Lloyd’s of London, the world’s biggest insurance market, has become the first major business organisation to speak out about huge potential environmental damage from oil drilling in the Arctic, The Guardian reported. The institution’s chief executive urged companies “to think carefully about the consequences”, as any oil spill in the Arctic, particularly in ice-covered areas, would present multiple obstacles, constituting a “unique and hard-to-manage risk”.
French research published in Nature Geoscience shows that the glaciers flowing between the central peaks of the Karakoram range, on the Pakistan-China border, have grown in the last decade, The Guardian said. The scientists used three-dimensional altitude maps obtained from satellites in 2000 and 2008 to track the glacier changes. While hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice are lost annually from icecaps and glaciers through global warming, it is not yet understood why the Karakoram bucks the trend.
The Greenland Ice Sheet may be sliding faster into the ocean due to massive releases of meltwater from surface lakes, according to a study by the Colorado-based Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, according to Click Green. Such lake drainages may affect sea levels, the researchers noted, with implications for coastal communities.
A new national reserve, the Land of the Leopard National Park, has opened in Russia’s Far East, RIA Novosti reported, created expressly to protect Amur leopards. Their population has declined steadily for more than a century and has reached a critical level.
The Australian airline Qantas conducted the country’s first commercial flight using a mixture of jet fuel and recycled cooking oil, Agence France-Presse said. In what it hopes will be the first step toward a sustainable national aviation-fuel industry, Qantas flew an Airbus A330 from Sydney to Adelaide using the biofuel – which the airline said has a much-reduced carbon footprint.
With the decline of shipbuilding and other traditional industries in Northern Ireland, Belfast’s historic Harland and Wolff shipyard is at the heart of a broader push to establish a foothold in the green-energy sector, according to the Financial Times. Having begun to manufacture wind turbines in recent years, Harland and Wolff is attracting renewable-power companies as Belfast repositions itself as a green-energy hub.
A temporary cathedral made of cardboard is planned for Christchurch, New Zealand, following the February 2011 destruction of the city’s 131-year-old Gothic-style cathedral by an earthquake, Reuters reported. The replacement, an A-frame structure designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, will be built of cardboard tubes, timber beams, structural steel and a concrete pad.
British environmentalist Paul Kingsnorth has sparked furious debate on the planet’s future, withdrawing from campaigning and arguing that humans have so thoroughly damaged the planet that further small gains are simply pointless, Grist said. Following publication of his essay “Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist” in Orion earlier this year, he has been called a catastrophist and a fatalist, as well as a realist and a truth-teller.
China approaches water trading with the twin problems of ensuring equity of supply and avoiding ecological damage