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Environment

Climate change – all talk but little action

Rio 2016

The urgent need to address climate change was in the news last week.  Global temperature records continue to fall, with 2016 shaping up to be the hottest year on record; with every chance of exceeding the 1.5°C upper limit agreed by world leaders in Paris less than a year ago.  …

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The chink in the left’s climate change armour?

Nuclear power

For the best part of 40 years, the climate debate has split across a broadly left (liberal)/right (conservative) divide in which the left argue that we need urgent action to prevent runaway global warming while the right questions the validity of the evidence.  Meanwhile, businesses and households carry on with …

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Trump more progressive than UK government on fracking?

Donald Trump

US Republican candidate Donald Trump has been widely attacked for his environmental credentials; including his professed support for the fracking industry.  However, in an interview for 9News Trump has set out a position that is more democratic than the current policy position of the UK government. While thousands of protestors …

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Siberia feels the earth move

Methane Release

Enormous gas bubbles trapped underground are causing areas of grass in Siberia to tremble like trampolines, according to Jess Staufenberg in the Independent: “Methane gas, which is twice as potent as carbon dioxide in warming the Earth’s atmosphere and is usually locked beneath permafrost, is reportedly being released as warmer …

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Global climate records continue to break

Hot sun

The World Meteorological Organisation has warned that the first six months of 2016 have seen several climate records broken: “Arctic sea ice melted early and fast, another indicator of climate change. Carbon dioxide levels, which are driving global warming, have reached new highs.” Carbon dioxide concentrations have now passed the …

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A chink of light in an otherwise dark decision?

DECC closure

After a brief eight year lifespan, the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is no more.  An early casualty of Teresa May’s reshuffle, energy is handed to Greg Clarke – who has previously supported fracking while opposing wind power – and the climate change brief has been handed to …

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Cloud changes could spell bad news

Clouds

Storm clouds have been getting bigger and moving closer to the poles according to Carolyn Gramling in Science: “Since the 1980s, the world has gotten cloudier toward the poles and less cloudy in the midlatitudes; towering thunderclouds have also gotten a bit taller. “Those patterns matched three rather dire climate …

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Next Deepwater Horizon only a matter of time

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response

There is a reason why deep water oil drilling is thought of as a frontier industry.  Drilling through 2.5 miles of rock located beneath just short of a mile (5,100 feet) of water really is at the frontier of our current technology.  At those depths, necessarily working with remote robot …

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The rich are not immune from climate change

Epidemic

The biggest obstacle to tackling runaway climate change is that while prevention involves the richest people in the richest countries giving up their unsustainable lifestyles, the impacts of climate change have been falling largely on the shoulders of the poorest people in the poorest countries. Delegates at a two day …

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Fracking incompatible with climate targets

Fracking well

A new report by the Committee on Climate Change – an independent scientific body that advises the UK government – has warned that hydraulically fractured shale gas is incompatible with the UK government’s self-imposed target of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. According to Tereza Pultarova in Engineering …

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