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Climate - April 1

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Anger as UK's carbon dioxide emissions reach 10-year high

Michael McCarthy, UK Independent
A six-million-tonne question mark was placed over Britain's climate change strategy yesterday with the release of figures showing that UK greenhouse gas emissions, which the Government has pledged to cut radically, are actually soaring.

Emissions of the principal greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from power stations, motor vehicles and homes, amounted to 560.6 million tonnes last year, 6.4 million tonnes higher than the 2005 figure. The increase of 1.15 per cent means that Britain's emissions are now at the highest level since Labour came to power a decade ago, nearly 3 per cent above 1997.

The disclosure, which seems to be a stark illustration that Britain's climate strategy is not working, despite all the pronouncements of Tony Blair and his ministers, was greeted with concern in Whitehall and with anger and scorn by environmentalists and opposition politicians. They said the Government was clearly not on course to meet its targets of cutting CO2 by 30 per cent by 2020 and 60 per cent by the middle of the century. (It has already admitted it will not meet its long-standing target of a 20 per cent cut by 2010.)
(30 March 2007)
Also at Common Dreams.


Understanding and Evaluating Carbon Offset Programs

Ellen Simon, Associated Press
.. If you decide to buy offsets, you face a confusing array of choices, including for-profit companies.

"We don't have enough information and enough faith in them at this moment to steer the public and say, 'Here's what you ought to do,'" said Bruce Hamilton, deputy executive director of the Sierra Club, a conservation organization.

The Tufts University Climate Initiative, which runs Tufts' efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to levels prescribed by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, examined offset schemes in a January paper.

"As is to be expected with new business opportunities, the quality and standards of voluntary offset companies vary widely -- or as one of our reviewers put it: 'It's the Wild West!'" the paper begins. ..
(28 Mar 2007)


Global Warming May Be Bad for Asthma Sufferers

Alister Doyle, Reuters
OSLO -- Global warming may be bad for asthma sufferers because of longer plant growing seasons and signs that weeds scattering vast amounts of pollen are conquering new territory, experts say.

But higher temperatures might bring benefits for some sufferers because house mites and viruses that thrive in winter in centrally heated homes will not flourish if people do not need to use their heat systems.

By spring, pollen has been in the air for months in the northern hemisphere even in countries where snows bring a winter respite from coughing and wheezing for allergics.
In south Sweden, for instance, hazel trees have been flowering since December. ..
(26 Mar 2007)

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