The Independent reports researchers for Natural England carried out a comprehensive survey of the role different types of natural habits in Britain play in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, looking at forests, grasslands, heathlands, salt marshes and seagrass meadows and how much they store in their soils, sediment and vegetation.
They found that undisturbed woodlands and peat bogs had the highest rates of carbon sequestration, with a hectare of ancient woodland capable of storing the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide each year that would be emitted from 13 plane journeys between London and Rome. A 10-metre deep fenland peat bog can store eight times as much carbon as the equivalent area of tropical rainforest.
The Guardian reports one of the UK’s most eminent environmental scientists has called the government’s failure to block a new coalmine in Cumbria “absolutely ridiculous”. Prof Sir Robert Watson said the UK’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 to tackle the climate crisis was “wonderful”, but that there had to be a focus on immediate actions.
The UK is hosting a UN climate summit and Boris Johnson has pledged to lead a green industrial revolution.
The Guardian and Business Fast report a huge amount of effort and planning will be required to fulfil Boris Johnson’s 10 pledges to tackle the climate emergency – by Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK. After many weeks of speculation, the prime minister has finally announced his “10-point plan” for a green industrial revolution.
A recent analysis by Green Alliance showed that the UK is on course to reduce its emissions by less than a fifth of what’s required for its next round of climate targets. Joint analysis in September by The Climate Coalition, including Greenpeace, WWF, the Women’s Institute, National Trust and the RSPB concluded that at least £95bn of government investment is needed over the rest of this parliament to build back better and deliver a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient society.
ENDS REPORT reports the environment minister Lord Zac Goldsmith has signalled his support for a ban on peat burning and expressed concern that nature based climate solutions are being “utterly neglected”.
According to conservation charities RSPB and WWF, protecting existing carbon stocks in the UK will secure the equivalent of 16,231 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) – the amount of 36 years-worth of UK emissions at 2018 levels.
The Telegraph reports Britain’s garden birds could be wiped out in 80 years if climate change continues to accelerate, research from the University of Oxford has warned. Warmer weather earlier in the year could disrupt the delicate ecosystem balance which keeps the little birds which visit our gardens alive.
The Telegraph reports a study which tagged geese and monitored their movements and density from 2006 to now has found that vastly fewer young come with adult animals when they travel to our shores. Nowhere else on earth are experts seeing such rapid changes than in the Arctic where the primary cause, greenhouse gas emissions, are instigating warmer winter temperatures and ice loss, affecting the availability of food, competition and predation of animals.
The Daily Mail and The Guardian report a wildlife catastrophe is imminent unless urgent action is taken to restore Britain’s natural habitats, campaigners have warned today. Nature group Rewilding Britain said global warming means species’ ‘climate zones’ – areas with ideal temperature, humidity and rainfall for those creatures – are moving north too fast for them to keep up.
The Telegraph reports summer is officially over, the Royal Horticultural Society has said, as autumn colours are being seen in their gardens and apples are ripe two weeks early. Many have noticed amber-hued leaves falling from the trees in the last weeks of summer, and the temperature has dropped from the giddy heights of the heatwave.
The early spring heat gave many types of fruit, including greengages and apples, a head start to the growing season, meaning that harvests have come early. Trees and shrubs are turning their leaves as they have been confused and stressed by the recent erratic weather, causing them to prepare for autumn earlier.
Photo by Jack Cousins under creative commons.
The Guardian reports if you see a violet carpenter bee, xylocopa violacea, in Britain, it seems too exotic for our shores, and too big. It is up to 3cm long, the size of our largest bumble bee, and it looks even larger when flying with an impressive buzz.
In late August, the adults emerge from a dead tree trunk or other old wood where they have spent the larval stage. After mating in late April or May, female bees bore holes in rotten wood and lay eggs in separate chambers, each one sealed in with a store of pollen so the emerging larvae can have a good start in life.
Climate change has brought this southern European species to our shores.
Violet carpenter bee photo by Charlie Jackson under creative commons.
The Daily Mail reports arable soils in England and Wales are becoming less fertile, according to a new study. Almost 40 per cent of arable soils are being ‘degraded’, meaning they have too much clay and not enough carbon or organic matter.
The findings are based on a new ‘soil health index’ that classifies soils by the proportion of organic matter they contain compared with clay, which is too dense and compact to generally be suited to plant growth. Researchers say the index is a good predictor of how much carbon soils can take up and store and a general indicator of how well they are functioning. It could help farmers or policymakers improve the natural services soils provide, such as food production, flood protection and carbon storage.