Human greed takes lion’s share of solar energy: Humans are just one of the millions of species on Earth, but we use up almost a quarter of the sun’s energy captured by plants – the most of any species. The human dominance of this natural resource is affecting other species, reducing the amount of energy available to them by almost 10 per cent, scientists report. Researchers said the findings showed humans were using “a remarkable share” of the earth’s plant productivity “to meet the needs and wants of one species”. SMH

Climate change seen as factor behind disappearance of Chilean lake: Scientists on Tuesday blamed global warming for the disappearance of a glacial lake in remote southern Chile that faded away in just two months, leaving just a crater behind. The disappearance of the lake in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park was discovered in late May by park rangers, who were stunned to find a 40-meter (130-foot) deep crater where a large lake had been. International Herald Tribune

Climate change policies are ineffective, say businesses: A survey of British business has delivered a damning verdict on the Government’s environmental policies. The study, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, concludes that “current economic policy instruments to reduce the environmental impact of industry are not encouraging sufficient behavioural change”. Independent

Eucalypt genome to be sequenced: An international project to decode the eucalyptus genome could one day lead to new methods for producing biofuels and help predict how gum trees will respond to climate change, scientists say.
Researchers from institutions in the US, South Africa, Brazil and Australia say they are going to sequence the genome of the species Eucalyptus grandis, commonly known as the flood, flooded or rose gum. ABC Science

Biofuel demand to push up food prices: Food prices will rise in the next 10 years as nearly twice as much sugar cane, maize and oilseed rape is grown to fuel cars, and people in rapidly developing countries adopt meat-based diets, says the UN in its annual assessment of farming trends. The move to “agrofuels”, which are expected to marginally lower climate change emissions and reduce US and European oil dependency, is being led by the US, Brazil, Europe and China. Last year more than a third of the total US maize crop went to ethanol for fuel, a 48% increase on 2005. Brazil and China grew the crops on nearly 20m hectares (50m acres) of land. This area could double in 10 years, says the UN report on trends up to 2016. Guardian

Peter Fray

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