for it to be discussed at the G7 summit.

"The French president's suggestion that Amazonian issues be discussed at the G7 without the participation of the countries of the region evokes a misplaced colonialist mindset, which does not belong in the 21st century," he wrote on social media.

He also accused Mr Macron of sensationalising the issue, including by using fake pictures.

The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also said he is "deeply concerned" about the fires there.

"In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity. The Amazon must be protected," he tweeted.

How has Bolsonaro reacted to the fires?

Mr Bolsonaro has said that the country is not equipped to fight the fires. "The Amazon is bigger than Europe, how will you fight criminal fires in such an area?," he asked reporters as he left the presidential residence on Thursday. "We do not have the resources for that."

The president has suggested that NGOs may have started fires as revenge for his government slashing their funding.

Amazon wildfires

Asked on Thursday who was responsible, he said: "The Indians, do you want me to blame the Indians? Do you want me to blame the Martians?... Everyone is a suspect, but the biggest suspects are NGOs."

When asked if there was any proof of this, he replied: "Did I accuse NGOs directly? I just said I suspect them."

Mr Bolsonaro has further angered those concerned over the spike in fires by brushing off the latest data.

He argued that it was the season of the "queimada", when farmers burn land to clear it before planting. However, Inpe has noted that the number of fires is not in line with those normally reported during the dry season.

It is not the first time that Mr Bolsonaro has cast doubt on figures suggesting that the Amazon is deteriorating rapidly.

Last month, he accused Inpe's director of lying about the scale of deforestation there. It came after Inpe published data showing an 88% increase in deforestation in the Amazon in June compared to the same month a year ago.

The director of the agency later announced that he was being sacked amid the row.

Why is he being criticised?

Climate activists and conservationists have been scathing about the Bolsonaro government and its policies, which favour development over conservation.

They say that since President Bolsonaro took office, the Amazon rainforest has suffered losses at an accelerated rate.

Their anger was further fuelled by satellite data showing a steep rise in fires in the Amazon region this year.

The figures suggest there have been more than 75,000 fires so far this year for the whole of Brazil, compared with just over 40,000 over the same period in 2018.

The figures and satellite images showing most of the state of Roraima, in northern Brazil, covered by smoke have shocked many Brazilians and triggered a global Twitter trend under the hashtag #prayforamazonia.

How is the rainforest helping to limit global warming?

The US space agency, Nasa, has on the other hand said that overall fire activity in the Amazon basin is slightly below average this year.

As well as being a vital carbon store, the region is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.

Amazon fires cause stir on social media

The plight of the Amazon has seen millions take to social media to decry reports of a massive yearly increase in forest fires. But some of the most striking - and viral - pictures shared by social media users are not all they seem.

The hashtag #PrayForAmazonia started to be widely used on Tuesday. It has been included in almost three million tweets since.

The most widely shared tweet using that hashtag - with more than a million likes and retweets - includes two aerial images of forest fires, neither of which show the current situation.

One dates as far back as 1989. And other widely shared images include fires as far away as Siberia or the United States.

A video of a Pataxo woman angrily accusing illegal ranchers of starting fires has almost five million views. But the video has been shared on social media since at least July. So while it may point to one potential reason for the reported increase in forest fires, it's not necessarily a depiction of the present situation.

What causes the fires?

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.

"The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident," Inpe researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters news agency.

Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Programme, said the fires were "a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures".

Link to Article - Photos - Charts:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-49443389
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:05 pm

Brazil sends army to
tackle Amazon fires


Brazil's president has ordered the armed forces to help fight a record number of forest fires in the Amazon

A decree issued by President Jair Bolsonaro authorises the deployment of soldiers in nature reserves, indigenous lands and border areas in the region.

The announcement comes after intense pressure from European leaders.

France and Ireland say they will not ratify a huge trade deal with South American nations unless Brazil does more to tackle blazes in the Amazon.

Finland's finance minister has also called on the EU to consider banning Brazilian beef imports.

Finland is currently president of the Council of the EU - a role which is rotated among member states every six months.

Environmental groups have called for protests in cities across Brazil on Friday to demand action to combat the fires.

Hundreds of protesters also gathered outside the Brazilian embassies around the world, including in London, Berlin, Mumbai and Paris.

"We can't stand around waiting for the sky to turn black all the way here in London too," protester Laura Villares House, 33, told BBC Brasil.

Why does the Amazon matter?

The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.

It is known as the "lungs of the world" and is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted on Thursday: "In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity. The Amazon must be protected."

How bad are the fires and who is responsible for them?

Satellite data published by the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) has shown an increase of 85% this year in fires across Brazil, most of them in the Amazon region.

Mr Bolsonaro has brushed off the latest data, arguing that it was the season of the "queimada", when farmers burn land to clear it before planting.

However, Inpe has noted that the number of fires is not in line with those normally reported during the dry season.

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.

Conservationists say Mr Bolsonaro has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.

During his campaign, he pledged to limit fines for damaging the rainforest and to weaken the influence of the environmental agency.

Mr Bolsonaro has suggested that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) started the fires, but admitted he had no evidence for this claim. In comments on Thursday, he acknowledged that farmers might be involved in setting fires in the region, according to Reuters news agency.

US space agency Nasa, meanwhile, has said that overall fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average compared to the past 15 years.

Link to Video - Photos - Chart:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-49452789
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:26 am

PM vows to raise horrific
loss of habitat and species


Boris Johnson has vowed to use the gathering of world leaders at the G7 summit to draw attention to the horrific loss of habitats and species around the world

Speaking ahead of the meeting of the world's major industrial nations, the Prime Minister said that "we are going through an extinction of diversity, of biodiversity across the planet".

He said that the "horrific" loss of habitats and species will be one thing he addresses at the summit in France over the weekend.

His comments came just a day after French President Emmanuel Macron insisted fires in the Amazon and their effect on climate change should top the G7 agenda.

In a tweet on Thursday, Mr Macron said "our house is burning".

He added: "The Amazon rainforest - the lungs which produce 20 per cent of our planet's oxygen - is on fire. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!”

Responding to Mr Macron, Mr Johnson said on Friday that he "passionately shares" the French President's views.

"One of the things I am going to be raising at the G7 is the horrific loss of habitats and species around the world," he said.

"We are going through an extinction of diversity, of biodiversity across the planet, we are down to about 15,000 lions left in the wild, perhaps 3,000 tigers in India, the population of elephants has declined at about 8% a year."

Mr Johnson continued: "What we in the UK want to do is lead the world now in setting targets for the retention, the maintenance, and the improvement of habitat, and stop this terrible loss of biodiversity, so set targets for keeping the species that we inherited on this planet."

The leaders of Britain, America, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will meet this weekend in France.

A record number of fires have devastated huge parts of the Amazon Rainforest and they continue to burn.

The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said there have been 72,843 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region – an increase of more than 80 per cent compared with the previous year.

Video footage of the fires have gone viral on social media, while millions fear the impact the ongoing destruction of the world’s largest rainforest may have on the climate change crisis.

Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the region.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/bori ... 20356.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:01 pm

Should you fly, drive
or take the train?


The climate campaigner Greta Thunberg chose to sail to a UN climate conference in New York in a zero-emissions yacht rather than fly - to highlight the impact of aviation on the environment. The 16-year-old Swede has previously travelled to London and other European cities by train

Meanwhile the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have faced criticism over opting to fly to Sir Elton John's villa in Nice in a private jet.

So what is the environmental impact of flying and how do trips by train, car or boat compare?

What are aviation emissions?

Flights produce greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) - from burning fuel. These contribute to global warming when released into the atmosphere.

An economy-class return flight from London to New York emits an estimated 0.67 tonnes of CO2 per passenger, according to the calculator from the UN's civil aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

That's equivalent to 11% of the average annual emissions for someone in the UK or about the same as those caused by someone living in Ghana over a year.

Aviation contributes about 2% of the world's global carbon emissions, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It predicts passenger numbers will double to 8.2 billion in 2037..

And as other sectors of the economy become greener - with more wind turbines, for example - aviation's proportion of total emissions is set to rise.
Chart showing emissions from different modes of transport

How do emissions vary?

It depends where passengers sit and whether they are taking a long-haul flight or a shorter one.

The flight figures in the table are for economy class. For long haul flights, carbon emissions per passenger per kilometre travelled are about three times higher for business class and four times higher for first class, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

This is because there's more space per seat, so each person accounts for a larger amount of the whole plane's pollution.

Taking off uses more fuel than cruising. For shorter flights, this accounts for a larger proportion of the journey. And it means lower emissions for direct flights than multi-leg trips.

Also, newer planes can be more efficient and some airlines and routes are better at filling seats than others. One analysis found wide variation between per passenger emissions for different airlines.

For private jets, although the planes are smaller, the emissions are split between a much smaller number of people.

For example, Prince Harry and Meghan's recent return flight to Nice would have emitted about four times as much CO2 per person as an equivalent economy flight.

The increased warming effect other, non-CO2, emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, have when they are released at high altitudes can also make a significant difference to emissions calculations.

"The climate effect of non-CO2 emissions from aviation is much greater than the equivalent from other modes of transport, as these non-CO2 greenhouse gases formed at higher altitudes persist for longer than at the surface and also have a stronger warming potential," Eloise Marais, from the Atmospheric Composition Group, at the University of Leicester, told BBC News.

But there is scientific uncertainty about how this effect should be represented in calculators.

The ICAO excludes it, while the BEIS includes it as an option - using a 90% increase to reflect it.

The EcoPassenger calculator - launched by the International Railways Union in cooperation with the European Environment Agency - says it depends on the height the plane reaches.

Longer flights are at higher altitude, so the calculator multiplies by numbers ranging from 1.27 for flights of 500km (300 miles) to 2.5 for those of more than 1,000km.

In the chart above, the high-altitude, non-CO2 emissions are in a different colour.
How does travelling by train compare?

Train virtually always comes out better than plane, often by a lot. A journey from London to Madrid would emit 43kg (95lb) of CO2 per passenger by train, but 118kg by plane (or 265kg if the non-CO2 emissions are included), according to EcoPassenger.

However, the margin between train and plane emissions varies, depending on several factors, including the type of train. For electric trains, the way the electricity they use is generated is used to calculate carbon emissions.

Diesel trains' carbon emissions can be twice those of electric ones. Figures from the UK Rail Safety and Standards board show some diesel locomotives emit more than 90g of C02 per passenger per kilometre, compared with about 45g for an electric Intercity 225, for example.

The source of the electricity can make a big difference if you compare a country such as France, where about 75% of electricity comes from nuclear power, with Poland, where about 80% of grid power is generated from coal.

According to EcoPassenger, for example, a train trip from Paris to Bordeaux (about 500km) emits just 4.4kg of carbon dioxide per passenger, while a journey between the Polish cities of Gdansk and Katowice (about 465km) emits 61.8kg.

As with plane journeys, another factor is how full the train is - a peak-time commuter train will have much lower emissions per person than a late-night rural one, for example.

Can driving be better than flying?

Yes, if the car's electric - but diesel and petrol cars are also in many cases better options than flying, though it depends on various factors, particularly how many people they're carrying.

According to EcoPassenger, a journey from London to Madrid can be done with lower emissions per passenger by plane, even accounting for the effect of high altitude non-CO2 emissions, if the car is carrying just one person and the plane is full. If you add just one more person into the vehicle, the car wins out.

Coaches also score well. BEIS says travelling by coach emits 27g of CO2 per person per kilometre, compared with 41g on UK rail (but only 6g on Eurostar) - though again this will vary depending on how full they are and the engine type.

What about travelling by boat?

The BEIS has also put a figure on ferry transport - 18g of CO2 per passenger kilometre for a foot passenger, which is less than a coach, or 128g for a driver and car, which is more like a long-haul flight.

But ferries' ages and efficiency will vary around the world - and a ferry won't get you to America, although a cruise ship or ocean liner would.

The cruise industry has long been under pressure to reduce environmental impacts ranging from waste disposal to air pollution, as well as high emissions - not only from travel but also from powering all the on-board facilities.

Carnival Corporation and plc, which owns nine cruise lines, says its 104 ships emit an average of 251g of carbon dioxide equivalent per "available lower berth" per kilometre.

And, while the figures are not directly comparable, they suggest cruising falls in similar territory to flying in terms of emissions.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49349566
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:21 am

Animals taken from wild in Kurdistan
must be returned to sanctuary


Though animals and their pelts can be bought, the Sulaimani Forests Department says they will return any animals to wildlife sanctuaries if they are found to have been taken out of the wild in the Kurdistan Region

"It is allowed for people to raise wild animals and keep them if they are brought from abroad,” Hemin Kamar Khan Afandi, media officer of the Sulaimani Forests and Environment Rangers, told Rudaw on Saturday. "But, if they are found to have captured them in Kurdistan, the owners will be held responsible.”

“And we will return them to the wildlife.” :ymapplause:

The issue of capturing animals began in 2014 during the war with the Islamic State (ISIS), which forced park rangers to the front lines to fight the militant group, giving illegal hunters open season. Taking animals out of captivity is already illegal, Afandi added.

"We have issued the measures and determined the fines based on Regulation No. 1 of the year 2015 of the [KRG] board," he said.

Afandi said the reason why the wild are always subject to being captured is because "the government has not been able to create some protected areas due to the economic crisis."

"There are certain places where some kinds of animals live, including tiger, but we do not want to disclose the places in order for hunters to not know the place and go hunt them," he added.

In April 2017, the Kurdish-American Organisation secured the release of six hand-raised Asiatic brown bears into the wilds of Halgord National Park, a wildlife sanctuary in the northeast of the Kurdistan Region.

Though there is not official data about the number of wild animals in the Kurdistan Region, Afandi is optimistic that their number is on the rise.

"The number of wild bucks in Darbandikhan was six in the past. But now, the number has increased to 200 and it is the case in other areas, too,” he said, referring to the large lake south of Suleimani.

Between 2008 and 2010, the KRG introduced environmental protection laws, including some related to hunting, in order to protect the region's wildlife and nature.

The Sulaimani Forest and Environment Police say tough fines will be levied on any poachers killing or poaching wild animals, including lions and tigers

The fines range from 100,000 Iraqi dinars (around $85) to 10,000,000 Iraqi dinars (around $8,000), according to regulations by the Protection and Improvement section of the Kurdistan Environment Board. According to the regulations, the hunters of tigers, brown bears, black bears, deer, wild sheep and goats will be fined for 10,00,000 dinars.

The hunters of wild boar will be fined for 500,000 dinars (around $415), foxes for 300,000 (around $250) dinars and squirrels for 100,000 dinars (around $85).

The fine is subject to increase if the number of the hunted or captured wild animals is very limited in Kurdistan, Afandi said.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/lifestyle/24082019
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:48 am

G7 close to agreeing
help for Amazon fires


International leaders gathering at the G7 summit are reportedly nearing an agreement to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday a deal to provide "technical and financial help" was close.

Leaders from the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, the UK and Canada continue their meeting in the seaside town of Biarritz on Monday.

It comes amid international tension over record fires burning in Brazil.

Critics have accused Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, of "green lighting" the Amazon's destruction through anti-environmental rhetoric and a lack of action on deforestation violations.

The severity of the fires, and his government's response, has prompted global outcry and protests.

President Macron last week described the fires as an "international crisis" and pushed for them to be prioritised at the G7 summit this weekend.

On Sunday he said the leaders are "all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible.

"Our teams are making contact with all the Amazon countries so we can finalise some very concrete commitments involving technical resources and funding."

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would provide £10m to protect the Amazon rainforest.

What is Brazil doing?

On Friday, facing mounting pressure from abroad, President Bolsonaro authorised the military to help tackle the blazes.

The Defence Ministry has said that 44,000 troops are available to help in the effort and officials said on Sunday that military intervention has been authorised in seven states.

Warplanes have also been drafted in to dump water on the areas affected.

The president tweeted on Sunday that he had also accepted an offer of support from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Protests calling for intervention have continued in Brazil across the weekend

President Bolsonaro has previously been critical of the response of foreign governments and accused them of interfering in Brazil's national sovereignty.

Announcing the military help in a television address on Friday, President Bolsonaro insisted forest fires "exist in the whole world" and said they "cannot serve as a pretext for possible international sanctions".

On Saturday, EU Council president Donald Tusk admitted it was hard to imagine the bloc ratifying the long-awaited EU-Mercosur agreement - a landmark trade deal with South American nations - while Brazil was still failing to curb the blazes.

As criticism mounted again last week, Finland's finance minister went as far as calling for the EU to consider banning Brazilian beef imports altogether.

How bad are the fires?

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil, but satellite data published by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) has shown an increase of 85% this year.

They say more than 75,000 have been recorded in Brazil so far in 2019, most of them in the Amazon region.

Environmental activists have drawn links between President Bolsonaro's attitudes towards the environment and the recent surge in the number of fires in the famous rainforest.

Members of Brazil's indigenous Mura tribe vow to defend their land

President Bolsonaro has been accused of emboldening miners and loggers who deliberately start fires to illegally deforest land. Earlier this month he accused Inpe of trying to undermine his government with data revealing sharp increases in deforestation levels.

BBC analysis has also found that the record number of fires being recorded also coincide with a sharp drop off in fines being handed out for environmental violations.

Neighbouring Bolivia is also struggling to contain fires burning in its forests.

On Sunday President Evo Morales suspended his re-election campaign and said he was prepared to accept international help to tackle blazes in his country's Chiquitania region.

Why is the Amazon important?

As the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming. It spans a number of countries, but the majority of it falls within Brazil.

It is known as the "lungs of the world" for its role in absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.

The rainforest is also home to about three million species of plants and animals and one million indigenous people.

Political leaders, celebrities and environmentalists are among those who have called for action to protect the Amazon.

Thousands of protesters have also taken to the streets across the world calling on governments to intervene.

On Sunday, Pope Francis also joined the call to protect the rainforest.

"We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon. Let us pray so that with the commitment of all, they can be put out soon. That lung of forests is vital for our planet," he told thousands of people in St Peter's Square.

There are now worldwide protests over Brazilian government inaction on Amazon fires

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-49469476
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:59 am

Nestlé plan to take 1.1m gallons of water a day from natural springs sparks outcry

Click to enlarge:
1208

The crystal blue waters of Ginnie Springs have long been treasured among the string of pearls that line Florida’s picturesque Santa Fe River, a playground for water sports enthusiasts and an ecologically critical haven for the numerous species of turtles that nest on its banks

Soon, however, it is feared there could be substantially less water flowing through, if a plan by the food and beverage giant Nestlé wins approval.

In a controversial move that has outraged environmentalists and also raised questions with authorities responsible for the health and vitality of the river, the company is seeking permission to take more than 1.1m gallons a day from the natural springs to sell back to the public as bottled water.

Opponents say the fragile river, which is already officially deemed to be “in recovery” by the Suwannee River water management district after years of earlier overpumping, cannot sustain such a large draw – a claim Nestlé vehemently denies. Critics are fighting to stop the project as environmentally harmful and against the public interest.

Meanwhile, Nestlé, which produces its popular Zephyrhills and Pure Life brands with water extracted from similar natural springs in Florida, has spent millions of dollars this year buying and upgrading a water bottling plant at nearby High Springs in expectation of permission being granted.

The company needs the Suwannee River water management district to renew an expired water use permit held by a local company, Seven Springs, from which it plans to buy the water at undisclosed cost. Nestlé insists spring water is a rapidly renewable resource and promises a “robust” management plan in partnership with its local agents for long-term sustainability of its water sources.

Yet company officials concede in letters to water managers supporting the permit request that its plans would result in four times more water being taken daily than Seven Springs’ previously recorded high of 0.26m gallons for its customers before Nestlé.

“The facility is in process of adding bottling capacity and expects significant increase in production volumes equal to the requested annual average daily withdrawal volume of approximately 1.152m gallons,” George Ring, natural resources manager for Nestlé Waters North America, wrote in a June letter to the Suwannee district engineers.

Campaigners against Nestlé’s plan, who have set up an online forum and petition and submitted dozens of letters of opposition ahead of a decision that could come as early as November, say that environmental grounds alone should be enough to disqualify the plan.

“The question is how much harm is it going to cause the spring, what kind of change is going to be made in that water system?” said Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, a director of the not-for-profit Our Santa Fe River.

“The Santa Fe River is already in decline [and] there’s not enough water coming out of the aquifer itself to recharge these lovely, amazing springs that are iconic and culturally valued and important for natural systems and habitats.

“It’s impossible to withdraw millions of gallons of water and not have an impact. If you take any amount of water out of a glass you will always have less.”

Additionally, Malwitz-Jipson said, the Santa Fe River and its associated spring habitats are home to 11 native turtle species and four non-native species, which rely on a vigorous water flow and river levels.

“Few places on Earth have as many turtle species living together and about a quarter of all North American freshwater turtle species inhabit this small river system. A big threat to this diversity is habitat degradation, which will happen with reduced flows.”

Stefani Weeks, program engineer with the Suwannee River water management district, said that because Seven Springs was seeking a five-year renewal of an existing permit instead of making a new application. Board members could not consider in their final decision the Santa Fe River’s protected designation and a recovery strategy implemented in 2014 to restore reduced water flows and levels.

But the district has its own questions, and wrote to Seven Springs in July for a second time to request answers. “Their first response we didn’t feel was complete, so we asked for them to go into more detail,” she said. “Once they respond we will review that information.”

Among the items the district wants are an evaluation report of any harm that the project might cause to wetlands, and a documented impact study of Ginnie Springs. The permit cannot be granted, the district says, unless Seven Springs can show that there would be no change in “water levels or flows of the source spring from the normal rate and range of function” and “no adverse impacts to water quality, vegetation or animal population”.

Nestlé is no stranger to controversy over its water extraction activities. In 2017, the state water resources control board of California issued a report of investigation concluding that the company appeared to be diverting water “without a valid basis of right” from Strawberry Canyon in the San Bernardino national forest for use in its Arrowhead brand of bottled water.

Nestlé continues to dispute the finding and is still pumping water there – 45m gallons last year, according to published reports. But in the tussle over whether the company had historic rights to all the water it was taking from the creek, groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters and the Save Our Forest Association were critical of Nestlé and its operations.

In a written statement Nestlé, which employs 800 people in Florida, said it wanted to address “misconceptions” about its plans.

“We adhere to all relevant regulatory and state standards. Just like all the previous owners of the High Springs factory which manufactured bottled water and other beverages, we are not taking water from a publicly owned source. Instead we are buying water from a private company which holds the valid water use permit,” spokesman Adam Gaber said, adding that Nestlé’s water use “will always remain strictly within the limit set by the permit”.

He said that Nestlé was also a responsible steward of the environment. “Our business depends on the quality and sustainability of the water we are collecting,” he said.

“It would make no sense to invest millions of dollars into local operations just to deplete the natural resources on which our business relies. It would undermine the success of our business and go against every value we hold as people and as a company.”
As the crisis escalates…

https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... lan-permit
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:52 pm

G7 countries to provide
$22m to fight Amazon fires


International leaders at the G7 summit have agreed to provide logistical and financial support to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest

French President Emmanuel Macron said G7 countries would release $22m (£18m).

However, President Jair Bolsonaro said Mr Macron's plan of an "alliance" to "save" the Amazon treated Brazil "as if we were a colony or no man's land".

A record number of fires is burning in Brazil, mostly in the Amazon, according to the country's space research agency.

The funding pledge was announced as the leaders of the G7 - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US - continue to meet in Biarritz, France.

Mr Macron said the funds would be made available "immediately" - primarily to pay for more fire-fighting planes - and that France would also "offer concrete support with military in the region within the next few hours".

However, Mr Bolsonaro - who has been engaged in a public row with Mr Macron in recent weeks - accused the French leader of launching "unreasonable and gratuitous attacks against the Amazon region", and "hiding his intentions behind the idea of an 'alliance' of G7 countries".

He wrote on Twitter that Brazil's sovereignty should be respected - and said he had discussed with Colombia's president the need for "a joint plan" from the countries that actually made up the Amazon region.

Despite Mr Bolsonaro's comments, his environment minister, Ricardo Salles, told reporters that the funding was welcome, Reuters news agency reports.

President Macron last week described the fires as an "international crisis" and pushed for them to be prioritised at the G7 summit which his country is hosting.

G7 leaders also intend to discuss plans to reforest the Amazon, at the United Nations general assembly meeting in September.

The severity of the fires, and the response by Brazil's government, has prompted a global outcry and protests.

According to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), more than 75,000 fires have been recorded in Brazil so far in 2019, most of them in the Amazon region.

Critics have accused Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, of "green lighting" the Amazon's destruction through anti-environmental rhetoric and a lack of action on deforestation violations.

What is Brazil doing?

On Friday, facing mounting pressure from abroad, President Bolsonaro authorised the military to help tackle the blazes.

The Defence Ministry has said that 44,000 troops are available to help in the effort and officials said on Sunday that military intervention has been authorised in seven states.

Warplanes have also been drafted in to dump water on the areas affected.

The president tweeted on Sunday that he had also accepted an offer of support from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Protests calling for intervention have continued in Brazil across the weekend

President Bolsonaro has previously been critical of the response of foreign governments and accused them of interfering in Brazil's national sovereignty.

On Saturday, EU Council president Donald Tusk admitted it was hard to imagine the bloc ratifying the long-awaited EU-Mercosur agreement - a landmark trade deal with South American nations - while Brazil was still failing to curb the blazes.

As criticism mounted again last week, Finland's finance minister went as far as calling for the EU to consider banning Brazilian beef imports altogether.

How bad are the fires?

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil, but satellite data published by Inpe has shown an increase of 85% this year.

Environmental activists have drawn links between President Bolsonaro's attitudes towards the environment and the recent surge in the number of fires in the famous rainforest.

Members of Brazil's indigenous Mura tribe vow to defend their land

President Bolsonaro has been accused of emboldening miners and loggers who deliberately start fires to illegally deforest land. Earlier this month he accused Inpe of trying to undermine his government with data revealing sharp increases in deforestation levels.

BBC analysis has also found that the record number of fires being recorded also coincide with a sharp drop off in fines being handed out for environmental violations.

Neighbouring Bolivia is also struggling to contain fires burning in its forests.

On Sunday President Evo Morales suspended his re-election campaign and said he was prepared to accept international help to tackle blazes in his country's Chiquitania region.

Why is the Amazon important?

As the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming. It spans a number of countries, but the majority of it falls within Brazil.

Why the Amazon rainforest helps fight climate change

It is known as the "lungs of the world" for its role in absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.

The rainforest is also home to about three million species of plants and animals and one million indigenous people.

Political leaders, celebrities and environmentalists are among those who have called for action to protect the Amazon.

Thousands of protesters have also taken to the streets across the world calling on governments to intervene.

On Sunday, Pope Francis also joined the call to protect the rainforest.

"We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon. Let us pray so that with the commitment of all, they can be put out soon. That lung of forests is vital for our planet," he told thousands of people in St Peter's Square.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-49469476
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:58 pm

Leonardo DiCaprio gives
$5m for Amazon rainforest


Leonardo DiCaprio's environmental organisation is putting $5m (£4.1m) towards helping the Amazon rainforest after the recent surge in fires there

Earth Alliance will give the money to local groups and indigenous communities as they work to protect the Amazon.

The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil says there have been more than 72,000 fires in the Amazon rainforest this year.

That's up from 40,000 at the same point last year

A statement on the Earth Alliance website says: "The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is rapidly releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, destroying an ecosystem that absorbs millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year and is one of the planet's best defences against the climate crisis."

The BBC's Will Grant describes the view of the devastation from above as "disturbing"

The organisations receiving the cash are Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida (Kayapo), Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), Instituto Kabu (Kayapo), Instituto Raoni (Kayapo) and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

The surge in forest fires has been put down to a rise in deliberate deforestation for cattle farming.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has been accused by critics of encouraging the destruction of the Amazon through a lack of action on environmental issues.

But he says non-governmental organisations (NGOs) - like charities - could be to blame for starting the record number of fires. He hasn't offered any evidence for this claim.

Earth Alliance was founded by Leo and two other philanthropists in July - aiming to protect wildlife, push for climate justice and secure indigenous rights.

The Amazon Forest Fund is the group's initiative to raise money for the protection of this specific area.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, the actor said he is "deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the Amazon, which highlights the delicate balance of climate, biodiversity, and the wellbeing of indigenous peoples".

He wants the public to get involved and support the crisis too, linking to ways people can make donations.

Meanwhile, international leaders at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, are reportedly reaching an agreement on international help towards the crisis.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would provide £10m to protect the Amazon rainforest

Link to Article - Photo - Video:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-49472920
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:37 am

The Amazon Is Burning:
It’s Because We Eat Beef


The fires burning up the world’s largest tropical rainforest have been raging for three weeks and are the fastest ever recorded in the area. Scientists have warned that the emergency could severely impact climate change efforts. Is it possible that our consumption of meat is to blame?

There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil this year and more than half of them took place in the Amazon region, according to the National Institute for Space Research, Brazil’s space research center. This figure marks a more than 80 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

The Amazon — which covers an area of 5.5 million km² — produces 20 percent of the oxygen in our planet’s atmosphere. The rainforest is often referred to as the lungs of the Earth

The National Institute for Space Research says that areas equating to more than 1½ soccer fields are being destroyed every minute of every day in the rainforest.

Smoke from the massive fire is spreading at a rapid rate. It has reached Sao Paulo — which is more than 1,700 miles away — blanketing the city in smoke and ash and causing the sky to turn black in the middle of the day. Smoke now covers nearly half of the country and has crept into Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay, according to data from the European Union’s satellite program, Copernicus.

The pollutants released by fires — including particulate matter and toxic gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and non-methane organic compounds — are released into the atmosphere, reaching far further than the country they originated in.

The enormous fire threatens the area where the largest collection of living plant and animal species exists; one in 10 known animal species live in the Amazon rainforest, including roughly 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and approximately 2,000 birds and mammals. Many of these species are endangered.

If the rainforest disappears, the world would “drastically change,” according to CNET. Everything from farms to drinking water would be affected.

What Caused the Amazon Rainforest Fires?

The disaster has now reached mainstream media, spurring celebrities to come forward and raise awareness. Environmentalist actor Leonardo DiCaprio, vegan actor Ruby Rose, and cruelty-free cosmetics entrepreneur Kat Von D have taken to social media to demand change. Even reality star Kim Kardashian came forward, sharing an image of the burning rainforest on her Instagram Story, captioning it, “Does anyone know what we can do to help?”

It’s a question many are asking, and one Von D answered in her post. “… The truth is we don’t have to be billionaire’s to ‘save’ the Amazon rainforest,” she wrote on her Instagram Story. “These fires are purposely started so that farmers have more room for cattle ranching in order to keep up with the demands of beef consumption.”

She’s referring to the huge amount of meat production that begins in the Amazon rainforest. Raising cattle for beef is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country. It accounts for 80 percent of deforestation.

Ane Alencar — the scientific director of Brazilian NGO IPAM (Institute of Environmental Research in Amazonia) — made similar comments. “These are not wildfires, but rather fires set by people seeking to create cattle ranches, intentionally ignited during the dry season each year. They cut the trees, leave the wood to dry and later put fire to it, so that the ashes can fertilize the soil,” Alencar explained.

As well as creating fire hazards, deforestation has a severe impact on climate change. Trees store greenhouses gases like carbon dioxide and cutting them down not only halts their production of oxygen, but releases these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Deforestation is responsible for 10 percent of global emissions.

Campaign group Moving Animals has launched a campaign in response to the Amazon fire, urging universities to ban beef. Moving Animals co-founder Paul Healey commented, “Beef is one of the most destructive foods for our planet – and claims the lives of millions of cows every year. Just this month the UN declared that we must move away from consuming beef and instead adopt more plant-based diets if we are to fight climate catastrophe.”

It’s not the first time the United Nations has highlighted the meat industry’s impact on the planet. In September, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said, “Our use of animals as a food-production technology has brought us to the verge of catastrophe,” also naming meat “the world’s most urgent problem.”

“The greenhouse gas footprint of animal agriculture rivals that that of every car, truck, bus, ship, airplane, and rocket ship combined,” UNEP said. “There is no pathway to achieve the Paris climate objectives without a massive decrease in the scale of animal agriculture.”

‘The Single Biggest Way to Reduce Your Impact’

The meat industry isn’t the only culprit. Palm oil production is also a driver of deforestation in the Amazon. Between 2005 and 2011, around 7,000 hectares of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon were converted into oil palm plantations.

The link between palm oil, animal agriculture, and environmental destruction can be difficult to discuss. People in Brazil rely on these industries for their livelihood, and this fact can’t be ignored. However, considering the increasing urgency of the issue — and the devastating potential of climate change — most agree that we need to work toward sustainable solutions.

A plant-based diet is increasingly recognized as the kindest to the planet. Research published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition outlined that a meat-eater’s diet uses up 17 times more land than a vegetarian’s.

The most comprehensive analysis of farming’s impact on the planet ever completed — published in the journal Science — found that 80 percent of the planet’s total farmland is used to rear livestock. Beef production requires 36 times more land — and generates six times more greenhouse gas emissions — than the production of peas.

The researchers concluded that if everyone on Earth went vegan, global farmland use would drop by 75 percent. The study’s lead researcher Joseph Poore commented that adopting a vegan diet is “the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use.”

“It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he added. “Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems. Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this.”

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:35 am

Big lifestyle changes needed to cut emissions

People must use less transport, eat less red meat and buy fewer clothes if the UK is to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the government's chief environment scientist has warned

Prof Sir Ian Boyd said the public had little idea of the scale of the challenge from the so-called Net Zero emissions target.

However, he said technology would help.

The conundrum facing the UK - and elsewhere - was how we shift ourselves away from consuming, he added.

In an interview with BBC News, Sir Ian warned that persuasive political leadership was needed to carry the public through the challenge.

Asked whether Boris Johnson would deliver that leadership, he declined to comment.

Mr Johnson has already been accused by environmentalists of talking up electric cars whilst reputedly planning a cut in driving taxes that would increase emissions and undermine the electric car market.

Sir Ian said polluting activities should incur more tax. He believes the Treasury should reform taxation policy to reward people with low-carbon lifestyles and nudge heavy consumers into more frugal patterns of behaviour.

It was vital, he said, for the changes to be fair to all parts of society.

He also believes Net Zero won't happen unless the government creates a Net Zero ministry to vet the policies of all government departments in the way the Brexit ministry vets Brexit-related decisions.

Emissions won't be reduced to Net Zero while ministers are fixed on economic growth measured by GDP, instead of other measures such as environmental security and a relatively stable climate, he argued.

Asked why the UK should take the lead when China's emissions are so high, he answered that the Chinese government was very worried about the climate and was taking it very seriously.

Sir Ian, a polar expert with a chair in biology at St Andrews University, suggested that the UK was in a good position to show the world how to achieve Net Zero. But he agreed that similar radical action was ultimately needed by all nations.

He said that on broader issues the government had produced (or was in the process of producing) impressive strategies on the environment, waste, air pollution, marine and food.

Some ministers were enthusiastic to translate these into firm strategies, but they needed support from the public, he said. He confessed that he was not optimistic about the future of the planet because so many systems of government needed to change in a short time.

Sir Ian, who leaves Defra on Thursday after six years in post, said: "The way we live our lives is generally not good for the environment.

"We like to consume things, but the more we consume the more we absorb the resources of the planet.

"That means we have to grow those resources or we have to mine them - and in doing that we generate waste. And consumption is going up all the time.

"(There's) a conundrum - how do we shift ourselves from consuming? We need to do more about learning to live sustainably. We talk about sustainability but we don't really know what it means.

"We need to make major technological advances in the way we use and reuse materials but we (also) need to reduce demand overall - and that means we need to change our behaviours and change our lifestyles.

"We certainly won't be able to travel so much as we have in the past, so we have to get used to using modern communications methods.

"Moving material round the planet will be more difficult so we'll have to do more with 3D printing; that sort of thing.

"We've got to reduce demand to a much greater extent than we have in the past, and if we don't reduce demand we're not going to reduce emissions.

"Emissions are a symptom of consumption and unless we reduce consumption we'll not reduce emissions.

"It will very rarely come down to a direct message like 'sorry, you can't buy that but you can buy this'. But there will be stronger messages within the (tax) system that make one thing more attractive than the other."

He said UK government strategies were in place on air, environment, resources, waste, marine, and food. "[Ministers] need to be persuasive."

Asked if he was optimistic about the future of the planet, he said: “We have the intelligence to do it; we have the potential to develop the technologies to do it… I’m doubtful that we have the governance structures to make it happen at the speed it needs to happen at."

I understand that the Confederation of British Industry, the CBI, accept there will have to be behavioural change to meet Net Zero.

A source in the organisation said they were frustrated that government climate policies were currently too weak.

Given the very broad nature of Sir Ian's comments, we approached Downing Street for a comment.

They declined and passed us back to Sir Ian's department, Defra. But their statement didn't address any of his key questions about governance, leadership and consumption.

It said: "The impact of climate change is clear and demands urgent action from countries around the world. The UK has already shown global leadership by becoming the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050 - but we know there is more to do.

"That's why we're reforming farming policy to reward environmental actions, reviewing our food system to ensure it is more sustainable, taking steps to accelerate tree-planting and peatland restoration, and introducing a flagship Environment Bill to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age."

Link to Article - Photos - Charts:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49499521
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