Top news: Sulphur emitted by China’s coal plants thought to belie true extent of global warming; Greenpeace’s new flagship – the Rainbow Warrior III – tests the water in Germany; Japan’s minister in charge of tsunami clean-up quits his post; mining on the moon to become a not too distant reality.
#Climate In an ironic twist it appears that the huge increase in Chinese coal-powered plants has actually been keeping the planet cool and skewing climate change data. The huge amounts of sulphur emitted by the plants has masked the impact of global warming in the last decade as a result of the cooling effect caused by sulphur’s reflection of solar radiation. Scientists warn that the sulphur has masked the true extent of global warming and that the sitaution is much more serious than we can currently perceive. It is that rapid warming is likely to resume when the short-lived sulphur pollution – which also causes acid rain – inevtiably dissipates and the full heating effect of long-lived carbon dioxide is felt.
#Japan If you think your job is tough, spare a thought for Ryu Matsumoto, Japan’s Minister for Reconstruction, who is also in charge of the tsunami clean-up in the country. After just a week in the post he tendered his resignation, leaving Prime Minster Naoto Kan somewhat in the lurch and facing the difficult task of locating another person ambitious – and perhaps crazy – enough to take on the task.
#Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace’s new flagship – the new Rainbow Warrior – is finally testing the waters in Berne-Motzen, Germany. The ship was put into the water in preparation for its official launch in October. The new ship will be a welcome replacement for the Rainbow Warrior II, now over 50 years old and set for retirement after years of being rammed, raided and bombed while protecting the environment. Check out the new Warrior website where you can donate something new for the ship – from toilets and sinks to stethoscopes and loudspeakers.
#Moon Mining It appears that plans to strip mine the moon may be more than just science fiction. Vast quantities of the isototope Helium 3 – an extremely rare element on earth required for nuclear fusion – are said to be found on the moon. The current value of the isotope is around $16 million per kilo, while the estimated cost of extraction would around $25,000 per kilo; so, there appears to be a potential lucrative undertaking for prospective moon miners.These worrying developments further demonstrate how the blind faith in nuclear can lead to billions being spent on literal ‘pie in the sky’ moon mining when there are already safe, sustainable and clean alternatives available on earth and in desperate need of investment. Find out more about our Energy [R]evolution