Connect with us

Environment

Historic Low Levels of Arctic Sea Ice Signal Trouble for Arctic Wildlife

Published

on

Following a record-breaking warm Arctic winter, Arctic Ocean sea ice looks set to hit a record low maximum level. The ice hit a maximum of 14,478 million km2 on the second day of March. If the ice does not grow any more this year, this will set a new record, beating the previous low maximum set last year.

Although a low maximum does not necessarily lead to a low minimum record in the late summer, it does have impacts on Arctic wildlife. New polar bear mothers emerging from a long fast in the dens where they gave birth over winter need quick access to sea ice to feed and regain their strength.

Rod Downie, WWF-UK’s polar Programme Manager said: ‘The Arctic is in meltdown and that’s not good for its wildlife and people, who have found their niche in this ice environment. We need to act decisively to slow down the rate of warming, and to become more resilient in an Arctic with less ice.

“This year is the most extreme I’ve ever seen,” said Jon Aars, a polar bear researcher with the Norwegian Polar Institute whose field work on the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago is partly supported by WWF. Aars expects that this spring he will find that fewer female polar bears even made it to shore to den.

“It is very bad in the more eastern parts of the archipelago, where we traditionally have had the most important denning areas. This means that it is very difficult for the bears to reach those areas,” said Aars.

Aars also expects that the low ice conditions will have a negative effect on the polar bears’ main prey, ringed seals, which need sea ice to give birth to their pups.

Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative said: “This year marks another grim statistic in the continuing disappearance of Arctic sea ice, with major consequences for wildlife and weather in the northern hemisphere.“If we needed reminding, we have it: governments, businesses and cities must act immediately on their climate commitments from the UN negotiations in December.”

Late last year, governments meeting in Paris adopted a deal that lays the foundation for long-term voluntary efforts to fight climate change. The Paris Agreement includes a long-term temperature goal of well below
2°C of warming and a reference to a 1.5°C goal, sending a strong signal that governments are committed to following the latest science.

The Paris Agreement is also the first agreement that joins all nations in a common cause on climate change based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.

“As the latest scientific findings from the Arctic show, there is no alternative to implementing climate commitments. We must stop the steady destruction of our planet’s delicate ecosystems and start building a new and renewable energy future,” said Smith.

Last week, Canada and the United States agreed to several Arctic initiatives, underscoring the need to take action on both mitigating climate change and on Arctic conservation to reduce the impacts of change already being experienced.

On April 22, governments will meet at the United Nations in New York when the new global climate deal is opened for signature. This coincides with the global observance of Earth Day.

Environment

Consumers Investing in Eco-Friendly Cars with the UK Green Revolution

Published

on

Eco-Friendly Cars

The UK public appears to be embracing the electric car UK Green Revolution, as recent statistics reveal that more and more consumers are making the switch from petrol and diesel to electric or alternatively fuelled vehicles. The demand for diesel fell by almost a third in October compared to last year, whilst hybrid and electric cars rose by a staggering 36.9%.

Time for UK Green Revolution Change

So, what is the reason for this sudden change? This comes down to the current situation in the UK, which has led to people embracing eco-friendly technologies and automobiles. One of the main reasons is the Government’s clean air plans, which includes the impending 2040 ban on petrol and diesel automobiles. There is then the rollout of the T-Charge in London, the city of Oxford announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel from the city centre by 2020 and various other big announcements which take up a lot of space and time in the UK press.

h2>Diesel’s Reputation

In addition to this, the negative publicity against diesel has had a huge impact on the UK public. This has led to a lot of confusion over emissions, but actually, the newest low emission diesel automobiles will not face restrictions and are not as bad to drive as many believe. Most notably, German brand Volkswagen has been affected due to the emissions scandal in recent times. It was discovered that some emissions controls for VW’s turbocharged direct injection diesel engines were only activated during laboratory testing, so these automobiles were emitting 40 times more NO in real-world driving. As a result of this and all the negative publicity, the manufacturer has made adaptations and amended their vehicles in Europe. Additionally, they have made movements to improve the emissions from their cars, meaning that they are now one of the cleaner manufacturers. Their impressive range includes the Polo, Golf and Up, all of which can be found for affordable prices from places like Unbeatable Car.

The Current Market

The confusion over the Government’s current stance on diesel has clearly had a huge impact on the public. So much so that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to restore stability in the market and encourage the public to invest in the latest low emission automobiles. SMMT believes that this is the fastest and most effective way to address the serious air quality concerns in this country.

Incentives

One way that the Government has encouraged the public to make the switch is by making incentives. Motorists can benefit from a grant when they purchase a new plug-in vehicle, plus there are benefits like no road tax for electric vehicles and no congestion charge. When these are combined with the low running costs, it makes owning an electric automobile an appealing prospect and especially because there are so many great models available and a type to suit every motorist. One of the main reasons holding motorists back is the perceived lack of charging points. However, there are currently over 13,000 up and down the country with this number rapidly increasing each month. It is thought that the amount of charging points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020, so it is easy to see more and more motorists start to invest in electric cars way ahead of the 2040 ban.

It is an interesting time in the UK as people are now embracing the electric car revolution. The Government’s clean air plans seem to have accelerated this revolution, plus the poor publicity that diesel has received has only strengthened the case for making the switch sooner rather than later.

Continue Reading

Environment

How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener

Published

on

By

green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending