Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hinduism and Ecology

The United Nations has declared 2010 international year for biological diversity. On Saturday, the Living Planet Foundation convened what was believed to be the first global "green" Hindu event, calling on Hindus from the UK and abroad to reflect on how they can contribute to preserving biodiversity worldwide. It was a celebration of the rich abundance of distinct plant and animal species across our planet, and a campaign to draw attention to the threats facing the diversity of life on earth.

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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Water Scarcity in Europe

Addressing water efficiency in farming, which accounts for two thirds of EU water use, should be one of the priorities in reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This was suggested by the head of the European Commission's water unit. The EU has comissioned a report addressing the use of water resources particulalry in agriculture accross EU. The report shows that some member states have begun to suffer "permanent scarcity across the whole country". While the pressure point is currently in the south, with Cyprus experiencing the severest water shortages, the Commission expects water stress to spread to South-East and Central Europe. However the problem is not confined to the mediterranean and central european region, water shortages have also been detected in France and Belgium.

The EU's Water Framework Directive (WFD) already requires member states to introduce water-pricing policies with incentives for efficient water use, but little progress has been made so far.

Picture of water drop by Darkpatator.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

EU Funding available for energy efficiency and sustainable energy projects in European cities and regions.

The EU Energy Commissioner G√ľnther Oettinger has pointed out that at least €115 million in unused funds will be available to support sustainable enery and energy efficiency projects in European cities and regions. He stated he would push for a significant percentage to support local and urban energy projects. "I would expect a serious leverage effect from these funds", he added. Paul Bevan, secretary-general of city lobby Eurocities, told EurActiv that while the proposed funds were "rather little, and rather late," they could nevertheless make a huge difference."Cities are desperate to act," he argued, though it is not yet clear when this new fund could be set up.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Land Use Change

The European Community has received a report prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute on global trade and the environmental impact of the EU Biofuels Mandate. Biofuel development has been supported as a way to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and it has been seen as a good source of income for farmers particularly in developing countries and a significant reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to non-renewable fuel sources. Some countries like Malaysia, Argentina, Brazil and Tanzania have invested significantly in the redeployment of land for the growth of biofuels. However, there have been recent criticisms over the perceived positive impact of biofuels on food production and overall use and redelopyemnt of land. It seems that in some instances the indirect land use change (ILUC) can actually release more carbon emissions as forests and pristine lands are converted to cropland due to biofuel expansion. This has led to the current debate over whether, and how, the ILUC effects should be accounted for, along with the direct land use change effects, in evaluating the potential impact of biofuel policies.

Major producers of buifuels, on the other hand, are arguing in favour of their direct involvement prior to the development of bio-fuel ILUC policies at a European level.