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/ 8 April 2008

UK seeks carbon loophole

Britain is seeking to change the rules of European renewable energy targets to make it easier for the United Kingdom to fulfil its commitments. Only 3% of the UK’s power comes from renewable energy, but ministers have agreed to make this 15% within 12 years. To help reach this goal, the government has started lobbying the European Union over the way the target is calculated.

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/ 21 December 2007

How the human race got on in 2007

On an evolutionary level you could say the species had a fabulously successful year. It increased by more than 80million people and most of its 6,5billion members lived longer than they could have expected just 30 years ago. People moved around and traded with one another more than ever and mostly survived whatever the natural world chucked at them.

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/ 12 November 2007

Food crisis begins to bite

Empty shelves in Caracas. Food riots in West Bengal and Mexico. Warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan Africa. Soaring prices for basic foods are beginning to lead to political instability, with governments being forced to step in to artificially control the cost of bread, maize, rice and dairy products.

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/ 3 September 2007

Biofuelling the food crisis

Challenged by President George Bush to produce 133-billion litres of non-fossil transport fuels by 2017 to reduce United States dependency on imported oil, thousands of farmers are patriotically turning the US corn belt from the bread basket of the world into an enormous fuel tank.

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/ 5 January 2007

How a river helped Seoul reclaim its heart and soul

Just more than a year ago several million people headed to a park in the centre of Seoul, the capital of South Korea and seventh-largest city in the world. They didn’t go for a rock festival, a football match or a political gathering, but mostly just to marvel at the surroundings, to get some fresh air and to paddle in the river.

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/ 13 November 2006

The big drought down under

Australia’s blistering summer has only just begun, but reservoir levels are dropping fast, crop forecasts have been slashed, and great swathes of the continent are entering what scientists this week called a "one-in-1 000-years drought”. With many regions now in their fifth year of drought, the government called an emergency water summit in Canberra.

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/ 23 June 2004

The end of Eden

Kong Chiong Lok, known as "King Kong", is the face of the global logging industry; a middle-aged, cheerful Malaysian working right on the equator deep in the Gabonese forests, cutting African wood with American machinery to make flooring and plywood for the Chinese and European markets. But the bad news is, the global logging industry is stripping forests unsustainably.

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/ 10 December 2003

Tech industry kept on its toes

The Technology Top 100 is an odd competition. Winners receive an award but no money. Even small enterprises have to fly themselves to the gala dinner in Midrand. And the process of applying is arduous. So why is it that there was a 37% increase in entries compared to last year?

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/ 10 October 2003

Forced to slum it

This week the UN took to the streets of Rio, New York, Cairo and Nairobi to announce the arrival of the "new urban revolution". The explosive growth of world cities in the past few decades, it said, has left more than 900-million people in slums, with the probability that twice as many more will live in insanitary, overcrowded, unofficial settlements within 30 years.

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/ 14 June 2002

Insects resist GM crops

Scientists have become embroiled in an international row over genetically modified cotton after a study in China suggested for the first time that the crop was permanently damaging the environment and that insects were building up resistance to it.

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/ 24 May 2002

An answer to their prayers

How Colombia’s ancient U’wa tribe sent a US oil giant packing. When geologists from the United States oil giant, Oxy, found what they believed was one of the largest oilfields in Latin America in 1994, there was jubilation in the company’s Los Angeles headquarters.