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[greenyes] Lifeboats

These two articles that follow raise the terrible spector that we've crossed
some sort of tipping point where mankind is foregoing efforts to avert the
coming catastrophic world-wide impacts of global climate change in order to
husband resources to build a lifeboat for themselves. So many civilizations
have ended their societal lives by ignoring ecological constraints until it
was too late, and one has to wonder if we are recapitulating that
uninspiring part of our past.


Rising seas force road canal plan

Juliette Jowit, environment Editor
Sunday August 1, 2004
The Observer

More than one million acres of countryside could be abandoned to nature,
with roads used as emergency canals, in a desperate bid to cope with rising
seas and flood waters.
A new flood management strategy by the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs (Defra) proposes abandoning sea and river defences which do
not protect land, property or nature sites of great value, and using the
money to cope with the growing cost of protecting built-up areas and key
transport links. The plan, Making Space for Water, identifies 500,000
hectares of land (1.25m acres) which could be given up to the sea or
floods - an area the size of Northumberland.

It also puts forward other suggestions, from traditional sea and river walls
to schemes to create artificial flood plains to store water in emergencies,
and 'inventive' suggestions, such as raising kerbs on minor roads so they
can be used as flood channels.

The strategy follows urgent warnings about rising sea levels and more stormy
weather brought by climate change, while more people continue to set up home
on flood plains.

The government's chief scientist, Sir David King, has said the number of UK
homes at risk from flooding could double from 1.8m to 3.6m by the 2080s and
the annual cost could top £20 billion.

The government would increase flood defence funding to a record £564m a year
for the next three years, but demand for protection was also rising, said
Elliot Morley, the environment minister. 'Climate change means we may well
see more and worse flooding in the future. We must factor in and plan for
this across the board ... so the adverse consequences for people and for
business are minimised.'

Where rural or farm land is at risk, defences could be abandoned. Where
homes and other buildings are in danger, defences would not be neglected but
might not be increased in line with the threat of flooding, said Phil
Rothwell, the Environment Agency head of flood policy.


North Sea burial for greenhouse gases

New wave of marine-based solutions to global warming

Juliette Jowit, environment editor
Sunday August 1, 2004
The Observer

Proposals to bury millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide under the North Sea
are to be unveiled by ministers as the government turns to the oceans in a
bid to cut the threat of global warming.
The North Sea scheme will be revealed as the Department for Trade and
Industry is poised to announce a big increase in funding for wave and
tide-power projects in the face of growing protests about wind turbines.

The two announcements follow the government's promises to slash emissions of
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by more than half by 2050.

The DTI is expected, possibly as early as this week, to launch a national
consultation on capture and storage - or sequestration - of carbon dioxide
from coal and gas-fired power plants.

The idea would be viable by 2020, and cavities under the North Sea, which
have been mined for oil and gas, would be the best loca tion, Stephen Timms,
the energy minister, told The Observer .

Despite progress with 'clean' power such as wind, and promises of greater
energy efficiency, 'carbon abatement' is critical to the UK meeting its
promise to cut emissions, said Timms. Because of the huge costs involved,
the move will fuel speculation that the government is preparing to choose
between funding sequestration or nuclear energy to meet its ambitious

'We're going to need, for a long time to come, to use coal and gas,' said
Timms. 'What this strategy has to address for us is firstly how we can
improve power generation techniques to reduce carbon dioxide emissions [and]
secondly - and this is a big idea - the consultation will focus on carbon
capture and storage. We see it as an important element in achieving our

" ... "

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