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 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:48:55 PM EST
InfoViewer: Electricity use forecast to fall

Global electricity consumption will fall this year for the first time since 1945, according to the International Energy Agency.

The watchdog for developed energy consuming countries will tell energy ministers from the Group of Eight leading economies on Sunday that electricity demand will fall 3.5 per cent in 2009.

In China, where power use is seen as a more reliable barometer of economic activity than official economic measures, consumption will be more than 2 per cent lower than 2008. Russia will see a fall of almost 10 per cent, while countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will see a fall of almost 5 per cent.

Three-quarters of the global decline in consumption is accounted for by industrial rather than household demand, reflecting the fall in demand from China's manufacturing-heavy economy. Consumption in India, by contrast, is expected to increase 1 per cent.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:50:43 PM EST
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BBC - Mark Mardell's Euroblog

FREIBURG, Germany:

It's possibly my imagination, but the air here seems to taste cleaner. This pretty city nestling between the green hills of the Black Forest definitely does sound different. You can hear birdsong and the skittery clatter of bikes on cobblestones. The noise of a delivery lorry pulling up outside the rather magnificent town hall is a startling intrusion.

What is missing is the constant low thrum of traffic in the background. It's not that cars are completely banned from the city, but most of the centre, rather than the odd street, is a pedestrian zone. You pedal or walk to trams or trains. Freiburg can lay claim to being the greenest city in the world, and it's all rather pleasant.

But it is a political act. The city is the largest in Germany where the Green Party are in power. The Greens currently have 43 members of the European Parliament, two of them from Britain, and feel somewhat under pressure with so many other politicians putting the environment near the top of their priorities.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:56:29 PM EST
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Drinking from plastic bottles 'increases exposure to gender-bending chemical' - Telegraph

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that polycarbonate containers release the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) into liquid stored in them.

BPA has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in humans.

Drinking from plastic bottles increases people's exposure to a gender-bending chemical, a new study suggests.
by Fran on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 12:17:23 AM EST
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