Thursday, 30 August 2007

Rising CO2 will Increase River Levels

Scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, theUniversity of Exeter and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology have found that rising carbon dioxide levels will increase river levels in the future. The study published in the journal Nature found that increasing carbon dioxide will cause plants to extract less water from the soil, leaving more water to drain into rivers which will add to the riverflow increases already expected due to climate change. The study argues that the effect of plant responses to carbon dioxide could be as important as those of increased rainfall due to man-made climate change.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

New Biodiversity Action Plan list approved

The Governments of all four UK administrations have now adopted the recommendations of experts and published the UK list of priority species and habitats. This list, a result of the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken in the UK, contains 1149 species and 65 habitats that have been listed as priorities for conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP).

The new Biodiversity Action plan list will supersede that adopted 10 years ago, which contained 577 species and 49 habitats across the UK.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Biodiversity – Climate Interactions

In June 2007 the Royal Society hosted a meeting in collaboration with Defra, DFID, the JNCC, The Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, the Met Office Hadley Centre, and the Natural Environment Research Council, to investigate the inter-linkages between biodiversity, climate change, and human livelihoods and the potential role for biodiversity management in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Presentations from the meeting and a summary of the discussion are available to download from the website. The findings of the meeting will be presented at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) subsidiary body of science, technical and technological advice (SBSTTA) meeting.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Poverty and Ecosystems - Kenya Case Study

The International Institute for Sustainable Development has published a report that shows one way in which national-level sustainable development assessment and reporting can be done by assessing the state of ecosystems and human poverty in Kenya, showing how they are linked and analyzing the potential effectiveness of one of the government’s poverty reduction strategy.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) showed levels of ecosystem degradation worldwide, and how these are linked to human well-being. The IISD has worked to develop an integrated poverty-ecosystems framework with the United Nations Environment Programme to help provide a road map for Government’s.

Monday, 20 August 2007

EC Report on the Seveso II Directive

The European Commission today published a report on member states' progress in implementing the 'Seveso II' Directive on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances. The report summarises the information provided by EU-25 Member States for the 2003-2005 period.

The Seveso II Directive aims to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances. It intended to limit the consequence of any accidents to people and the environment, and to ensure high levels of protection throughout the community. In the UK, Seveso II is implemented through the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999 (COMAH). The directive was amended in 2003 to broaden its scope. The regulations apply to sites that have the potential to cause major accidents that may harm people and seriously damage the environment.

Defra Consultation on Geological Storage of Radioactive Waste

Defra have launched the following consultation: Managing radioactive waste safely: a framework for implementing geological disposal.

The Government’s response to the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) on 25 October 2006 committed to consult on how implementation of geological storage of higher activity radioactive waste can be taken forward. The Government seeks views on the technical aspects of developing a storage facility and how to engage most effectively with those communities that might have a potential interest in hosting the facility.

The deadline for responses is Friday, 2 November 2007.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Public attitudes and behaviour towards the environment

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs has released the 2007 Survey of Public Attitudes and Behaviours towards the environment. Questions on biodiversity were included in a short follow up survey.

Between 30 and 40 per cent of people said that they had given a great deal or a fair amount of thought to loss of biodiversity before. 71 per cent of those who own a garden strongly agreed or tended to agree that “they actively encourage wildlife in their garden”.

Biodiversity was explained to respondents as "the variety of living things and the natural environments that support them" and loss of biodiversity as "loss of species of living things through development, pollution, or natural processes".

Friday, 10 August 2007

New Biodiversity Guidance for Local Authorities

Defra have published new guidance for local authorities to help them to fulfill their duty to conserve, restore and enhance species populations and natural habitats. It provides advice on different activities and functions of public sector organisations and includes a number of case studies which illustrate what can be done to conserve biodiversity.

Local authorities have a Duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity, which was introduced by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act and came into force on 1 October 2006, this aims to raise the profile and visibility of biodiversity and make it an increasingly important part of policy and decision making.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Committee report on Draft Climate Change Bill

The Joint Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill have published their report on the Draft Bill today. Key findings include the following:

  • The 2050 target for carbon reductions does not reflect the latest science on climate change and is undermined by the exclusion of aviation and shipping
  • The upper limit for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 should be removed
  • Mechanisms to enforce the bill need to be strengthened and the legal responsibility should fall on the Prime Minister instead of the Secretary of State for Environment
  • Close monitoring and reporting of other GHGs
  • The Bill needs to be strengthened on adaptation to include a duty on the secretary of state to report on the risks and proposals to address those risks
  • The Government needs to consider how best improve public understanding and action on climate change and role of local government in addressing climate change