THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wind farms - the global energy of the future...

Wind Farms - The Energy of the Future...

In order to avoid climate change the world needs to cut back on carbon emissions. One way to do this is to use renewable energy such as wind, wave, water and solar power. In the UK the Government plans to concentrate on wind power at the expense of other renewable energy sources – will this be most the efficient renewable energy source for our future planet?

The government has set a target of meeting 15 per cent of all the UK's energy demands from renewables by 2020, which means that between 35 to 45 per cent of electricity will be from green sources. Most of this is expected to be generated by wind farms. Critics feel that wind turbines are large and noisy and that they spoil the countryside ultimately the NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) attitude persists.

Although wind farms are not appealing onshore, offshore wind farms are proving successful. They are sited at sea where they do not affect the aesthetic appeal of the landscape and being at sea they are in a highly exposed and windy location. BWEA (British Wind Energy Association), the UK's leading renewable energy trade association reports that every home in the UK could be powered by electricity from offshore wind by 2020.

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, said: "We will have a cumulative installed capacity of up to 9 gigawatts (GW) by 2015. Wind will overtake nuclear in terms of installed capacity within the next 4 to 5 years, as an important milestone in reaching 2020."

Their counterparts down in the South Pacific, New Zealand, have already installed many windfarms in appropriate areas of the country, but are also researching wave, tidal, solar power and other renewable sources of energy. NZ is primarily hydro electric sourced, and coal powered to a lesser degree. Cook Strait in the middle of the North and South Islands has been described as being one of the roughest stretches of waters in the world at times, and could be a source of wave and tidal power.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cadbury caves in to consumer power.- no more palm oil in its products in future...

Multi-national chocolate products manufacturer Cadbury caves in to New Zealand public pressure - no more palm oil in its chocolate products in future. Orangatans and other members of the ape family are endangered by palm oil plantations in their native habitat.

28 year-old female orangutan Indra, formerly of Auckland Zoo. Orangutan habitat is threatened by palm oil plantations. Cadbury is to get rid of palm oil from its chocolates after a public outcry from New Zealand consumers.

The firm started using the oil recently as part of a cost-cutting exercise which also saw the 150g and 250g bars shed about 20 per cent of their weight.

Replacing a portion of the cocoa butter ingredient with palm oil raised the ire of consumers, both over the taste and the source. They came under intense competition from local chocolate manufacturer Whittakers who refused to use palm oil in their products.

Environmentalists called for a boycott over concerns palm oil production damaged rainforests. Auckland Zoo pulled Cadbury's products from its shelves because diminishing rainforests threatened orang-utans and Green MP Sue Kedgley urged shoppers to send a message through their selection.

Cadbury New Zealand managing director Matthew Oldham said the decision to bring back the old recipe was a direct response to consumer feedback.

Stop Global Warming

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

China will cut carbon emissions from 2050...

China has announced it will start cutting carbon emissions in 2050. This is one answer to many about what the super economies plan to do to cut carbon emissions to reduce global warming. Now we wait for the USA, Russia and India to follow suit.

Beijing. China will start cutting its carbon emissions by 2050, its top climate change policymaker was quoted as saying in the Financial Times Saturday, the first time the nation has given a timeframe.

"China?s emissions will not continue to rise beyond 2050," said Su Wei, director general of the National Development and Reform Commission's climate change department, according to the paper.

China competes with the United States for the spot as the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases and intense interest is focused on its stance ahead of climate negotations in Copenhagen in December.

The December negotiations are aimed at hammering out a new climate change pact to replace the Kyoto protocol that expires in 2012.

As a developing nation with low per-capita emissions, China is not required to set emissions cuts under the UN Framework on Climate Change, and it has so far also seemed reluctant to accept caps in the future.

For the regime that will emerge after 2012, Su in Saturday's Financial Times seemed to signal a willingness to compromise.

"China will not continue growing emissions without limit or insist that all nations must have the same per-capita emissions. If we did that, this earth would be ruined," he said, according to the paper.

Acknowledgements: © 2009 AFP.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nomura'a jellyfish armada approaches Japan - attack imminent...

Rare jellyfish spotted swimming off Cornish coast:

Britain threatens North Korea over planned "missile" launch“ The arrival is inevitable,” Professor Shinichi Ue, from Hiroshima University, told the Yomiuri newspaper. “A huge jellyfish typhoon will hit the country.”

The vicious creatures, which would not be out of place in a sci-fi adventure, poison fish, sting humans and have even been known to disabling nuclear power stations by blocking the seawater pumps used to cool the reactors.

Nomura's jellyfish first arrived in Japanese waters in 2005 when fisherman out looking for anchovies, salmon and yellowtail began finding large numbers of the gelatinous creatures in their nets. The larger specimens would destroy the nets while the fish caught alongside them would be left slimy and inedible.

In a country where fish is one of the economy's mainstays, the result was disaster. Fishermen in some areas of the country stopped going out altogether and many cited an 80 per cent drop in their income.

The jellyfish armada has prompted a series of studies by the Japanese government into the animal's little-understood mating and migration habits.

Scientists believe the influx could be caused by overfishing, pollution or rising ocean temperatures which have depleted the kinds of fish that normally prey on Nomura's jellyfish at the polyp stage, thereby keeping down numbers.

Another theory suggests that seas heated by global warming are better suited for breeding, multiplying the creature's numbers.

Nonetheless, enterprising locals have found ways around the influx. Fishermen have worked out ways of keeping the jellyfish out of their nets with sharp wires and scientists have developed a method of extracting collagen from them to be used is cosmetics.

A company called Tango Jersey Dairy has even come up with a “slightly chewy” vanilla and jellyfish ice cream, which is created by soaking diced cubes of Echizen kurage in milk.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Zealand bottlenose dolphins abbreviate body language...

We learn something new every day in the wonderful world of marine animals...

Spanish and British researchers have shown that New Zealand bottlenose dolphins abbreviate their body language, just as humans shorten commonly-used words.

Dolphins slapping their tails, diving, flopping sideways, and performing other movements when surface swimming, appear to use the same "linguistic economy" in their swimming movements, according to the researchers.

"Patterns of dolphin behaviour at the surface obey the same law of brevity as human language, with both seeking out the simplest and most efficient codes," said Dr Ramon Ferrer i Cancho, from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, in Spain.

This "law of brevity" proposed by linguists holds that the most frequently used words, such as "the" and "but", are also the shortest.

Although dolphins communicate mostly by means of audible clicks and whistles, experts believe they also employ body language when swimming close to one another.

Ferrer i Cancho studied Fiordland bottlenose dolphins in Fiordland's Doubtful Sound with a British colleague Dr David Lusseau, from Aberdeen University. Their report, Efficient Coding in Dolphin Surface Behavioural Patterns, has just been published in a science journal, Complexity.

The scientists found that each movement pattern made by the creatures could be broken down into one or more of four basic units. For example, the "tail slap" pattern could be divided up into three sub-movements given the names "slap", "tail" and "two".

A pattern called "spy hop" was made up of the units "stop", "expose", and "head". In contrast, the "side flop" pattern only comprised "leap" and "side", while a movement dubbed "tailstock dive" consisted of only one unit, the "dorsal arch".

In total the researchers counted more than 30 patterns of behaviour and their related units.

Dolphins executed many behaviour patterns made up of just one unit, and far fewer composed of four units.

"The simple and efficient behaviour strategies of dolphins are similar to those used by humans with words, and are the same as those used, for example, when we reduce the size of a photographic or video image in order to save space," Ferrer i Cancho said.

Acknowledgements TV ONE News.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chinese onions allegedly unwelcome in New Zealand

Chinese onions allegedly unwelcome in New Zealand...

Plans to allow Chinese onions into New Zealand have The Green Party fearing for our own onion and horticultural industry.

The Green Party is afraid plans to bring onions from China into the country could end in tears.

MP Sue Kedgley is worried bacteria and up to 16 fungal pathogens could be lurking in the onions, but not detected at the border. She says letting in Chinese onions could have devastating consequences for our own onion and horticultural industry, and provide no benefit.

Ms Kedgley says New Zealand growers produce far more onions than we can eat, and they are available all year round. She says allowing cheap onions in would inevitably undermine the existing industry in the same way cheap garlic from China has decimated garlic growing.

We know our onions

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