News in brief – articles from last few weeks

Owl in Christmas tree

A Georgia family cut down a tree and took it home, decorated it and left it in their house. Only a week after they had bought it did they noticed that there was an owl still living within the branches. It wouldn’t leave on its own so they had to call a rescue centre to help.

Australian Prime Minister continues climate change denial

Scott Morrison the Australian Prime Minister continues his climate change denial despite the unprecedented heat waves hitting Australia. They have recently made climate protest punishable by up to 21 years in jail ( more than most get for murder). He suggested that as as Australia only emits 1.3% of the Worlds carbon dioxide they are irrelevant. This is despite the fact that coal extraction will have increased by 95% between 2005 and 2030. Australia may be a Small Part of the world’s economy but it is similar to Russia and is certainly not irrelevant and must pull its weight.

 At the same conference there were worst fights with the Australian delegation as Scott Morrison is keen to use a loophole by using their are extra carbon reductions in the past to offset their lack of carbon reduction in the future. The extra cuts are from the Kyoto agreement, and most people argue that these were euro unduly lenient and so should not give Australia future credit to not meet their targets now.

UK fossil fuel electricity generation Has Fallen to its lowest level ever

In the last year the amount of electricity generated by why renewable sources has risen above that generated by gas for the first time. Renewable sources generated 38.9% of the country’s electricity while gas only generated 38.8%. Coal which is more dirty than gas it’s been reduced to only 1% in the third Quarter and only 2.5% over the year. Wind generated so much electricity the thousands of people were paid plug in their electric cars or run their dishwashers overnight to use the excess power.

Despite Trump’s attack on reducing carbon emissions, America is doing so

Despite Trump’s stupid behaviour pulling America out of the Paris agreement, such a large portion of America’s economy has said they are still in the carbon emissions have fallen anyway. At the recent global meeting in Madrid, although trump did not feel it was important enough to be there there were many other representatives from America outside the government and they are determined to fulfill America’s pledges despite Trump’s behaviour.

The population of jaguars living on a Small Island off the coast of Brazil has learnt to catch fish from the sea

A small island about 3 miles off the coast of Brazil appears to have almost become a nursery for jaguars. However what was a standing is that they have been seen jumping into the sea to catch fish. They have been observed catching fish in the Brazilian pantanal but this is totally different swimming out in open water. It is wonderful to see these large predators are able to be this adaptable in the face of lack of food on land. They have been found both fishing in in rock pools and mangrove pools on the coast, but also leaping into the water and catching them free swimming. Fish appears to form a large portion of their diet.

Andrew Wheeler and the American EPA has not been able to continue it’s foolish move to reduce CO2 emission standards on cars

One of the first things that the trump administration did when coming to power is to reverse tightening rules on the amount of carbon emissions cars are allowed to create. It was a stupid move in many respects: any parts of the world of demanding these cuts and car companies are not going to make hiring missing cars just for America. The fact that the government is also suing California for having more stringent requirements seems a bit contradictory. They sued on the 17th of September, this change in stance may be partly down to the countersuit filed by California and 23 are the states. 

The main argument from Andrew Wheeler and the EPA is that the changes the Obama administration  in reducing carbon emissions, would require expensive further work my car manufacturers and that therefore they would charge more. This has been proved to be rubbish, competition keeps prices relatively low- so the move actually saves people money as they have to pay less to fuel their car during it’s life.

Fighting to save the tapanuli orangutan is becoming dangerous

A dam has been planned that will submerge around 90% of their habitat. Critics of the dam, bizarrely earning carbon credits, ( it will be a carbon polluter given the large amounts of methane it will give off because of the forest it will submerge) have faced defamation charges, had visits from intelligence officers and had their right to work in Indonesia removed. Several other high-profile activists have died in suspicious circumstances, and the government’s explanation has usually left a lot to be desired. One hopes that the Indonesian government will change direction: it is possible to greatly increase the economy without destroying the environment. Furthermore with careful work money from can be greatly increased giving an income to people living in remote areas which will not benefit from much of the economic changes the government are wanting to bring in.

Trump kills EV tax credit scheme

Trump was determined to end the tax credits given to people who buy electric cars. Despite the fact that this helps America cut it’s carbon emissions and therefore likely saved some money in the long run Trump is determined to end it. This is despite an attempt by the other parties to give him some of the other things he wants in return for saving the program. Apparently the Republican view is that this program only benefits rich Californians (California is relatively strongly democrat). 

Firstly,  they should remember that these people are Americans too. Furthermore closing the program now means that other less rich Americans will have to pay more to de-carbonise.

Secondly, they should realise that generally reducing carbon emissions has such a large impact on health in the populations that even in a situation where people have to pay for their health care privately it’s still benefits the entire economy.

The tax credits have allowed companies like Tesla to get going and have given companies like GM a boost to keep going through difficult times. Also given that these credits are only for the first couple of 100000 cars they have a clear end. This is not true for the roughly 20 billion dollars worth of fossil fuel subsidies each year. Complaints that the EV subsidies are too high or should have ended years ago forget that the fossil fuel industry still takes huge subsidies 200 years after it was formed. How can this double standard not be noticed by more politicians.

A recent study in the UK has shown that cattle are at least twice as likely to catch TB from other cattle than from badgers

A study has shown  that while badgers are 10 times more likely to give TB to Cattle that cattle are too badges, cattle are more than 2 times as likely to get the illness from other cattle. While this study has only been done in one area, and so more research is needed to make sure that this finding is repeated elsewhere. However if this research is true we need to change how we are trying to deal with TB in cattle.

There has been a great deal of fight against control of where and how cattle are moved or bought and sold. That would have to end. If this finding is found to be the same in other areas, biosecurity when moving animals between different places will become the Llikely main point of infection.

45000 cattle were killed last year ear to halt the spread of TB, a figure 50% higher than in 2005. Half a billion pounds has been spent fighting TB since 1996.

The study looked at over 100 badges and over 100 cattle in an area in Gloucestershire, testing for the illness and looking at when and how they could have interacted.

The lead author stated that the study did not look at how killing badgers would impact the spread of the illness, however given the quantity of infection species to species rather than cross species it was clear that the first priority should be stopping cattle giving the illness to other cattle, as this should be simpler and quicker how to solve and will have a far bigger impact.

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