Monday, January 14, 2008

Biofuels not a silver bullet

"Biofuels risk failing to deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from transport and could even be environmentally damaging unless the Government puts the right policies in place"

That's from a report issued by the Royal Society which warns that "without the right support, including of the research and development community, there is a risk that we will miss out on developing the biofuels that could bring greater benefits and that we could become locked in to using inefficient biofuels."

Let's hope that our government, for once, listens, takes note, and acts accordingly. The crazy subsidies that the US government put in place for the production of ethanol from corn has already started to cause a disaster. I hope our lot can learn from that. It's not too much to ask, is it?

Both poles now suffering

We have commented many times on the staggering effect that the warming of our little planet has had on the Arctic ice. At no time had anyone reported or suggested that anything similar was happening in the Antarctic, indeed, some scientific studies reported that the temperature in the heart of Antarctica was actually decreasing and going against the trend of the rest of the planet.

However, that seems to be changing, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience, and as reported by the Houston Chronicle. The study reports that "researchers found that the rate of ice loss in the affected areas has accelerated over the past 10 years — as it has on most glaciers and ice sheets around the world." The areas worst hit are the enormous western ice shelf, which covers an area something like the size of Texas, and the peninsula that points up towards S. America.

Given that Antarctica holds something approaching 90% of the planet's ice that starts to become quite worrying; the loss of the western ice shelf alone could theoretically account for a sea level rise of several metres.