Acts must be local to change things global: The paperwork for Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol has been lodged with the United Nations and will take effect in about a month. Both major political parties support the establishment of an emission trading scheme, which should be implemented by the end of the decade. State and Federal governments have all agreed to cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by the middle of this century. An international agreement to succeed the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is now being discussed, but it has only just been agreed that it needs to be negotiated. We’ve got years to go before we work out what the details will be, let alone implement it. The Age

Winds of war: Tilting at windmills was a speciality of Don Quixote, the honourably flawed Spanish man of war. Now the Ministry of Defence appears to be following in the farcical footsteps of Cervantes’s fictitious knight. Wind farms, rather than windmills, are raising the hackles. Defence chiefs fear that new-age wind turbines, some of which are hundreds of metres high, will interfere with radar-based air and sea defence systems. It may render them useless.  Although easy to lampoon, national priorities of the highest order are clashing. For the sake of climate change, the Government must reduce carbon emissions. One of the more modest ambitions is that the UK should generate 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The Times

Scientists succeed In protecting the ‘green lungs’ of Europe: Research carried out by scientists from Earthwatch, the international environmental charity, has reinforced the urgent need to protect Europe’s remaining peat bogs. Dubbed the ‘rainforests of Europe’ as they are so diverse in wildlife, peat bogs contain more than 20 per cent of the world’s carbon. However, western Europe has lost most of its natural peat bogs, largely due to peat extraction for horticulture. Over the last three years, Earthwatch scientists have conducted the first botanical survey of Yelyna, the largest raised peat bog in Europe and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, which stretches over 26,175 hectares. Science Centric

Report reveals ‘alarming’ rate of mangrove habitat loss: Mangrove ecosystems should be better protected, the UN’s food agency has warned as it published new figures showing that 20% of the world’s mangrove area has been destroyed since 1980. A study by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that the environmental and economic damages caused by the “alarming” loss of mangroves in many countries should be urgently addressed. Countries must engage in more effective conservation and sustainable management of the world’s mangroves and other wetland ecosystems, it warned, ahead of World Wetlands day tomorrow. Guardian

Peter Fray

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