BBC Devon report today that:
A countryside group has raised concerns about Devon farmland being taken out of food production for solar farms.
The "countryside group" the BBC is referring to is in fact The Campaign to Protect Rural England. According to the BBC, Penny Mills from the CPRE has said that:
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At the end of last month the "Summer Olympics Special" edition of Time magazine carried a picture of Jessica Ennis on the cover. Just inside, however, was a double page photograph of "A bulldozed field in Geff, Illinois", together with the information that "A drought devastating stretches of the U.S. has forced many farmers to destroy their failed crops". That was accompanied on the Time web site by a series of photographs and an article entitled "The Great Drying Strikes Again". Time pointed out that:
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Way back in May 2009 the Guardian reported that:
The Obama administration took on the powerful farming interests in America's heartland today, making clear it does not see corn-based ethanol as part of the long-term solution to climate change.
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I don't know if the Gallagher Report had any influence on their thinking, but the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy has decided to back the proposals put forward by Luxembourg Green MEP Claude Turmes to mandate the use of second generation biofuels as part of the overall EU targets for the adoption of biofuels. The proposals also require that first-generation biofuels (manufactured from food crops such as corn, sugar and rapeseed), would need to meet strict sustainability criteria in order to count towards EU targets. These include social factors such as fair pay for all workers and respect for the land rights of local communities, as well as a requirement for biofuels to reduce carbon emissions by at least 45% compared to fossil fuels, rising to 60% in 2015.
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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently commissioned a survey from Professor Ed Gallagher, former chief of the Environment Agency and now head of the Renewable Fuels Agency. Prof. Gallagher was asked to investigate the effect of biofuels on food prices and on the environment in general.
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The latest edition of New Scientist magazine just landed on my desk. The cover shows a barrel of oil morphed into a bomb and proclaims "Oil Shock – You ain't seen nothing yet". This issue includes three articles about peak oil.
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