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EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT



EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT


Environment Centre NT


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Environment Centre N.T; Ecology; Periodicals

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EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT

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July/August 2004 Page 7 Bits and PiecesBits and Pieces Oxburgh, says he sees very little hope for the world unless carbon dioxide emissions are dealt with. He told the Guardian newspaper the consequences resulting from the current level of emissions cannot be predicted and are "probably not good". A spokeswoman for Shell says while the company agrees with Lord Oxburgh's concerns, it has no plans to enhance its greenhouse gas reduction program. July 30, 2004; the lndependent/UK Disaster at Sea: Global Warming Hits UK Birds by Michael McCarthy Hundreds of thousands of Scottish seabirds have failed to breed this summer in a wildlife catastrophe which is being linked by scientists directly to global warming. More than 172,000 breeding pairs of guillemots were recorded in the islands in the last national census, Seabird 2000, whose results were published this year. This summer the birds have produced almost no young, according to Peter Ellis, Shetland area manager for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Martin Heubeck of Aberdeen University, who has monitored Shetland seabirds for 30 years, said: "The breeding failure of the guillemots is unprecedented in Europe." More than 6,800 pairs of great skuas were recorded in Shetland in the same census; this year they have produced a handful of chicks - perhaps fewer than 10 - while the arctic skuas (1,120 pairs in the census) have failed to produce any surviving young. It is believed that the microscopic plankton on which tiny sandeel larvae feed are moving northwards as the sea water warms, leaving the baby fish with nothing to feed on. 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd Antarctica: the only place to live Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the UK Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week. Darwin Council goes green Darwin Council has unanimously passed the Environment Management Plan (EMP) and the Environmental Management System (EMS) which will determine how we best protect and enhance our environment well into the 21st century. Darwin City Council approved $100,000 for a EMP in July 2003, however due to staff turnover there has been some delays in developing a strategy to implement an EMP. This situation has now been remedied and we have a strategy for the development of an EMP and an EMS that will be actioned by the 19th Council. The EMP for the City, which allows for continued community input and consultation, will benefit the natural and built environs of Darwin by: * identifying priority environmental issues, * allowing for the targeting of strategies and action where they are most needed, * facilitating the development and implementation of Action plans which will protect our environment and way of life into the future. The EMP will be prepared by Darwin City Council with the help of residents of Darwin to protect, rehabilitate or improve our waterways, bushland and other environmental features well into the future. To finalise the EMP Council will ask all residents what they value about Darwin's environment from recreational opportunities to historical and/or cultural sites. The EMS will be an effective and efficient management tool to reduce the environmental impact of Council operations and to improve environmental performance in all aspects of Council's business activities. Council will enter into an extensive community consultation phase to generate as much public input as possible. Oil chief raises greenhouse fears The head of one of the world's biggest oil companies has revealed he fears for the planet's future if carbon dioxide emissions cannot be controlled. The new chairman of Shell, Lord Ron He said the Earth was entering the "first hot period" for 60 million years, when there was no ice on the planet and "the rest of the globe could not sustain human life". The warning - one of the starkest delivered by a top scientist - comes as ministers decide next week whether to weaken measures to cut the pollution that causes climate change, even though Tony Blair last week described the situation as "very, very critical indeed". Sir David said that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - the main "green- house gas" causing climate change - were already 50 per cent higher than at any time in the past 420,000 years. The last time they were at this level - 379 parts per million - was 60 million years ago during a rapid period of global warming, he said. Levels soared to 1,000 parts per million, causing a massive reduction of life. "No ice was left on Earth. Antarctica was the best place for mammals to live, and the rest of the world would not sustain human life," he said. Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor, News Independent 02 May 2004 GM crops linked to rise in pesticide use Eight years of planting genetically modified maize, cotton and soya beans in the US has significantly increased the amount of herbicides and pesticides used, according to a US report which could influence the British government over whether to let GM crops be grown. The most comprehensive study yet made of chemical use on genetically modified crops draws on US government data collected since commercialisation of the crops began. It appears to undermine one of the central selling points of GM farming - that the crops benefit the environment because they need fewer manmade agrochemicals. Charles Benbrook, the author of the report, found that when first introduced most of the crops needed up to 25% fewer chemicals for the first three years, but afterwards significantly more. In 2001, 5% more herbicides and insecticides were sprayed compared with crops only of non-GM varieties; and in 2003 the estimated rise was 11.5%. John Vidal, 2004, The Guardian