Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for June 4th, 2007

Global warming ‘is three times faster than worst predictions’

leave a comment »

The Independent

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

Published: 03 June 2007



Global warming is accelerating three times more quickly than feared, a series of startling, authoritative studies has revealed.

They have found that emissions of carbon dioxide have been rising at thrice the rate in the 1990s. The Arctic ice cap is melting three times as fast – and the seas are rising twice as rapidly – as had been predicted.

News of the studies – which are bound to lead to calls for even tougher anti-pollution measures than have yet been contemplated – comes as the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations prepare for the most crucial meeting yet on tackling climate change.

The issue will be top of the agenda of the G8 summit which opens in the German Baltic resort of Heiligendamm on Wednesday, placing unprecedented pressure on President George Bush finally to agree to international measures.

And, as we already know, Bush is not going to bend, Canada is not going to live up to its Kyoto commitments and China is opposed to firm caps.

As Gord puts it “Nice planet. Shame we can’t afford it.”

Written by Stephen Rees

June 4, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Bird trouble

with 6 comments

Bird trouble

Airport staff scared two million birds (some were chased multiple times) away from the runways using pyrotechnics, sirens, lights, propane cannons, and two border collies, up from 1.6 million in 2005 and one million in 2002.

There is a significant absence from this list and one of the most effective ways of reducing the need to shoot birds. And we have known about this method for a long, long time.

Birds were a real problem at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London’s Hyde Park. Paxton’s magnificent Crystal Palace not only enclosed some live trees but also their bird inhabitants. They could not be shot without breaking the glass, and no-one had any idea what to do. So Queen Victoria consulted the elder statesman, and retired general, The Duke of Wellington. He had a simple answer.

“Sparrowhawks, Ma’am”

Trained falcons are in use at Toronto Pearson. Knowledge Network had a very good documentary about them recently, made several years ago. And in 1988 a review found the methodology worked well

Evaluation. – There is a sound biological basis to the use of falconry for bird control. Pest birds
are readily dispersed by falcons and will not habituate because the threat is real. Allowing a
falcon to kill a pest bird on occasion strengthens the threat. The fact that falconry is a “hands on”
technique that is deployed selectively further enhances it effectiveness over an automatic product
that is controlled by a timer.
Experienced handlers and trained raptors are required; neither may be available on short
notice. Raptors can not be used at night, or during periods of high winds or heavy rains.
Recommendation. – Falconry is recommended as a highly effective component of an airport bird
control program. Falconry can be used in conjunction with other deterrent techniques.

Why not here?

Written by Stephen Rees

June 4, 2007 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Air Travel, Environment

Tagged with , , ,