British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government had failed to live to its promise to become the “greenest government ever” after the Environmental Audit Committee gave it a “red card” after its investigation of the government’s environmental efforts from 2010. The government scored very low on reducing emissions, managing invasive species and rising water levels.
According to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), the emissions of airborne pollutants had increased in 2013, a great rise from its stability in the previous years. The European Commission had taken legal action against the UK government to rapidly clean up and reduce the emissions. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that London and two other regions will not meet the legal limits until 2030.
The EAC had also found that the invasive species in the United Kingdom had increased with of three of the four bird populations indicating with its wildlife situation lower in population. The Japanese Knotweed had also threatened the UK’s fish stocks. Plants such as the Brazilian Rhubarb and specific types of rhododendron have also grown in number.
According to the Wildlife and Countryside Link in 2013, natural flood alleviation measures were very poor as nine of 24 water areas in England and Wales are experiencing severe water stress. The EAC pointed out that 2.4 million properties are at risk from flooding from the rivers and surface water.
The Australian Environmental Protection Authority had refused the extension of its shark culling program because of a “high degree of scientific uncertainty” regarding the wide usage of baited drumlines resulting to some endangered Great White sharks ensnared in the traps. The Western Australian government said that about 25 Great White sharks could be trapped on the 70 hooks spread 1km from the popular beaches of Perth.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said that he will only approve of the culling only if it proves that Great White sharks and other endangered species will not be impacted by the use of the drumlines.
The controversial shark culling intends to trap sharks longer than 3m, larger than the size of the average Great White shark. During its three-month trial earlier this year, about 14 sharks below 3m, including Great White sharks, were trapped on baited hooks and found dead before maintenance crews could reach and release the smaller sharks.
However, WA Premier Colin Barnett said that he was disappointed by the decision, but he said that the WA government will not appeal to change the decision.
The shark culling intends to keep Perth’s famous beaches safe from shark attacks, which have become common over the recent years in different areas of Australia. The Australian Geographic had released a timeline of shark attacks from different parts of Australia noting 700 attacks had happened since 1788.
The city of Napa in California was engulfed in flames, damaged some century-old wineries and historic buildings, and sent more than a hundred people into hospitals after a magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit. It had ruptured water and gas lines. The earthquake struck at 3:20 AM.
Napa residents ran out of their homes and remained in open areas fearing aftershocks to return to their own homes. Napa’s downtown area saw huge boulders and broken glass littered all over the street. Some historic, Victorian-era buildings had huge holes, rendering them unhabitable.
About 120 people injured during the earthquake are now confined in the Queen of the Valley Medical Centre in Napa. To avoid disorder, the officials have set up a triage. Many of the injured had huge cuts, bumps and bruises. Twelve people were in critical condition.
Around 60 main water lines have been ruptured and six gigantic fires began in the city, which exhausted the Napa Fire Department’s efforts to contain the situation. The fires began at mobile home parks. The delayed arrival of the pumper trucks due to the ruptured water lines made it impossible to quickly put out the fires.
Many of the wineries have lost 300-400 bottles and the harvesting of grapes would be delayed a few more days.
A peer-reviewed research by the Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (FEE) said that only a handful of research tackled the environmental consequences of fracking or hydraulic fracturing shale’s effects on the environment. As North America continues its fracking activities, the FEE’s study showed the impact of the fracking boom on wildlife and the environment.
According to the ecologists studying the effects of fracking, earlier researchers did not conduct analysis of water, air and wildlife impacts. According to University of Wisconsin Ecologist Sara Souther, one of the researchers, chemical contamination of the ground and surface water is happening with fracking, but the consequences of such are minimally explained due to the lack of analysis for water.
Souther also highlighted that local governments are not even asking fracking companies about reporting minor spills and accidents. They only encourage companies to report, but not to report mandatory.
Meanwhile, the industry said that no long-term water contamination effects is possible, but Souther became wary of the baseline studies that were not conducted in an area before fracking began.
The US Environmental Protection Agency also does not regulate the chemicals used in shale gas wells. According to researchers, about 75 percent of shale gas wells have used an undisclosed chemical in their wells, which could be a potential contaminant.
Shale gas accounts for 39% of natural gas production in the United States.
The Energy Minister Matthew Hancock had called to cut wind power subsidies, which the new Energy and Environment Ministers echoed on Tuesday. The opposition of the development of renewable energy was the first in history. The Energy and Environment Ministers had also supported the development of fracking and agreed that Green subsidies are damaging the UK’s steady economic development.
Hancock said that he supports green and renewable energy, but he opposes the execution as it must give leeway for the economy in a way that it will also not destroy the environment. He also opposed the turbine instalment in Suffolk because it affects the aesthetic of the Suffolk rural region.
Liz Truss, the new Environment Secretary and Employee of Shell, said renewable energy was “extremely expensive.” She said that she would like to see the rollback of green taxes because she sees that the UK’s lead in implementing green taxes is alarming because the energy generation in the country is becoming greatly expensive.
Truss became more controversial when she said that she will support fracking and that shale gas is used in the country. She was also considering the use of nuclear power in the United Kingdom to help reduce the hazards brought about by conventional power generation. She had made no more mention of fracking, or the killing of badgers in different rural areas of the country, in her later statements.
Both Truss and Hancock have made no public statements about climate change and their plans to counter-act its continuing hazardous effects.
The UK streets are quite rife with Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), especially in London, Birmingham and Leeds. Environmentalists estimate that London will break the given EU pollution limit by the year 2030. However, UK had already broken the EU limit since 2010.
The UK had faced several legal actions against the UK government, which potentially had it fined for £300m yearly for infractions.
New studies and projections indicate that UK NO2 emissions will be broken once again 5-10 years later, as levels in the Greater London Urban Area, West Midlands nad West Yorkshire urban area may be put in breach.
Environmentalists owe this to the high volume of vehicles in London’s highways and streets. Diesel vehicles are the major polluters of NO2 emissions.
NO2 could induce asthma in sensitive individuals, whereas it could also increase the risk of having lung cancer and heart failure. Public Health England said air pollution causes 29,000 deaths yearly in the country.
According to ClientEarth, a legal firm representing environmental issues, the UK seems not to comply with the limits, which would affect the country’s environmental future. Legal representative for ClientEarth Alan Andrews also pointed out that the UK government is hiding behind procedural rules to keep the environmental issue quiet.
According to US Secretary of State John Kerry, the world’s oceans are becoming a colossal security problem. He said that overfishing and ocean pollution should stop as soon as possible. Kerry had pointed out that mankind has damaged the oceans terribly and can make food shortage a big problem.
Speaking at a conference, Kerry had called on world leaders to take massive steps against environmental disasters. Large doses of aerial pollution and carbon dioxide are also affecting weather patterns and ocean chemistry, which could also kill water-based life. Kerry said that the protection of the ocean is an international security issue.
US President Barack Obama will be using executive powers to combat massive pollution and other environmental hazards to preserve and protect them.
Environmental groups are also looking to the US President for a new task force to guard against illegal fishing. They are also calling on the government to increase funding for ocean chemistry research.
Leaders are also asked to stop plastic waste from ending up in the sea and how to avoid possible ocean deadzones.
Poor countries were the ones suffering the most with regards to overfishing and pollution as developed nations have better management of fish stocks and lots. Some still use arcane methods of fishing, such as dynamite, which could destroy entire coral homes where fishes live.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature reports that 90% of lemurs are now facing extinction as they are considered the world’s most threatened species. The lemurs have now joined the IUCN’s “red list”, which includes 73,000 endangered species of animals all over the world. Lemurs are now part of the 22,103 critically endangered species vulnerable to extinction.
The destruction of tropical forests in Madagascar, due to increased illegal logging increased by poverty and “politicking”, are leading to the lemur’s extinction. Almost 90% of Madagascar’s forests and vegetation have been destroyed. Locals also hunt lemurs as food.
According to the IUCN, lemurs must be preserved. They can contribute to the tourism ventures of Madagascar and they serve a big role in the ecosystems of Madagascar.
The Slipper Orchids in North America are also found to be facing extinction. About 70% of the world’s orchids are now facing a threat of over-collection and habitat loss. Despite preservation methods, the Orchids will need its own natural habitat.
The Japanese Eel, Banana Orchid and Brazilian Three-Banded Armadillo are also facing extinction on a critical level as the IUCN includes them in their red list. Many of these animals have lost their habitats due to industrial ventures and over-capturing or hunting of the species.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had denounced the Australian government’s plans to remove large parts o the Tasmanian forest from the World Heritage Zone. According to the group, the Australian government has no justification for removing 74,00 hectares of Tasmanian forest and it only provides “relatively scant information” to support its case.
According to the Australian government, there are more than 100 “degraded” areas from previous illegal logging activities in the protected zone. They only wish to open up the zone to the forestry industry to revitalize and boost the Australian economy.
The IUCN also blasted the proposals because they appear to reinstate threats noted by the World Heritage Committee. The proposals made potential increase in illegal logging activities and additional fire risks as something possible, despite the safety of the forest very eminent.
The Australian Coalition government has plans to re-draw Tasmania’s world heritage map. However, it is a huge setback for the government if the World Heritage Committee decides against the government’s plan. The WHC’s decision also considers the IUCN’s recommendations very heavily.
According to an Australian senate query published the previous week, less than 5% of the 74,000 hectares have been disturbed, and justifying the removal of large portions of the forests is not possible with having only such information.
NASA and the University of Washington had conducted two separate studies, which showed evidence that the Antarctic ice sheets have begun melting and collapsing at a rate faster than expected. The irreversible ice sheet will completely melt within more than several centuries, at least 1,000 more years away, according to scientists.
The loss of the Antarctic ice sheet could cause an increase of up to 13 feet of sea water globally, which could harm coastal areas all over the world.
The two separate studies confirmed that the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has started even if greenhouse gas cuts become implemented.
The studies also suggest sea levels will rise higher than the IPCC report’s prediction earlier this year.
NASA’s study showed that Antarctica’s glaciers, around six of them, have retreated and thinned, contributing to current global sea-water rise of about 1.2m or four feet around the world.
The University of Washington detailed the Thwaites Glacier may be lost in just a few centuries with the increasing trend in global warming. It alone can increase the sea levels to 10-13 feet globally.
The two studies indicate the collapse is inevitable. Geologists also advise that the abnormal sea levels may affect the temperatures of oceans in different parts of the world, which may potentially affect the global climate changes gradually as well.