UK & Europe - Jan 2
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UK: We're wasting too much water
Juliette Jowit, The Guardian
Nearly half of the population in England and Wales now live in areas of "water stress" where supply might not keep up with demand - a problem usually associated with parched regions such as north Africa and the Middle East.
The huge pressure on water supplies from large and wealthy populations in areas with relatively low rainfall is detailed in the most comprehensive report yet on the state of water resources by the Environment Agency.
(29 December 2008)
Green revolution stalls on cheap oil
Terry Macalister, Guardian
Low oil prices and the credit crunch are threatening to stall the green revolution. The value of crude has dropped from a summer high of nearly $150 a barrel to below $40, taking the wind out of the sails of turbine manufacturers and others trying to build low-carbon alternatives.
Jeremy Leggett, founder and executive chairman of Solarcentury, says: "Talk of the death of renewables is premature but clearly big solar farms and wind projects are being cancelled. Everything is suffering in the current climate but its my contention that the low oil price is a temporary thing and the growth of renewables will resume."
... Martin Wright, managing director of Marine Current Turbines, says no one should expect oil and gas prices to stay low. "Vladimir Putin has already said the era of cheap gas is over and no one knows when peak oil really will come about. So we can expect enormous price volatility, which all points to the need for Britain to develop an independent low-carbon alternative."
(1 January 2009)
Farming pesticide ban 'too far too fast'
Geoff Meade, The Independent
A ban on the use of key pesticides in European farming goes too far too fast, it was warned today.
The proposal has already been condemned by the National Farmers Union as risking a doubling in the price of vegetables.
Now, as the European Parliament prepares for a crucial vote on the issue, an MEP says practical alternatives to some vital chemicals currently in use have not yet been fully developed.
The controversial ban is due to be approved in Strasbourg on 13 January.
(2 January 2009)