Scientists unravel plants’ natural defenses: A team of researchers, led by the University of Sheffield and Queen Mary, University of London, has discovered how plants protect their leaves from damage by sunlight when they are faced with extreme climates. The new findings, which have been published in Nature, could have implications both for adapting plants to the threat of global warming and for helping man better harness solar energy. Science Daily

Experts launch climate action plan for incoming govt: Australian climate experts say that no matter which party wins on Saturday, the nation faces a battle to control dangerous climate change. Three of the Australian National University’s leading climate policy researchers have prepared an action plan for the incoming government. They recommend setting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, and establishing a program to trade pollution rights. ABC Online

Disaster around the corner: The human drama of climate change will largely be played out in Asia, where over 60 per cent of the world’s population live. Over half of those are vulnerable to sea-level rise. Disruption to the region’s water cycle also threatens the food systems.  The consensus from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that all of Asia is likely to warm during this century, with more extreme patterns of rainfall, droughts and inundations. Tropical cyclones may increase in magnitude and frequency, while monsoons may become more temperamentalCalcutta Telegraph 

Green is the new black for savvy consumers: Global warming may not only affect climate and the environment, it will also have an impact on clothes and fashion, according to design and retail experts. Savvy, environmentally conscious consumers are approaching clothes with a different mind-set and designers and retailers are responding … It will mean not only debates about the benefits of cotton versus polyester or other fabrics, but likely future innovations such as smart clothes that monitor and adjust to body temperature to reduce the need for air conditioning and heating. Reuters

Go green at the coffee shop – just ask for a skinny decaff ratte: ‘Why do we not try drinking rat’s milk, cat’s milk or dog’s milk?” wondered Heather Mills this week, articulating the thoughts of a nation quite frankly bored to tears by the milk of ruminants. Mills was at a photocall in aid of a new campaign by Viva (Vegetarians’ International Voice for Animals) which is, in the wake of a UN report that found that the livestock industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than transport, urging us all to go vegan. It is an important issue, but Mills’ comments left some big questions unanswered: how does one milk a rat? Would rodent milk make a decent latte? Could we ever see rat’s milk cheese? And perhaps most pressingly, hasn’t she ever seen the rat’s milk episode of the Simpsons, in which local mafia don Fat Tony plans to supply rat’s milk to the school cafeteria? Guardian

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Peter Fray
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