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Illegal deforestation in China’s panda habitat

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A Greenpeace East Asia investigation has discovered that nearly 3200 acres of natural forest, equivalent to 1814 football (soccer) pitches, in the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries have been illegally felled. Illegal logging in this UNESCO World Heritage site is a direct threat to endangered plant and animal species, including the Giant Panda.

“The extent of illegal logging in this precious area is shocking. These findings seriously undermine the Chinese government’s efforts to preserve its and the world’s natural heritage,” said Pan Wenjing, Deputy Head of Forest & Ocean Unit, Greenpeace East Asia. “Greenpeace calls on national and local governments to put a stop to the destruction.”

The findings from this two-year long investigation are based on remote sensing, field surveys and spatial analysis carried out on the areas surrounding the Fengtongzhai National Nature Reserve in Ya’an, Sichuan, part of an important Giant Panda migratory corridor and home to many rare plant and animal species.

Despite regulations put into force in 1998 forbidding the felling of natural forests for profit, local businesses and authorities have been exploiting a loophole in the ‘Technical Regulations on Reconstruction of Low-function Forest’ which allows them to replace ‘low yield’ natural forest with profitable forest plantations, under the guise of ‘forest regeneration’. Authorities tackled this issue with a further ban in 2012, but Greenpeace East Asia’s investigation shows that this has been ineffective.

If this loophole is not closed, a third of China’s natural forest will remain at risk of deforestation even after the nationwide extension of the Natural Forest Protection Programme in 2017.

The exploitation of the ‘low yield forest regeneration’ loophole in Sichuan is far from an isolated case. Previous Greenpeace East Asia investigations have uncovered similar activities in Yunnan (2013) and Zhejiang (2014) provinces.

“In terms of forest conservation, the most pressing and most serious problem facing China right now is deforestation of natural forest in the name of improving low-yield timber forest”, says Zhou Lijiang, deputy chief engineer at the Sichuan Province Forestry Investigation and Planning Institute and key forestry regulations advisor.

Greenpeace calls on the Chinese government to stop this illegal deforestation and strengthen the protection of this valuable UNESCO World Heritage site. Crucially, the loophole that allows ‘low yield’ natural forest to be felled and turned into commercial plantations must be closed.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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