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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Climate change expert calls for nuclear power ‘binge’ to avert global warming

Category : Business

Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, warns Co2 levels are rising at a faster than exponential rate

A leading British academic has called for accelerated research into futuristic geo-engineering and a worldwide nuclear power station “binge” to avoid runaway global warming.

Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, said both potential solutions had inherent dangers but were now vital as time was running out.

“It is very, very depressing that politicians and the public are attuned to the threat of climate change even less than they were 20 years ago when Margaret Thatcher sounded the alarm. Co2 levels are rising at a faster than exponential rate, and yet politicians only want to take utterly trivial steps such as banning plastic bags and building a few windfarms,” he said.

“I am very suspicious of using technology to solve problems created by technology, given that we have messed up so much in the past but having done almost nothing for two decades we need to adopt more desperate measures such as considering geo-engineering techniques as well as conducting a major nuclear programme.”

Geo-engineering techniques such as whitening clouds by adding fine sprays of water vapour, or adding aerosols to the upper atmosphere have been ridiculed in some quarters but welcomed elsewhere. Wadhams proposes the use of thorium-fuelled reactors, being tested in India, which are said to be safer because they do not result in a proliferation of weapons-grade plutonium, experts say. Also, under certain circumstances, the waste from thorium reactors is less dangerous and remains radioactive for hundreds rather than thousands of years.

Wadhams, who is also head of the polar ocean physics group at Cambridge and has just returned from a field trip to Greenland, was reacting to evidence that Arctic sea ice cover had reached a record low this summer.

This latest rate of loss is 50% higher than most scenarios outlined by other polar scientists and coincide with alarming new reports about a “vast reservoir” of the potent greenhouse gas, methane, that could be released in Antarctica if the ice melts equally quickly there. Greenpeace said last night that it agreed with the academic’s concerns but not with his solutions.

“Professor Wadhams is right that we’re in a big hole and the recent record sea ice low in the Arctic is a clear warning that we need to act. But it would be cheaper, safer and easier to stop digging and drilling for more fossil fuels,” said Ben Ayliffe, the group’s senior polar campaigner.

“We already have the technologies, from ultra-efficient vehicles to state-of-the-art clean energy generation, to make the deep cuts in greenhouse gases that are needed to stave off the worst effects of climate change. Unfortunately, we’re still lacking the political and business will to implement them,” he added.

Wadhams, who has done pioneering work on polar ice thinning using British naval submarines from 1976 onwards, said these latest satellite findings confirmed his own dire predictions.

And they feed into the alarming scenarios that the Arctic Methane Emergency Group have been warning about.

“What we are now seeing is a fast collapse of the sea ice that means we could see a complete loss during the summer by 2015 – rather than the 20 to 30 years talked about by the UK Meteorological Office. This would speed up ocean warming and Greenland ice cap melt and increase global ocean levels considerably as well as warming the seabed and releasing more methane.”

Asked whether the latest evidence made a ban on drilling for carbon-releasing oil and gas necessary as Greenpeace has contended, Wadhams said “philosophically” such exploration made little sense. “We have been conducting a global experiment with the burning of fossil fuels and the results are already disastrous and this would accelerate them,” he argued saying that there were also practical worries because of the enormous difficulty of dealing with any spillage or a blowout under moving ice where oil would get trapped inside the ice in a kind of inaccessible “oil sandwich’.

But he said at least that companies such as Shell had shown some responsibility by carefully planning its expected exploration in the Chukotka Sea off Alaska and had shown a willingness to use ready-made containment domes that could cap off a well if anything went wrong. He was more fearful about drilling methods in the Russian Arctic where environmental concerns were lower down the agenda.

Minnesota city suffers worst flooding in decades – Reuters

Category : Stocks

CBS News
Minnesota city suffers worst flooding in decades
| June 20 (Reuters) – Heavy flooding pounded the Duluth, Minnesota, area on Wednesday forcing the evacuation of dozens of homes, causing mudslides and sinkholes that trapped cars, and flooding the Lake Superior Zoo where a polar bear and two seals
Zoo animals among those escaping Duluth flooding (+video)Christian Science Monitor
Plucky seal escapes cage, survives flood that killed 11 other animals at New York Daily News
Zoo's polar bear escapes, seals 'washed away' in Duluth floodingLos Angeles Times
Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Dogs take lead in sniffing out Arctic oil

Category : Business

Shell has been training a dachshund and two border collies to detect oil spills beneath snow and ice

When it comes to drilling for oil in the harsh and unpredictable Arctic, Shell has gone to the dogs, it seems. A dachshund and two border collies to be specific.

The dogs’ ability to sniff out oil spills beneath snow and ice has been tested and paid for by Shell – and other oil companies and government research organisations – in preparation for the industry’s entry into the forbidding Arctic terrain. The company hopes to begin drilling for oil off the north-west coast of Alaska in June.

The project, conducted by independent Norwegian researchers Sintef off the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway in 2009, set out to find a low-tech fix to a nightmare scenario for Arctic drilling: how to clean up a spill in remote waters?

The technology for detecting and tracking spilled oil in the Arctic is still in the early stages. To make clean-up even more challenging, the areas in the Chukchi Sea to be drilled are 1,000 miles from the nearest coastguard base.

As the study itself notes: “Today, no proven operational system exists for detecting oil spill covered by snow and/or ice or hidden under beach sediments.” The remote and challenging Arctic environment made it difficult to rely on sensitive technological equipment, it added.

However, the campaign group Greenpeace said dachshund sniffer dogs were not the answer.

“The idea that small dogs can track leaking oil deep under the Arctic pack ice in the middle of winter is absurd,” said Ben Ayliffe, Arctic campaigner for Greenpeace. “The fact that they are paying good money to seriously use this as an option shows how much they are scrabbling around for a solution.”

Others said the study should be an embarrassment to the industry. “This is another example of how we do not have adequate science and technology yet to drill in the Arctic Ocean – particularly in ice,” Marilyn Heiman, the director of the US Arctic Programme for the Pew Environment Group said in an email.

“It is embarrassing that using dogs to sniff out oil is the best technology we have to track oil under ice. Industry needs to invest in research to determine how to track oil under ice, as well as significantly improve spill response capability in ice, before [being] allowed to drill in ice conditions.”

A spokesman for Shell said the company had done additional research on oil-sniffing dogs since the 2009 study but “nothing major”. Curtis Smith, the spokesman, said Shell has no plans to deploy the dogs in Alaska.

The company’s oil spill response plan, approved by the interior department last month, calls for a fleet of vessels to be on standby at all times, as well as for the construction of a special capping system that would be able to capture and store up to 80,000 barrels of oil a day.

“Shell and others are looking mainly at technology like advanced radars [and] satellite to detect oil under ice,” Smith wrote in an email.

The absence of canine participation is in no way the dogs’ fault. The dogs – border collies Jippi and Blues, and dachshund Tara – were able to pick up the scent of oil up to 5km downwind of a spill, the researchers found.

They held up well to long flights, -40C temperatures, and bumpy snowmobile journeys. They were also able to focus on their mission – and did not go tearing off after polar bear or seals, the study said.

“This gives us future possibilities in using specially trained dogs to search large areas covered with snow and ice to detect possible oil spills,” the study added.

Threatened Arctic lab aided by ordinary citizens

Category : World News

If the Canadian government won’t help to keep the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) open then hopefully ordinary Canadians will.

See original here: Threatened Arctic lab aided by ordinary citizens

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Amazing GRACE can measure world’s ice loss

Category : World News

One of the main climate change concerns for Japan and other Asian countries with valuable and densely-populated low-lying coastal land is how much of their land may be threatened by rising sea levels and storm surges as the century advances.
Humans burning fossil fuels and clearing forests are pumping huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases into the atmosphere. The vast majority of climate scientists say this is warming the planet, an effect that is most pronounced in the polar regions where the bulk of the world’s ice is located.

Here is the original post: Amazing GRACE can measure world’s ice loss

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Toronto Zoo shows off polar bear cub

Category : World News

A three-month-old polar bear cub born prematurely at the Toronto Zoo last year was introduced to the public on Friday.

Read this article: Toronto Zoo shows off polar bear cub

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