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Lords’ Pro-Fracking Report published yet Poll shows Fracking not in Favour!

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Lord MacGregor was saying recently that Fracking in Britain holds many benefits. Recently a report published by The Lords Economic Affairs Committee, whom one or more of the members on the committee is said to have  links to Pro-Fracking corporations, have given their views on drilling for Shale Gas, they have outlined in the report that they back the Government’s decision to go “all out for shale”, however they make a request to do far more to engage the public on the benefits of Fracking in the UK and say it will provide more jobs, and bring about energy security.

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The report published went on to say that “Developing a successful shale gas and oil industry in the UK must be an urgent national priority.”

Although the report may have taken a liking to Fracking in terms of short-term money and making a quick buck, there are many dangers to Fracking and instead of taking a cautious approach, the committee have asked to speed up the implementation for the plans to Frack. If so many people are opposed surely they should be heard and their concerns addressed. Realistically many would now say that Fracking should not happen, as there are too many dangers involved with the focus on the wrong type of energy (fossil) instead of on green and clean renewable energy.

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The Green Party Leader of Croydon Shasha Khan said upon being questioned by Raj News that “The Government should seize the opportunity to embrace energy reduction with renewables not Fracking.

Fracking is an extreme energy source” Shasha went on to speak of Cuadrilla an oil and gas exploration company in the UK who are pursuing Shale Gas in the UK by hydraulic fracturing in the ground, he said “Cuadrilla have already said that energy prices will not come down due to Fracking, so why risk polluting our water.”

The report mentioned the EU’s reliance on Russia for Gas and how Fracking would stop this reliance. They do not however mention the EU’s fine to the UK for not meeting its Air Quality/Pollution requirements, there is a pending case against the UK by the EU, which could see the UK picking up bills worth millions for not doing enough to reduce the pollution and cleaning up the air.

The UK could see these fines dropped if the Government acts now and can show there is an improvement, in air quality. With car traffic jams in areas and things like incinerators, unnecessarily burning waste when it could be recycled, where is the encouragement to the public on these issues.

The Green party have been doing their bit in Croydon, opposing an Incinerator in Beddington Lane by putting in a judicial review, against Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to have an incinerator in Beddington Lane which would serve Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston, although there is danger of toxic fumes carrying downwind, unfairly building up, to pollute areas, which do not want to be harmed, by these dangerous fumes.

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With all these prominent dangers at the forefront, the Government still want to dangerously fracture the earth in an effort to unlock Shale gas, the dangers of this are creating toxic drinking water as Shasha Khan mentions and instead of trying to promote renewable energy, the Government wants to continue focusing on fossil fuels at the cost of damaging the UK – Fracking has been linked to Earthquakes.

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When it comes to regulation of Fracking the Lord’s have said that regulation should be streamlined, such as in cases where a company may want to drill under people’s houses they can do so without needing a license.

The Lords’ report seems to promote fracking and Lord MacGregor said on a radio interview with the BBC that Fracking will provide the public with lower fuel bills, he also mentions the US taking up Fracking. The radio host points out that “in the USA there are vasts amounts of unpopulated land, whereas in the UK you’re looking to do Fracking in relatively populated areas.” Lord MacGregor says that they’ve looked at this problem and any effects to the environment, yet this is a cherry picked report  which gives us a selected amount of information that is Pro-Fracking.

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Chief scientist Dr Doug Parr of Green Peace UK says of the report: “On one page the Lords are saying public concerns should be taken seriously, on the other they urge the government to strip people of their right to say no to Fracking firms planning to drill under their homes – a move opposed by three-quarters of British people.” They also backed moves by the Government to change trespass laws so that shale companies could drill under people’s property without their permission to ensure development could go ahead “without undue delay or cost”.

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Caroline Lucas of the Green Party also featured in the interview, she made it clear that Fracking is not a solution to anything and pointed out surely the UK are not going to go ahead with this. She mentioned that there are far more jobs in renewable energy compared to that of Fossil fuels. She spoke of having a cap on fossil fuel emissions, and how drilling for shale gas can cause levels in methane to increase which is dangerous, especially as the numbers on methane gas is highly underestimated.

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I would stress that this is a swipe by the Government to make some quick money, rather than educate the public on this issue and listen to the people who are, now, in a poll, overall against Fracking, in the UK.

Dr Parr criticised the report, warning Fracking was a “non-solution” that would not deliver for many years, if at all. Caroline Lucas points out that Fracking would lock us into the fossil fuel industry rather than working towards a positive renewable clean energy industry.

Dr Parr’s analysis of the report was a realistic one and he said, “The Lords spent seven months cherry-picking the wafer thin evidence that fits a foregone conclusion about the benefits of shale gas. This is just more taxpayer-funded cheerleading from unelected politicians who seem all too happy to ignore the country’s legitimate concerns about Fracking.”

The Dr and Caroline Lucas and Shasha Khan echoed each other when they spoke of the real urgent national priority, which is to push ahead with the renewable technology and efficiency measures.

Although the BBC did not mention in an article about Fracking that the Green Party (whom of late have not even had much media coverage by the BBC in the elections) whose Leader Natalie Bennet is a keen campaigner against Fracking alongside Caroline Lucas who was arrested for protesting against Fracking, after having real concerns about the UK issue of Fracking and alongside Green Peace, WWF, and Friends of the Earth’s concerns – who also did not get much coverage either.

The BBC did highlight the dangers of chemicals in Fracking they said:

“Hydraulic fracturing of shale to extract gas involves pumping water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure to allow the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

There is a worry that chemicals used in Fracking may escape and contaminate groundwater around the Fracking site.

Another environmental concern is that Fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the Fracking site, at significant environmental cost.”

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The campaigning group, Friends of the Earth, commented: “The report recognises that the regulations aren’t working – but calling for the Government to ‘simplify’ regulations and speed up the process will not reassure local communities and a public unconvinced by this risky technology.”

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The WWF- UK said:

Nick Molho, Head of Climate and Energy Policy at WWF-UK said: “The Lords seemed to have overlooked the many serious analysts who have said that shale gas in the UK is unlikely to have much impact on either gas prices or the UK’s rising exposure to gas imports.

“If we are genuinely going to reduce the UK’s vulnerability to future fossil fuel price shocks, the main priority must be to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in the first place.

“Moving rapidly towards an energy system that’s more efficient, low-carbon and better integrated with those of our European partners should therefore remain the UK’s highest national priority when it comes to energy policy.”

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In conclusion:

There is a danger in going after shale gas, which is still unknown about in terms of quantity, quality and is most likely under the ground in different layers, making it difficult to access; whereas in the USA there is land which is flat and plenty in unpopulated areas, making the gas easier to extract, the same cannot be said for the UK with its populated areas and complex land structure and layers of the earth.

Fracking has added to the climate change debate, and Fracking will only damage the climate, which Fracking can have serious implications on, nevertheless it has become a part of the debate on climate change as it can cause a huge set back to the climate through air quality, natural disasters, water contamination and earthquakes; there should be a focus on renewable energy rather than using less dirtier fossil fuel (Shale gas compared to Coal), which looks set to harm the UK, residents, and environment just as much, if money was spent on Green renewable energy, this would pay off in the longterm.

There are so many alternatives yet Fracking is what the Government want to pursue. There are many out there protesting against Fracking to put a stop on it before it starts, make sure your concerns are heard write to the politicians and tell them to stop their plans as not many of the members of the public agree with Fracking and it is dangerous and also we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to work now on the future with renewable energy, which is clean, green, job making, and recyclable, renewable, and the future.

Leopard still on the prowl in northern Indian town of Meerut?

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Meerut has been panicked by a leopard on the prowl, schools and colleges have been closed since the leopard was first spotted on Sunday in a warehouse and a person felt the power of the leopard as it attacked him and escaped.

The leopard also entered a hospital and was locked in a room before the leopard escaped via a window and could not be tranquilised by the wildlife rescue teams called in to take this leopard away from the public and relocate it back to the forest.

Many Police officers have been called in too as have army units, the town is on a high alert after the total number of people injuired has been 7.

There was an opportunity for the wildlife rescue teams which went wrong after the crowds seemed to alert the leopard to their presence, at which point the leopard made a hasty escape.

Leopards are large territorial mammals. They need space to move around. Some of their corridors are getting blocked so there is bound to be an interface,”

“We can’t put all the leopards into cages. We can’t remove all the people living near forested areas. We have to manage the situation the best way we can.”

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Deepankar Ghosh from The World Wildlife Foundation India gave the statement on what needs to be done after this dangerous encounter in Meerut and also the string of occurences throughout India, referring to other incidents such as in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh, where a leopard caused the death of a 5 year old boy and a female tiger which has caused the death of 8 men in a number of encounters and the many other incidents across India.

The WWF’s call for an operational and organisational approach of forests and other habitats is vital as currently there is a problematic scenario of territorial corridors being blocked, with no access for the leopards without being detected by the communities scattered about near these routes.

These largely territorial species need free corridors, their territories have been encroached upon, and there is a  lack of space for the leopards to move around, the leopards need to find open corridors to move about, yet these  have become narrower mainly due to the saturation of communities. India’s leopard population is numbered at 1,150 according to the 2011 census.

Leopard looks through Meerut window

Written by Raj

February 27, 2014 at 3:06 am

Eye on the Tiger!

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WWF work towards Saving Tiger Numbers

in the Terai Arc with the

help of India and Nepal

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India has revered the Royal Bengal Tiger for a long time and the tiger is affectionately referred to as the Indian Tiger. The Royal Bengal Tiger’s scientific name is Panthera tigris tigris.

The conservation of Tigers in the wild has been a difficult fight and a constant struggle for Conservation groups like the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Indian government. The fight is not off as yet though, as India and Nepal backed by the WWF keep their eyes on the tiger! The trio are planning on a census to document the amount of Royal Bengal Tigers within India and Nepal through the use of planted trap cameras in both India and Nepal. The Royal Bengal tiger’s numbers have said to be dwindling and therefore they have been given the status of an endangered species since 2010 which was the year of the tiger in the Chinese horoscope, the next year of the tiger is 2022 and WWF’s gobal tiger campaign aims to have doubled the number of Tigers by then, the global campaign is being led by Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio.

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The WWF, India and Nepal are all set to meet their objectives of putting a number on the tigers and also helping in a conservationist aspect through many objectives such as:

  • Protect, restore and manage corridors to ensure connectivity between tiger habitats while ensuring that human-tiger conflicts are reduced.
  • Reduce pressures on tiger habitats by promoting alternative livelihoods for local communities.
  • Create incentives for local communities as well as state and regional government and opinion-makers to support tiger conservation.
  • Enhance capacities of the Forest Department to control poaching of tigers and prey species.
  • Promote the political will as well as popular support within all sectors of society for tiger conservation.

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Source : WWF

WWF began in 1960 and in 2010 they had been around for 50 years, they are a prestigious organisation and global in their efforts being present in 100 countries where they have offices working at a local level to ensure conservation for the countries’ species.

India’s Project Tiger was launched in 1972 by WWF, and saw a six-year national tiger conservation plan and 15 new tiger reserves. The county’s tiger population increased by 30% in just seven years.

Although due to poaching and encroachment upon the tigers habitat by man, tiger conservation is important as ever as numbers are said to be low and the Indian Tiger an endangered species. The following video is WWF’s Indian Save the Tiger campaign video:

WWF’s mission statement on the joint partnership between India and Nepal for Tigers is:

“WWF-India’s goal is to restore and maintain tiger habitats, protect the tiger and its prey base in important tiger landscapes in India.”

WWF have been working to conserve the tiger since on a large scale since 1972 and throughout their campaigns they have always sought to raise awareness of the danger of the Royal Bengal tiger becoming an extinct species. The following is a poster by WWF highlighting the danger of extinction to the tiger in the countries listed below (where they can be found), extinction is a possibility that is very real if tigers do not stop being hunted and their habitat being continually destroyed by Humankind:

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The announcement for the joint tiger survey was made on the 8th January at the 6th Indo-Nepal consultative meeting organized between the two governments, India started work on the project in November 2012 and Nepal are working on the project between January 2013 to March 2013. The project will cover 15 areas within the Terai Arc located between the two countries and at the bottom of the Himalaya’s.

The names of the Protected Areas in India in the Terai Arc are as follows:

Sonanadi Wild Life Sanctuary, Corbett National Park, Kishanpur WLS, Dudhwa National Park, Katarniaghat WLS, Sohagibarwa WLS, Valmiki National Park and Valmiki Sanctuary, those are a few of the main tiger territories. The Survey will also look at the availability of prey for the tigers, which will also be captured by motion sensitive camera’s of which there will be many hundreds in both India and Nepal. There will be a more accurate census for the tigers as the teams working alongside WWF will ensure that no tiger is counted twice as this will be confirmed by photographs on both sides. India is said to have the most densest of Royal Bengal Tigers with the number at around 500.

The names of the Protected Areas in Nepal in the Terai Arc are:

Three national parks (Chitwan, Bardiya, Banke) and two wild life reserves (Shuklaphanta and Parsa).

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Source: Report by : The Terai Arc Landscape in India:  Rajeev L. Semwal

In India the Terai Arc Landscape is an 810-km stretch that extends from the river Bhagmati in the east in the state of Bihar to river Yamuna in the west near India’s Capital Delhi.

After the consultation meeting between India and Nepal took place Dr S. P. Yadav, Deputy Inspector General of the Government of India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority said of the strengthening partnership to save the tiger that the – “bilateral meetings between India and Nepal have resulted in positive outcomes for wildlife conservation. Our governments need to continue strengthening trans-boundary ties for protecting tigers and enabling their free movement between India and Nepal.”

The number of Royal Bengal Tigers in the wild has been put at approximately a minimum of 1,576 to a maximum of 1,875, this number comes from The National Tiger Authority and included numbers of tigers within 17 states within India from 41 tiger reserves. India has the largest population of the Indian Tiger and as for the estimated remaining population within the World that number is at a meagre 3,000, when 100 years ago there were 100,000 tigers in the wild.

The problems that have caused tiger numbers to decline are due to many reasons and those that have mainly been responsible are those who have in the past culled tigers, and consumers of tiger products, there is also the problem of poachers/criminal networks who deal in selling tiger products to places like China where tiger parts are highly prized. Another few key responsible parties are tiger farm operators who breed tigers and sell their parts, which leads to a higher demand for tiger products, also Governments that are not working hard enough to protect tigers from poachers and their habitat and they’re not upholding the laws against illegal trafficking. Even the everyday person is responsible as people who waste paper are often responsible for the loss of the tigers forest habitat where trees are cut down for the demand of paper, of course this responsibility also lies with large corporations who are not considerate of the tigers habitat and cause deforestation on a mass scale.

The ones that are responsible are up against the non-stop global scale tiger campaign to preserve the tiger with the help of pro-active governments and organisations such as WWF who are working to bring about solutions to the problems posed (mentioned above).

The solutions to these problems are simple although require action to solve the problem there needs to be an end to the tiger killing for their skins and other parts and countries like China are where these products are often in high demand for traditional believed to be healing medicinal reasons and as status symbols of power, these are some reasons as to why some tigers have been driven to extinction and numbers have fell. Poaching is a major part of the problem which needs to be met head on and stopped governments like India and China are looking at ways to stop this with options such as armed tiger personnel, tigers should be monitored more closely and effectively in the wild and in captivity. There needs to be a continuity in maintaining tiger reserves and new ones should be established to ensure successful flourishing of tiger numbers. Sustainable living is another solution which will save the trees and thus the tiger habitats and it is not just individuals who need to do this but also corporations. Educating people about tigers and their dire situation is an essential part to the tigers success, an increase in political campaigning and will and funding is as always ever needed.

A good reason to protect the tigers is that their environment is just as essential to us as it is to them and if there were no tigers that would it is suggested more than likely lead to deforestation and the loss of the important features of the forest such as cleaner air and countering climate change and fresh clean water. Tiger tourism can benefit poor communities by providing a source of income through local tourism consumerism.

SOURCE:  http://www.savetigersnow.org/problem

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The following is a map of where the tigers can be found roaming, it has been produced by the Wildlife Protection Society of India:

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The compilation of the results is said to take up to about 4 months and then an accurate census on tiger numbers should be available. WWF India says:

“The shared monitoring results between India and Nepal will enable the development of a comprehensive management approach for tigers across the TAL for the first time.”

As for both governments this initiative for the tiger will continue to be focused on the aim to double tiger numbers by 2022. Mr. Bishwo Nath Oli, head of the Nepal delegation and Joint Secretary of the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation said “The survey results will play an important role in shaping strategies to get us to our ultimate goal of Tx2, doubling the number of wild tigers, which was set during the historic Tiger summit in 2010.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

India spends about US$75 million a year to provide protection for its tigers.

The Bengal can live as long as 15 years in the wild.

The five surviving subspecies are:
1. Bengal Tiger – Panthera tigris tigris
2. Siberian (Amurian) Tiger – Panthera tigris altaica
3. Sumatran Tiger – Panthera tigris sumatrae
4. Indo-Chinese Tiger – Panthera tigris corbetti
5. South China Tiger – Panthera tigris amoyensis

The three extinct subspecies are:
1. Javan Tiger – Panthera tigris sondaica – extinct since early 1980’s
2. Bali Tiger – Panthera tigris balica – extinct since the 1940’s
3. Caspian Tiger – Panthera tigris virgata – extinct since the early 1970’s

Source: http://www.wpsi-india.org/tiger/tiger_facts.php

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