A district court judge in California in May 2007 blocked the US biotech giant Monsanto from selling alfalfa seeds that it had genetically modified to resist its Roundup weed killer.
Britain’s biggest wind farm companies are to be paid not to produce electricity when the wind is blowing.
Energy firms will receive thousands of pounds a day per wind farm to turn off their turbines because the National Grid cannot use the power they are producing.
Critics of wind farms have seized on the revelation as evidence of the unsuitability of turbines to meet the UK’s energy needs in the future. They claim that the ‘intermittent’ nature of wind makes such farms unreliable providers of electricity.
The National Grid fears that on breezy summer nights, wind farms could actually cause a surge in the electricity supply which is not met by demand from businesses and households.
The electricity cannot be stored, so one solution – known as the ‘balancing mechanism’ – is to switch off or reduce the power supplied.
The system is already used to reduce supply from coal and gas-fired power stations when there is low demand. But shutting down wind farms is likely to cost the National grid – and ultimately consumers – far more. When wind turbines are turned off, owners are being deprived not only of money for the electricity they would have generated but also lucrative ‘green’ subsidies for that electricity.
The first successful test shut down of wind farms took place three weeks ago. Scottish Power received £13,000 for closing down two farms for a little over an hour on 30 May at about five in the morning.
Whereas coal and gas power stations often pay the National Grid £15 to £20 per megawatt hour they do not supply, Scottish Power was paid £180 per megawatt hour during the test to switch off its turbines.
It raises the prospect of hugely profitable electricity suppliers receiving large sums of money from the National Grid just for switching off wind turbines.
Dr Lee Moroney, planning director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a think tank opposed to the widespread introduction of wind farms, said: “As more and more wind farms come on stream this will become more and more of an issue. Wind power is not controllable and does not provide a solid supply to keep the national grid manageable. Paying multinational companies large sums of money not to supply electricity seems wrong.”
Earlier this year, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that electricity customers are paying more than £1 billion a year to subsidise wind farms and other forms of renewable energy.
I expect food prices to rise over 100% in the not too distant future.
Growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production will send prices soaring, according to the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation
Food prices are set to rise as much as 40% over the coming decade amid growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production, according to a United Nations report today which warns of rising hunger and food insecurity.
Farm commodity prices have fallen from their record peaks of two years ago but are set to pick up again and are unlikely to drop back to their average levels of the past decade, according to the annual joint report from Paris-based thinktank the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The forecasts are for wheat and coarse grain prices over the next 10 years to be between 15% and 40% higher in real terms, once adjusted for inflation, than their average levels during the 1997-2006 period, the decade before the price spike of 2007-08. Real prices for vegetable oils are expected to be more than 40% higher and dairy prices are projected to be between 16-45% higher. But rises in livestock prices are expected to be less marked, although world demand for meat is climbing faster than for other farm commodities on the back of rising wealth for some sections of the population in emerging economies.
Although the report sees production increasing to meet demand, it warns that recent price spikes and the economic crisis have contributed to a rise in hunger and food insecurity. About 1 billion people are now estimated to be undernourished, it said.
Fairtrade campaigners said the predictions of sharply rising prices provided a “stark warning” to international policymakers.
“Investment to encourage the 1 billion people whose livelihoods rely on smallholder agriculture is vital. Not only will this increase yields but will go a long way to increase prosperity in poverty stricken regions,” said Barbara Crowther, director of communications at the Fairtrade Foundation.
“At the same time, the promise of increased agriculture commodity prices could spark a new surge in land grabbing by sovereign wealth funds and other powerful investors which risks marginalising further rural communities who must be included in solutions to secure and maintain food supplies.”
Paris, France (CNN) — The death toll from flash flooding in southern France rose to 22 on Thursday as rain continued to inundate the region, authorities said.
Up to 20 millimeters (0.8 inches) of rain fell in some areas overnight, the Var prefecture said in a statement. Despite the additional rain, most of the flood waters have begun to recede and cleanup has begun.
Some 104,000 homes were without electricity across the region, and 20,000 homes were without phone connections, the prefecture said.
Weed killer kills human cells. Study intensifies debate over ‘inert’ ingredients.
Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” – the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.
The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” – the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.
Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells-even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns.
One specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself – a finding the researchers call “astonishing.”
“This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,” wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen. “Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.
The research team suspects that Roundup might cause pregnancy problems by interfering with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights or miscarriages.
For a list of products containing the chemical see page four of ‘The Ubiquitous Triclosan’, in pdf from Beyond Pesticides.
(NaturalNews) Dioxins are a group of highly toxic compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants. People are exposed to dioxins through the environment and the food chain — the highest levels of these compounds are found in soils, sediments and food such as dairy products, meat, fish and shellfish. And, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), this exposure can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.
So you would never flush dioxins into your water supply, right? If you use antibacterial soaps and other antibacterial products, you could be doing the equivalent of just that.
In 2003 and 2009, University of Minnesota civil engineering professor William Arnold and his colleague Kristopher McNeill published their discovery that the antibacterial agent triclosan, when exposed to sunlight, generates a specific group of four dioxins. Now, in a new study, a team of scientists from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology, Pace Analytical (Minneapolis), the Science Museum of Minnesota and Virginia Tech, have documented how triclosan is transformed into dioxins that are accumulating in the environment. This research, just published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, concludes dioxins originating from triclosan (found in many hand soaps, deodorants and dishwashing liquids) account for a huge increase in total dioxins now polluting Mississippi River sediments.
Efforts to cut down on dioxin contamination resulting from industrial pollution have been underway for several decades. However, the issue of triclosan in antibacterial consumer products has been virtually ignored. And the research team has found that over the last 30 years, while levels of all the other dioxins have dropped by 73 to 90 percent, the levels of dioxins derived from the antibacterial soap ingredient triclosan have risen by 200 to 300 percent.
For the new study, which was headed by Jeff Buth, a recent University of Minnesota Ph.D. graduate in chemistry, the researchers examined sediment samples from Lake Pepin, an enlargement of the Mississippi River located 120 miles downstream from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. They analyzed sediment cores (which contain a record of accumulated pollutants in the lake over the past 50 years) and checked for amounts of triclosan, the four dioxins derived from triclosan, and the entire family of dioxin chemicals.
The results? In the most current sediments, triclosan-derived dioxins account for about 30 percent of the total dioxin mass. “These four dioxins only come from triclosan. They didn’t exist in Lake Pepin before triclosan was introduced,” Dr. Arnold said in a statement to the media.
Added: 14. June 2010
Great interview from New Orleans TV station wdsu tv.
Added: 12. June 2010
Recommended: The Cove – Oscar Award Winner (’Best Documentary’)
Japan is attempting to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling
A SUNDAY TIMES investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales.
The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
The revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling. An IWC meeting that will decide the fate of thousands of whales, including endangered species, begins this month in Morocco.
Japan denies buying the votes of IWC members. However, The Sunday Times filmed officials from pro-whaling governments admitting:
– They voted with the whalers because of the large amounts of aid from Japan. One said he was not sure if his country had any whales in its territorial waters. Others are landlocked.
– They receive cash payments in envelopes at IWC meetings from Japanese officials who pay their travel and hotel bills.
– One disclosed that call girls were offered when fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japan for meetings.
Barry Gardiner, an MP and former Labour biodiversity minister, said the investigation revealed “disgraceful, shady practice”, which is “effectively buying votes”.
The reporters, posing as representatives of a billionaire conservationist, approached officials from pro-whaling countries and offered them an aid package to change their vote.
The governments of St Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea and Ivory Coast all entered negotiations to sell their votes in return for aid.
Unusually heavy seasonal flooding in China has killed at least 155 people and forced more than 1 million to flee as water levels in some areas reached at their highest in more than a decade, the government reported today.
Direct economic losses total 24 billion yuan (£4.5 billion), with large swaths of the country’s southeast hit especially hard, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
Virtually all of the country’s major rivers were swollen, while water levels in lakes along the mighty Yangtze River were higher than in 1998, when catastrophic flooding killed about 4,000 people.