Archive for The Independent
e360.yale.edu 13th December 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Russian scientists sampling the waters of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf have discovered enormous plumes of methane, some more than a kilometer wide, bubbling up from the thawing seabed. Igor Semiletov, an oceanographer from the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said a research cruise late this summer detected more than 100 of these extensive methane “fountains” in an area of less than 10,000 square miles. Semiletov, who has been studying the region’s seabed for 20 years, said the scale and volume of the plumes far surpasses anything he had seen previously and could indicate that slushy methane hydrates on the seabed are thawing at an intensifying rate as Arctic Ocean ice disappears and sea temperatures rise. In 2010, Semiletov estimated that the emissions of methane — a powerful heat-trapping gas — bubbling from the seabed in this region were about 8 million tons a year, but he said the recent expedition has shown that methane releases could be far higher. “We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale,” Lemiletov told the UK’s Independent newspaper. Scientists fear that continued warming of the Arctic could release so much methane that the global climate could pass a tipping point and be pushed into an era of rapid warming.’
www.independent.co.uk 15th June 2011
The Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has ruled out moves to reduce the 10 million tons of packaging used in the UK each year. Among the plans to reduce the enormous amount of waste produced by the country were a tax on plastic bags, ‘stricter targets on manufacturers’ use of raw materials’, and a bottle deposit scheme that would save councils tens of millions. They were all dropped due to opposition from retailers. In regard to the bottle deposit scheme, which works wonderfully in countries such as Germany, customers would be charged 15p extra on bottles under 500ml and 30p for those over. The extra money would be paid back when the bottle was returned to the store giving an incentive to recycle. David Cameron initially supported the plan last year but it was turned down by the Department of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) due to ‘uncertainties’ about the benefits of the scheme when weighed up against others. Industry opposition also made things difficult. The Campaign to Protect Rural England, who have spear-headed the bottle deposit scheme, have estimated that the money saved from such a scheme will easily outweigh costs. £700 million would be needed to run the program but £160 million would be saved from council recycling, £69 million from reduced carbon emissions, and £1.2 billion from economic and environmental benefits of less litter.
www.independent.co.uk 13th May 2011
The Independent newspapers campaign to ban the use of animals in circuses seems to have lost a bit of momentum due to worried politicians. The campaign has passed 15,000 signatories in the space of a week but a crucial Commons Question Time yesterday (Thursday 12th May) saw Mr Paice, the animal welfare minister, express his doubts about whether a ban would actually be legal. He cited the example of the Austrian government who had been taken to court over a similar ban. “Our government can hardly recommend something that might not be legal,” he said when tackled on the issue by Labour frontbencher Gavin Shuker MP. Mr Paice’s words brought angry criticism from animal right’s groups with David Bowles, director of communications at the RSPCA, saying, “The RSPCA is furious that the Government appear to have done a complete U-turn on the issue of whether wild animals are to be banned in circuses. The UK hiding behind a challenge to the Austrian government ban is a complete red herring as the European commission have said they are happy with bans on use of wild animals in member states.” The Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are also behind the ban.
www.independent.co.uk 7th May 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Thousands of people have backed The Independent’s call for a ban on wild animals performing in circuses. As we revealed yesterday, Downing Street is understood to have blocked advanced plans by the Department for Environment for a ban. Almost 3,000 readers signed our online petition, while hundreds more left messages of support on the social networking site Twitter and our website. Among the comments on Twitter was “animals belong in the wild, not in the circus”. Around 20 animals perform in British circuses, including five tigers. All three circuses which use them – the Great British Circus, Peter Jolly’s and Circus Mondao – say the animals are well cared for by their trainers. Animal welfare groups and vets say enclosures are smaller than those in zoos, constant travel and performances in front of loud crowds make wild animals unsuitable for the big top. Their suspicions the Government would not agree a ban intensified last month when it failed to announce one during the row about pictures showing Anne the elephant being beaten at Bobby Roberts Super Circus. Virginia McKenna, who played the conservationist Joy Adamson in the film Born Free, said: “If the Government hasn’t thought it through, the public has – more than nine out of ten of us say a resounding no to the continued exploitation of wild animals in circuses in the name of so-called ‘entertainment’.”
To sign The Independent’s petition, visit independent.co.uk/circusanimals.
How to enter Write an essay of between 1,500 and 2,000 words on the subject of “The Future of England’s Forests”. Email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on 25 March 2011.
The prize A prize of £5,000 will be awarded to the writer of the essay which the judging panel considers the best.
The judges The judging panel will comprise Michael McCarthy, The Independent’senvironment editor; Oliver Rackham, academic and author of such works as The History of the Countryside and Woodlands; and Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth and senior executive at the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. The judges’ decision is final on all matters. No correspondence will be entered into.
Notification and publication The winner will be notified by email before 18 April. The winning entry will be published in The Independent (subject to meeting editorial standards).
Terms and conditions For general terms and conditions see www.independent.co.uk/legal