ANOTHER PLANET

The UN’s weather agency has reported that CO2 levels in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2010. Concentrations of CO2 increased by 2.3 parts per million between 2009 and 2010, more than the average annual rise in the entire last decade. Methane levels are also rising along with Nitrous Oxide levels, as are HFCs brought in to replace CFCs, banned because of their damaging effect on the ozone layer. Carbon levels have risen by 39% since the beginning of the industrial era to a new high of 389 ppm according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

The International Energy Agency has said that a global investment drive in clean energy is required within 5 years otherwise new power plants, cars, buildings and factories risk tipping the planet into catastrophic climate change. But the Agency’s chief economist Fatih Birol said that there seemed little appetite for governments to tackle the issue as global economic problems took priority. The Agency says that without firm action by 2017, locked in CO2 emissions will cause global temperature rises of at least 2C.

Here’s a good idea: The Liter of Light project installs £1 bulbs powered by water and sunlight for homes in poorer countries. The sun’s rays are harnessed by the bottle bulb – designed by students at the Massachusetts Institute of  Technology and first used in the Philippines – and create a 50W glow in the room below. They are useful, cheap, safe, and over 10,000 have been installed so far.

John Cridland, Director general of the CBI said this about Government plans to cut subsidies for home generated solar energy (Feed In Tarifffs): “Moving the goalposts doesn’t just destroy projects and jobs. It creates a mood of uncertainty that puts off investors.

The case for man made golbal warming is more compelling than ever after scientists at the Climate Research Unit and the University of East Anglia undertook a major re-analysis of global climate records including data from hundreds of new  Russian weather stations – most over the last 40 years but some going back to the 19th century.

Delegates from 193 countries will meet at the 17th UN Climate Change Conference at the end of November and early December  looking for a ‘pathway’ to lower carbon emissions, a fund to help poorer countries deal with climate change and protection against deforestation. Most smaller nations effected by climate change believe that the bigger i western nations have given up on green as they fight to protect their economies.

The UK will soon see the launch of the World’s first wine bottle – made out of paper. With the UK set to run out of landfill space in seven (7) years the bottle’s makers claim it is compostable and decomposes in weeks – and much lighter than glass bottles – costing less carbon to produce and transport.  The paper bottle will have an inner sleeve similar to wine boxes to protect the wine. Manufacturer Greenbottle already produce a paper milk bottles.

Is it Spring? Is it Autumn? Is it Summer. With people sunbathing on Brighton beach in mid-November in the UK, who knows – certainly not nature.  And now scientists are worried that plants and animals are getting seriously confused by our odd weather with strawberries fruiting, frogs mating, tomatoes ripening and butterflies flitting around. “Autumn has been a bit weird” said a spokesperson for the Woodland Trust!

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