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Insights from the UK and beyond

Best of Britain: Watch me

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Whether they’re eager for an audience like climate change activists near an oil refinery, or just captive observers like football players watching a goal go in, this week’s Best of Britain theme is all about watching or being watched.

Included are photos of rows of televisions showing Chancellor Osborne during a speech on future budget cuts, a model with an unusual hair style during the Alternative Hair Show, as well as the shadows of workers as they cross the road in Whitehall.

There are also photos of police officers at a memorial for a slain colleague and a racehorse getting washed before his morning workout.

Climate change activists block the road to the Coryton refinery, run by Swiss-based Petroplus Holdings AG, in Stanford Le Hope outside London October 16, 2010. Climate change protesters blocked an access road to a major oil refinery east of London on Saturday in an attempt to stop tankers from leaving the site, organisers and police said. Twelve protesters locked themselves to lorries parked on a road leading to the Coryton refinery in Essex, about 25 miles east of the capital. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

An employee walks past rows of televisions, showing Britain's Chancellor George Osborne, at an electrical store in Edinburgh, Scotland, October 20, 2010. Britain said on Wednesday it would cut half a million public sector jobs, raise the retirement age and slash the welfare state as part of the biggest spending cuts in a generation. REUTERS/David Moir

A model displays a creation during the Alternative Hair Show at the Grand Temple, Freemason's Hall in central London October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Arsenal's Alex Song (R) scores a goal as Shakhtar Donetsk's Olexandr Kucher (L) reacts during their Champions League match at the Emirates Stadium in London October 19, 2010. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Workers cross the road in Whitehall in central London October 20, 2010.  Britain will cut half a million jobs, slash the welfare state and raise the retirement age as part of an unprecedented cost-cutting drive that will test the strength of both the economy and the ruling coalition.  REUTERS/Toby Melville

Police officers sit in Ashlin Road during a memorial ceremony for police officer Gary Toms, in Leyton, east London October 18, 2010. Toms was killed in the road on duty in 2009 whilst trying to prevent a car breaking through a police cordon. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A racehorse is washed after an early morning workout on the gallops in Aston Rowant, October 21, 2010.    REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Are you losing faith in climate science?

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climatechangeWhile attending a meeting of prominent climate sceptics during the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December (an anti-COP15, if you will), I listened to each of the speakers put forward their theory on why conventional evidence on the primary causes of climate change should be dismissed as, for lack of a better phrase, complete hokum.

Among their denunciations of widely-accepted truths regarding global warming, greenhouse gases, melting glaciers and rising sea levels was the assertion that a change in attitude was afoot; the public may have been duped into believing the mainstream scientific assessment of climate change, but not for long.

Climate scientists seek to calm storm of doubt

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INDIAIf the scientific evidence for manmade global warming is so compelling, why do so many people still have their doubts?

Why do politicians and the media often discuss global warming with such certainty, ignoring the scientists’ carefully worded caveats?

Is the buzz over Copenhagen altering your habits?

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Amid widespread speculation over whether delegates attending the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen will reach a deal on emission targets, some environmentalists have suggested that climate change must be tackled at a local level.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, suggests a series of tips on its website titled “Twelve Days of Copenhagen” to mark each day of the Dec. 7 to 18 summit.

from The Great Debate UK:

A freakonomic view of climate change

Ahead of a U.N. summit in Copenhagen next month, scepticism is growing that an agreement will be reached on a global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, due to expire in 2012.

The protocol set targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are believed to be responsible for the gradual rise in the Earth's average temperature. Many scientists say that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is key to preventing climate change.

from The Great Debate UK:

Government intervention key to low-carbon economy

Scientists argue that rich nations must make drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent dangerous climate change. The way energy is used, priced and created would have to change in order to institute these cuts.

Ahead of elections in Britain, which must be held before June 2010, Dave Timms of Friends of the Earth shared his thoughts with Reuters on what the group thinks the next government needs to do in order to build a low-carbon economy.

from FaithWorld:

Climate change debate spurs warm feelings in London

china-climateIt is rare that religion and science find agreement, but that is what happened when Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke at a meeting on saving the earth from climate change.

"The great Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson published a book in 2007 called "Creation", subtitled An Appeal to Save Life on Earth," Sacks told leaders of all the major faiths meeting at Lambeth Palace in London on Thursday.

‘Green’ expert sees red over UK climate pledges

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Professor Sir David King, the British government’s former top scientific adviser, is no stranger to controversy.

 

He ruffled feathers on both sides of the Atlantic in 2004 when he described climate change as a more serious threat to the world than terrorism.

How can rickety cars put India on road to success?

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When it comes to climate change, the environment and other weighty issues, what could the leaders of the world’s biggest democracy possibly learn from the rural Indians who cobble together rickety cars out of scrap metal and old bits of wood?

One of India’s best known businessmen says the improvised vehicles that carry crops and passengers along dusty village roads show how local people are often the best innovators, coming up with cheap and effective answers to tough problems.

Is police action against protesters disproportionate?

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A committee of MPs has warned police they must not impose restrictions on demonstrations “unless it is necessary and proportionate to do so.”

“The right to protest is a fundamental democratic right and one that the state and police have a duty to protect and facilitate,” said Andrew Dismore, chairman of the human rights committee.

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