Another Planet

The Independent (11th April) ran an interesting two page spread on the plight of the Cerrado in Brazil – which is Brazil’s ‘upside down’ forest and outback which is under a far more serous threat than the Brazillian rain forests. This vast wilderness – as big as France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK combined, is a massive carbon sink but it is now being covered by field after field of soya beans – sold to the West to feed pigs and chicken to produce meat.  Now only 20% of the Cerrado remains, home to the blue and yellow Macaw, the maned wolf, the giant anteater, pampas deer, the tapir and the giant armadillo. Only 8% of the intact Cerrado savannah is protected and environmentalists are concerned that ever increasing demand for soya will destroy what is left.

UK financial giant Aviva is the best performer in a European list of the top 300 carbon emitters, according to a new ranking system.  Edie.net reports that The system rated Polish mining company KGHM in last place and claims for the first time to rank Europe’s 300 biggest companies according to their greenhouse gas emissions. The system was devised by Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO), a UK based independent non-profit research body, has today (April 26) complied the ET Europe 300 Carbon Ranking.  Nationally the ranking finds Spain and Italy the best for emissions reporting transparency with Switzerland and France lowest. Aviva was followed closely by Dutch financial services firm Aegon, The top three non-financial companies are Switzerland’s leading Telecoms provider Swisscom, followed by Nokia (11th) and BSkyB (13th).

The Boss of Solarcentury, the award winning solar business, has launched a scathing attack on the Government over cuts to Feed-In Tariffs (FITs).  Business leaders have claimed the current uncertainty around FITs has cost the UK around 90,000 jobs and Solarcentury chief executive Derry Newman, said:  ”The UK has the lowest solar ambitions of all major EU economies, less than 1% of our electricity is to be generated by solar by 2020” adding “The current uncertainty risks inhibiting recruitment in this highly skilled and innovative industry, and threatens existing employment. The industry, through campaign group ‘We Support Solar’ is asking the Government to restore confidence in solar and have much greater ambition in the fastest growing electricity generating technology in the world.”

The Eastern Southern States of the USA have suffered some extreme weather over the last few days with an unusual combination of cool air clashing with warm, humid weather and extreme winds at varying altitudes – igniting deadly tornadoes.  AccuWeather.com said more than 900 tornadoes had been reported since April 1st in an onslaught of “severe thunderstorms that has spawned flooding and deadly twisters in parts of the Midwest and Southeast”. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that at least 164 tornadoes tore across a region that stretched from Mississippi to Virginia, flattening homes, flipping over cars and leaving a trail of destruction. The tornadoes and storms killed at least 284 people. In Alabama, the governor declared a state of emergency for all counties. In Mississippi, a state of emergency was declared for 14 counties.

BP has said that it will resume drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico “within months” despite facing billions of dollars of settlements and penalties over the Deepwater horizon disaster – and the ongoing pollution and clean up operation in the area from the massive oil spill.

A new ‘eco-friendly’ service station has opened on the M6 near Preston in the UK. The site, at Brockholes at Junction 31, offers a bird hide, a floating ‘eco village’ and toilets flushed with lake water and an opportunity for motorists to ‘re-enage with nature’.

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