United Kingdom & Europe- Nov 24
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Green-basher Boris relaunches himself as an eco-warrior
Geoffrey Lean, The Independent
Cripes! Boris Johnson, one of Britain's least environmentally friendly politicians, will this week relaunch himself as a green champion.
In his maiden green speech, which aides are billing as "extremely substantial" and "a milestone event", London's Mayor – who used to denounce "eco-moralists" for spouting "mumbo-jumbo"– is to announce his intention to make the city the eco-capital of the world.
The man who compared fear of global warming to a "Stone Age religion", and poured scorn on renewable energy, has decided that he wants to make the capital "the world's leading city in delivering carbon reductions and capturing the benefits of the new energy economy"...
(23 November 2008)
King coal wins battle of Smalley
Martin Wainwright , The Guardian
The Battle of Smalley seems to be over on the face of it, with king coal triumphant in the Derbyshire countryside where DH Lawrence set his passionate meetings between Lady Chatterley and her gamekeeper Mellors.
Their trysts would be noisy, dusty and exposed to dozens of opencast workers if they met today in the valley below Smalley village, where UK Coal is about to spend four years slicing out out 1,000,000 new tonnes.
"Yes, we've lost this round, because the government's let us down," said Neil Paget of Smalley Action Group. "But the war isn't over. Far from it."
Instead of dumping their banners daubed with "No more Coal" and "Save our Planet" by Neil's children Hannah, 9, and Tom, 8, the group is merging with others north of Derby and Nottingham — and across other opencasting target areas — to tackle coal companies nationwide...
(23 November 2008)
Power in the desert: solar towers will harness sunshine of southern Spain
Alok Jha, The Guardian
In the desert of southern Spain, 20 miles outside Seville, more than 1,000 mirrors are being carefully positioned. Each is about half the size of a tennis court, so the adjustments will take time. But when they are complete in a few weeks, it will mark a major moment in the quest for renewable energy.
The mirrors are part of the world's biggest solar tower plant, a technology that reflects sunlight to superheat water at a central tower. Once this €80m (£67m) plant is inaugurated in January, it will generate 20MW of electricity, enough to power 11,000 Spanish homes.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, as it is known, is seen by many as a simpler, cheaper and more efficient way to harness the sun's energy than other methods such as photovoltaic (PV) panels. But CSP only works in places with clear skies and strong sunshine.
The Andalucian deserts are an ideal location, and Spain hopes the PS20 plant will enable it to take advantage of its huge solar resource and lead the field in CSP technology...
(24 November 2008)