ANOTHER PLANET?

6769_dolphins_1_460x230In Peru,  fishermen are slaughtering up to 15,000 dolphins every year — for bait to catch endangered sharks.  Now Avaaz is fighting to end this nightmare. Dolphin hunting is already illegal and punishable with several years in prison, but authorities in Peruare turning a blind eye — allowing thousands of dolphins and sharks to be butchered. That said, the government in Peru cares a lot about Peru’s international reputation, especially for tourism, and if we can make them feel embarrassed with a massive global campaign, we are sure they’ll start taking action to end the massacre.  Avaaaz are looking to deliver a million signatures from all over the world to the government of Peru: Avaaz will place ads in tourism magazines in countries where most of  tourists to Peru come from – and the government won’t be able to ignore us! Help stop the brutal slaughter by signing now:  http://www.avaaz.org/en/dolphin_hunt_peru/?bWaAcdb&v=33685.

Sea Shepherd has accused a Japanese whaling fleet of killing four minke whales in protected waters – an internationally designated whale sanctuary in the Southern Ocean. The hunt was confirmed by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully. The Japanese fleet whales in the name of scientific research – although whale meat ends up on commercial markets. It caught 103 whales last year, down from 267 in 2012 and 681 in 2009 according to the Japan Fisheries Agency. It had an annual target in 2013 of 1,000 whales.

China has destroyed more than six tonnes of ivory ornaments worth over £7 million in an unexpected stand against poachers and smugglers. The move took place in Dongguan, a notorious ivory trading hub.

In Japan, Sushi restaurateur Kiyoshi Kimura has paid 7.36 million yen (£43,000) for a 230Kg blue fin tuna at the first auction of the year. Last year he bid £900,000 for a similar sized fish. Worldwide consumption of blue fin is leading to its rapid decline and over 90% are caught before they can reproduce.  Japan eats about 80% of the catch. 1,729 fish were sold at the auction.

windturbines_300UK Ministers will have to cut subsidies to the UK wind farm sector under pressure from the European Commission – the Commission has also told the UK to cut support for solar energy by the end of the decade. Government subsidies means that the UK pays four times as much for energy generated by wind (£95 MWh) compared to Brazil which has an open market. The Duke of Gloucester is brining a landmark case to allow him to erect for giant wind turbines on his own land. Barnwell Manor Wind Energy wants to build four 400ft-high turbines – opposed by English Heritage and East Northamptonshire Council who won a High Court decision blocking the move in March 2013 claiming the development would blight unspoilt Elizabethan countryside and overshadow Lyvden new Bield, a Grade 1 listed lodge. The Court of Appeal will now decide the matter.

As the USA shivered in temperatures of up to -50C, the UK has had the wettest December for two decades, the worst storms seen in a lifetime and extensive flooding: Sir David King, the government’s special envoy on climate change has warned that the UK needs to spend much more on flood defences – potentially doubling spending to £1 billion a year by 2020 to meet the challenges of climate change with storms and flooding far more likely to happen than 100 years ago. The storms on the UK have claimed three lives so far in 2014.The only good news is that Britain’s wind farms are expected to generate a record amount of energy – up to 6.4GW during each half hour during the storms – enough to power 6 million homes.

UK energy regulator Ofgem has said ‘it can’t find out the truth on energy prices’ and how and if energy companies are ripping off customers because energy markets lack transparency. Labour had accused the energy companies of artificially inflating wholesale energy prices. The energy companies will have to pay customers in Southern England who lost electricity supplies over Christmas due to the severe weather £75 in compensation. Scottish & Southern Energy said it would pay customers £54 for homes that lost power for up to 48 hours  and then £54 for each further full 12 hour period – with a payment of £75 for Christmas Day.

The classic light bulb is getting a make over – the new Philips SlimStyle a new flat design that makes it more sturdy, easier to fit and it lasts for over 20 years. The LED bulb gives out light equivalent to a 60W traditional bulb and does not flicker, uses less energy and does not shatter.

Only one in ten drivers involved in accidents that kill cyclists ever go to prison. Between 2010 and 2012 40 cyclists were killed on the roads in London but only four of those convicted for the deaths went to prison.  24 cases never even made it to court. British Cycling and the Green party are asking for a review of the justice system.

OThe UK’s Environment secretary, Owen Paterson, has said that Developers could be allowed to destroy ancient woodlands if they agree to plant ‘offset’ woodland  to replace the trees which would be felled to provide land for new housing. The ‘biodiversity offsetting’ might mean 100 new trees are planted for every tree felled – but groups such as the Woodland Trust have warned that the move would sweep away cherished woodlands and that it would be impossible to recreate mature woodlands in anyone’s lifetime. The Government abandoned plans to sell 250,000 hectares of publicly owned woodland in 2011 after more than half a million people signed a petition opposing the sale.

London Marine, a British mineral company, is trying to attract Chinese and other international investment to build a £1.5 billion iron ore mine just outside the Arctic Circle in Greenland according to the Times.

Edie.net reports that the United Nations (UN) has been urged to be “bold, courageous and provocative” when mapping out its vision for a sustainable future for humanity. The UN is currently planning a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will include action to tackle poverty, disease, environmental degradation and promote sustainable economic growth between now and 2030. Calling for a long-term “master plan”, May East, the chief executive of Edinburgh based UN sustainability agency CIFAL Scotland, told members of the UN Trusteeship Council in New York that a radical new approach was needed to manage the effects of urbanisation.

UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) is investing in a new £250m energy recovery centre to be built in Teesside. GIB will invest £20m in the facility, which will convert more than 420,000 tonnes of residual waste into energy each year, and will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 60,000 homes each year.  It will also save more than 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, equivalent to the annual emissions of 780,000 cars.

Nissan has confirmed that its 100% electric taxi – the e-NV200 – will hit the streets of London in 2015 speeding up efforts to help the city meet 2020 pollution targets. Introducing the new taxi next year, the vehicle will be years ahead of the Mayor’s 2020 target for the development of a zero-emissions taxi and will complement the low greenhouse gas emitting NV200, launching this year.

scotlandNew rules on recycling waste have come into force for Scottish businesses. The Waste (Scotland) Regulations require waste to be separated into paper, card, plastic, metals and glass for collection.  All food businesses producing more than 50kg of food waste each week must present it for separate collection, unless they are in a rural area. Those failing to comply with the new laws from 1 January risk a maximum fine of £10,000.  The Scottish government, with its agency Zero Waste Scotland, recommends businesses should audit waste to see where most of it comes from, and contact their waste contractors about how best to arrange separate collections.

prototype shower system has been developed that claims to offer massive water and energy savings by recycling water while you wash. The OrbSys Shower – the brainchild of Swedish designer Mehrdad Mahdjoubi – operates on a closed loop system by purifying hot wastewater from the tap once it hits the drains and recycling it back into water of a drinking quality standard, before pumping it back up to the showerhead.  As the process is quick, the water remains hot and only needs to be reheated very slightly. According to Mahdjoubi, there is no compromise in water pressure while in operation and the system can save more than 90% water and 80% energy while you wash.

And finally – new climate models taking greater account of cloud changes indicates heating will be at higher end of expectations. Temperature rises resulting from unchecked climate change will be at the severe end of those projected, according to a new scientific study led by Professor Steven Sherwood, at the University of New South Wales, in Australia who said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases were cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100, twice the level the world’s governments deem dangerous.

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