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Date published: 2011/09/16

The UK will allegedly miss its carbon emission targets (permanent blog link)

The BBC says:

The UK is set to miss climate change targets it is legally bound to meet, according to an independent analysis.

Cambridge Econometrics says the UK will narrowly miss carbon budgets up to 2017, and by bigger margins after that.

The government is legally bound to keep emissions within its carbon budgets.

The first and most important problem is that the way the UK calculates its carbon budget is completely bogus, because it ignores carbon embedded in imports. So one of the reasons the UK has done so well "reducing" its carbon emissions is because it has exported them to China.

Ignoring that issue, the most interesting aspect of missing the budget is that the UK is allegedly "legally bound" to meet the targets. Will current or past UK cabinet ministers and senior civil servants be put in prison for failing (that is what should happen)? Or will the UK shut down (say) coal power stations in December and let the lights go out in the middle of winter, to hit the targets? Or will UK politicians come to their senses and ditch this silly law? The BBC unfortunately completely fails to analyse the situation.

Many fish allegedly do better under global warming in UK waters (permanent blog link)

The BBC says:

UK waters may become more productive fishing grounds as climate change brings new species in from the south, according to researchers.

Fish such as red mullet, hake and sole have become more abundant in the last 30 years, as the waters have warmed.

But established favourites such as cod and haddock may be on the wane.
Overall, three-quarters of the species in the area are responding to rising water temperatures, the team found.

And of those, three times as many are increasing in abundance as declining.
The team behind this study - drawn from eight UK research institutes and one in the Irish Republic - emphasises there is no guarantee that abundances of these species will continue to rise.

Each one needs not only water of a given temperature range but also factors such as a secure food supply and the right environment for reproduction.

The impact of ocean acidification is also unknown, but unlikely to be beneficial given the evidence so far.

But if warming water is the main factor, the trends seen over last three decades are likely to continue, because further temperature increases are expected.

It is to be expected that global warming brings some benefits as well as problems, for humans, although this rarely gets mentioned in the media. The real problem is the rate of change, not the change itself.

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