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UK to expand shale gas drilling despite protests

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The UK government is planning to open up thousands of square miles of countryside to fracking in spite of mass protests, UK media report. Local communities will be offered 100,000 pounds for every shale gas well where test drilling is conducted.

On Tuesday the Conservative-led government issued a 49-page energy roadmap outlining ways in which oil and natural gas, including shale deposits, could be exploited in the country.

Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has identified new areas across the UK thought to hold rich, untapped stores of shale gas, The Daily Telegraph reports. As part of a new initiative by Westminster, these areas may become subject to test shale gas drilling, which could pave the way for fracking if large deposits of shale gas are found.

“The government is keen to explore the potential for shale gas in the UK which could bring major benefit in terms of growth, jobs and energy security,” British Energy Minister Michael Fallon said in a statement.“However we must develop shale responsibly, both for local communities and for the environment.”

The British Geological Survey estimates there may be enough shale gas inland to last the country more than 40 years though only a small fraction of land is open for exploration, UPI reports. The report, produced for the government by engineering giant Amec, said largescale production could generate thousands of jobs and provide up to £1bn ($1.63 billion) to local communities.

Greenpeace, however, has warned that the new test area could encompass over 51,000 square kilometers. Currently only a small area of the UK had been authorized for test drilling – around 11,000 square kilometers.

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Photo from Twitter/@nodashforgas

The controversial practice of fracking has met with widespread opposition, with local communities taking to the streets in protest. In the city of Salford, Greater Manchester, activists blocked access to a test drilling site on Monday, placing a 1.5-ton wind turbine blade in front of the Barton Moss facility in what they called a “symbolic” act of protest.

“We’ve only had a handful of exploratory drilling sites across the UK, but already we’ve see huge local opposition,” Helen Rimmer, a campaigner from Friends of the Earth, told RT. “People do not want this in their local community and they don’t want it anywhere else.”

Rimmer added that in a recent local survey “seven times” as many people wanted a wind turbine in their community as a shale gas well.

Cameron says no to EU fracking regulation

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned the European Commission not to propose European Union-wide legislation to regulate the bloc’s fracking industry.

In a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made public on Tuesday, Cameron warned EU-wide rules could stifle investment in Britain’s shale gas industry.

“I am not in favor of new legislation where the lengthy timeframes and significant uncertainty involved are major causes for concern,” Cameron wrote in the letter dated December 4, Reuters reports. “The industry in the UK has told us that new EU legislation would immediately delay imminent investment.”

Cameron’s government has championed fracking as a way of reducing rising energy bills and making Britain energy-independent. In addition, it has promised local communities 100,000 pounds ($163,000) for every test well drilled, regardless of whether they find deposits of shale gas.

“The UK is sitting on significant amounts of shale and the potential prize for energy security and investment is huge. This gives companies the huge incentive to step up the search for shale and find out what is recoverable,” Fallon told The Daily Telegraph.

However, potential energy independence could come at a price. Environmentalists maintain the process, which involves blasting water and chemicals at high pressure underground to dislodge tapped gas deposits, can contaminate water supplies and cause minor earthquakes.

The UK government found the “hydraulic fracture treatments” implemented during fracking in 2011 by company Cuadrilla had triggered minor earthquakes, measuring 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale, respectively, in the city of Blackpool.

Fracking has been a major bone of contention in the US, where the practice is far more widespread than the UK.

In November an environmental committee at Massachusetts Statehouse approved a bill, imposing a 10-year ban on fracking following a number of minor quakes. The legislation, which has yet to be approved by lawmakers, is geared at ensuring “the health and prosperity of our communities is maintained.”

The post first appeared on rt.com

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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Environment

Saving the Planet? It Is a Local Issue

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When we get caught up in common environmental issues, we start to think that it’s a bigger problem, that is down to centralised areas and big cities. And while urban areas are expanding, the route to sustainability as a solution comes from an approach beyond urbanism. Because urban areas bear the brunt because they have more CO2 emissions and larger carbon footprints, the thing to note in this respect that saving the planet is not necessarily a large-scale issue. In fact, it is a local issue. 

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The largest cities require urban developments, and this is a part of modern life. But when we go back to the 1990s, when sustainable city initiatives began emerging, we can see where the argument for the compact city began. This can have a positive impact on sustainability in a variety of ways but also improves greenhouse gas emissions. But this is where smaller communities can become invaluable. 

Smaller communities have more power in many respects. From the perspective of local councils, it can be easier to incorporate an initiative that benefits the community, rather than having to go all the way to Westminster. Now, it can be easier to sign up for a local initiative, such as a solar community, rather than having to get permission from a higher power. And from the perspective of a community, it is far more controllable.

Saving the planet in an urban sense is about changing the infrastructure, which can take years, if not decades. However, smaller communities are able to utilise the location for the benefit of their immediate surroundings. This is something very important to note. Whenever you want to make a significant impact, be it in charity, or in the environment, it starts at home. As saving the planet is a local issue in this respect, it’s far easier to communicate the message. Smaller communities are in close contact. This means the message is easily spread. Throw into the mix community meetings, and how businesses look to develop on local issues, rather than spearheading initiatives overseas or in big cities, and it provides a tactical methodology to help on a small scale. 

When you combine this with the fact that smaller organisations such as schools, naturally have a lower carbon footprint, this is the perfect opportunity to teach the younger generations how they can positively impact the world. Saving the planet is a local issue. We have to remember that if we are to make any impact, we have to look after our own. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t rely on large organisations or big cities to do the job, but if you want to do something right, do it yourself. 

Saving the planet is something that we can control from our own home. From the practices that we preach to the examples we set, saving the planet is about keeping it close to home before you start to spread yourself far and wide. If every small town started to look after its own carbon emissions, this would pay for the country, and the world, several times over.

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Integrating Waste Management To Improve Business Productivity

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Recently, governments have increased their incentives on business to employ environmentally friendly methods in their production lines. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that businesses are working round the clock to ensure that they adhere to the regulations.

Business waste management requires a collective effort from all the stakeholders. The employees and customers need to be sensitized on the importance of environmentally friendly practices to boost their eco-performance. 

Reduce Wastage

Production in business usually has many wastes ranging from energy wastage, residues, or solid wastes. You need to assess your production plan from purchasing, production, documentation, and packaging. Once you have assessed, identify the key areas that you can work on to minimize usage and wastage.

Packaging

It would be best if you considered using biodegradable packaging materials that will reduce paper wastage. There are packaging materials that you can use that will help you cut on paper and plastic wastage. You can also choose to bulk purchase of materials needed to reduce the amount of packaging paper you will have.

Electrical Systems

In the past, electrical wires were manufactured using cloth wires to enhance insulation, longevity, and safety in the workplace. You easily damage the wires during daily production activities, and its disposal could create large volumes of unnecessary plastics. 

Though you can recycle these wastes, the costs incurred compared to the systems’ service is a loss to the business. However, this industrial practice has been discontinued and restructured to alternative uses due to technological advancements.

Energy Sources

Using Renewable Energy Sources also plays a significant role in reducing energy wastage. There will be fewer emissions into the environment, and you will also reduce the energy costs you use. The employees need to be sensitized on efficient energy management practices like switching off machines and lights that are not in use, proper usage of specific equipment, and immediate repair and service of machines once they break down.

Building and Construction

Contractors involved in building and construction have included energy and environmental management in their practice. Several businesses have taken the liberty to redesign the buildings to use efficient energy sources and recycled materials. This development is a step in the right direction of environmental management.

Solid Wastes 

The wastes in the business need to be properly disposed of to observe hygiene and cleanliness. Poor garbage disposal techniques will endanger the health of the employees and the immediate community.

It would help if you employed recycling techniques like water treatment plants in the industry to reduce the toxicity of the waste. The types of strainers, baskets, and traps used in the water treatment plant play a significant role in the quality of the process equipment.

To ascertain the water treatment plant’s quality, you need to take a keen interest in the types of weaving employed in its manufacture. Be sure to investigate if the weaving matches your purpose of the plant and your content of waste. 

Waste management is a gradual process that has its profitable returns. It helps you to cut down on some costs and increases productivity. 

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Environment

How To Save Water At Work

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When you’re at home, you know how to save water and do better for your house. Living in a green way is easy at home, but what about at work? When you are not the owner of a business premises, it’s not always easy to be green. However, there are things that you can do as a business that will ensure that you are analyzing your water efficiency and you can then reduce the water use in your workplace.

Below, we’ve put together some of the best ways that you can conserve water in your workplace. You can continue your green efforts in the workplace this way!

Get Your Management Team On Your Side

If you are planning to start water conservation efforts at work, you need the rest of your management team on your side. They need to be happy to work with you and ensure that your water conservation efforts are successful. If you’re working as one team, you’re far more likely to save the planet a little aggravation and you can successfully prevent flooding, too.

Research 

You need to know the best ways to conserve water, and we’re willing to bet that you haven’t looked at whether you can get permission from your landlord about installing water tanks from  watertankfactory.com.au/water-tanks-dalby/. You need to research what you can and cannot do in terms of saving water in any way possible. 

Put Together A List

You need to know why you are saving water and what it will be for. Filtering rainwater for free, drinkable water in the office is a genius way to keep employees cool. You can also use it for the external garden of your business, as a way to flush the toilets and you can also use it to clean the floors. 

Know How You Already Use Your Water

How does your business consume water? Where is it mostly used through the working week? If you can ensure that you are using your water properly, you will be able to encourage your staff to do the same thing. Conservation only works when everyone is on board!

Bring In The Experts

Do you have leaky faucets? Are you dealing with pipes that are broken or cracked in any way? Any of these things can cause your water payments to shoot right up. Bringing in the experts to assess your current water systems and evaluate your pipework is the best way to ensure that you are saving water. You can stop the waste when you have someone in to assess what you are dealing with.

Save It

By buying rainwater tanks and saving the rainfall, you can use less of the water from the faucets and the pipes in the building. You can add a good filtration system and this will help you to get rid of the nasties in the water and reduce the contaminants that you could be facing.

Water conservation is not just for your house. And now you know how to get it right!

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