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Let’s save the planet before it’s too late

Published in the Portsmouth News on the 10th November 2015

Ray CRay Cobbett from Friends of the Earth Hampshire tells us about an upcoming environmental talks taking place in Paris

These UN-sponsored talks known as the Conference of Parties is the latest in a series going back to 1995 to set targets for cuts in green house gas emissions.

The good news is that countries responsible for the lion’s share of emissions such as China, India the US will come to the meeting with pledges to produce up to 40 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources.

Provided these pledges are redeemed the world’s temperatures should not, according to scientists, exceed 2.7 per cent above pre-industrial levels.

This is still too high to head off destructive global warming but at least it’s an improvement over no controls at all. Climate change is not an obscure branch of science but a global issue now embraced by leaders from Obama to the Pope, leading academics and chief executive officers of multinational corporations and even the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who described it as ‘a tragedy on the horizon’.

Despite these warnings the UK government continues to send out confusing signals by killing off several green measures.

These include scrapping solar and wind energy subsidies, dumping greener homes regulations, promoting fracking and investing in hugely subsidised and expensive French nuclear technology.

Friends of the Earth members from Hampshire and across Britain will join campaigners throughout the world in Paris to lobby for effective and lasting action to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The evidence of planetary stress is everywhere.

Song birds, small mammals and even insects have suffered significant population reductions while at sea marine life will be cut by half by 2050.

Biologists are deeply worried by the decline in habitat-rich coral caused through warming seas. Estimates show that since 1960 one third of the world’s arable land has been lost through erosion, development and degradation while over the same period world population has doubled.

The message could not be clearer.

Unless we act now our planet will no longer be able to provide sufficient water, clean air, food and safe places to live, leaving future generations facing a very hostile world.

For more information about Friends of the Earth Hampshire visit www.hantsfoenet.org.uk or call (02392) 351165

Earth's climate entering new 'permanent reality' as CO2 hits new high

Published on the Guardian website on 9th November 2015

UN experts urge immediate action to cut emissions as CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are on track to hit historic high, up 43% on pre-industrial times

Paris in Smog

Paris focus: Latest greenhouse gas warnings come just weeks before major global climate talks. Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images

The Earth’s climate will enter a new “permanent reality” from next year when concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are likely to pass a historic milestone, the head of the UN’s weather agency has warned.

The record concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were up 43% since pre-industrial times, said the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), prompting its secretary general Michel Jarraud to say immediate action was needed to cut CO2 emissions.

The WMO’s latest greenhouse gas bulletin comes just three weeks before world leaders including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping and David Cameron meet in Paris in a bid to reach a new deal on cutting emissions.

Continue reading Earth’s climate entering new ‘permanent reality’ as CO2 hits new high

With 90% of the UK’s ash trees about to be wiped out, could GM be the answer?

Published on the Guardian website on 31st October 2015

Scientists have proposed a radical solution to help trees develop resistance to ash dieback. But critics fear there could be unpredictable effects

Up Trees

Ash trees at Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey. The trees are under threat from ash dieback which could claim 90% of the UK ash population. Photograph: Stephen Simpson/Rex

Genetically modified ash trees could replace the 80 million expected to die in the next 20 years from a deadly fungus, scientists have proposed.

The radical solution to the greatest woodland disaster of the last 50 years is being explored by research teams at London and Oxford universities with backing from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, science bodies and the Forestry Commission.

Continue reading With 90% of the UK’s ash trees about to be wiped out, could GM be the answer?