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Chateau China, a taste of wines to come with climate change

James Meikle, The Guardian
Fine Indian varieties, offshore floating wines and bees trained to sniff bad corks are among predictions for the future of wine-making as the effects of climate change transform the ancient industry.

Analysts say extreme droughts will leave Australia too hot and arid to remain a high-volume wine-maker, with China expected to become one of the world’s biggest producers. Countries such as Russia, Croatia, Poland, Ukraine and Slovenia could become international players, and southern Canada is likely to rival the United States while Mexico and Brazil follow the lead of Chile and Argentina.

The Future of Wine report, drawn up by leading wine merchants Berry Brothers and Rudd to speculate on the state of the industry in 50 years, includes familiar optimism about English sparkling wines – on the condition that British drinkers support local vineyards.
(9 May 2008)

Britons wasting £10bn worth of food a year, research says

James Meikle, Guardian
Britons are throwing away £10bn worth of food that could be eaten each year, £2bn more than estimates have previously suggested, a government-funded programme to cut waste reveals today.

The average household, ranging from a single older person to a group of students, is chucking out £420 of such food each year and the sum rises to £610 for the average family with children.

About £6bn of the wasted annual food budget is food that is bought but never touched – including 13m unopened yoghurt pots, 5,500 chickens and 440,000 ready meals dumped in home rubbish bins each day. The rest is food prepared or cooked for meals but never eaten because people have misjudged how much was needed and don’t eat the leftovers.

The complete £10bn consists of food that could have been eaten, not including peeling and bones, the researchers say. Tackling the waste could mean a huge reduction in CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking one in five cars off the road.
(8 May 2008)

Oxfam’s Kripke discusses escalating debate over RFS, impact of food prices on world’s poor
Monica Trauzzi, OnPoint, E&E TV
With many members of Congress pushing for last year’s renewable fuels standard to be reconsidered, attention over rising food prices, and their link to biofuels production is at an all-time high.

During today’s OnPoint, Gawain Kripke, policy director at Oxfam America gives his take on whether the RFS should be frozen or rolled back. Kripke discusses the role speculation of corn and biofuels futures is playing in the pricing of food.

On the international front, he explains the legal barriers standing in the way of food aide being allocated appropriately and discusses what steps governments should be taking to ensure that biofuels production provides market opportunities and stimulates agricultural sectors. Kripke also discusses testimony he gave at a recent House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee hearing.
(8 May 2008)