Britain starts eating the planet on Sunday 16 April. New research reveals Britain?s rising global dependence as the nation goes into ecological debt on Easter Sunday. At current UK levels of consumption our ?ecological debt day? ? the day we begin living beyond our environmental means ? falls only a third of the way through the year and has crept ever earlier over the last four decades.
By New Economics Foundation, UK.
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Catalysing Commitment on Climate Change. The negotiation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol constitutes a major political achievement. However, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The key weakness of the international regime lies in its inability to gain traction: governments have so far failed to ensure that climate objectives are integrated in key policy areas, such as trade and development. Climate leadership therefore needs to be focused on creating synergies with other priorities and demonstrating the up-sides of climate protection. This paper identifies what a leadership coalition of countries might do to improve international willingness to address climate change.
Patents and the future of GM? An article in the journal Nature published on 10th Feb reports that a group of researchers have demonstrated that the ability to perform transfers of DNA from microbial cells to plant cells is not, restricted to Agrobacterium tumefaciens. When furnished with appropriately engineered DNA vectors a variety of Rhizobial species seem to be as potent a tool as Agrobacterium in the production of genetically modified plants. This offers the possibility of new approaches to the construction of genetically modified plants and may alter the commercial landscape and trajectories for a technology currently dominated by the patent portfolios of two large companies, Syngenta and Monsanto. Egenis Professor Steve Hughes wonders what the new research will do to open up the industry to the competition.
By Egenis, UK.
The Problems of Success: Reconciling Economic Growth and Quality of Life in the South East. This paper focuses on the environmental problems that tend to emerge from the pursuit of ?unsustainable? economic growth. Using the term sustainable in its environmental rather than macroeconomic sense, the paper focuses on some of the issues that are perceived as representing the ?problems of success? ? housing, transport, water and flood management and the environment (including pollution and access to green spaces and the countryside). Julie Foley uses original research to show that if the South East continues its current rate of economic growth, quality of life will become increasingly difficult to maintain, and she recommends practical policies to overcome this problem.