Letter from the Editor: air pollution, corporate sustainability, and biodiversity

Good news abounds in edie’s bulletin this week. The Government has revealed that UK companies are saving £0.4 billion with measures to protect the environment, and spent more on environmental protection in 2000 than they did in the mid-nineties.

Perfection is a little way off, it seems, as the Government is also calling for companies to prepare to cut their energy bills this winter – you can save up to 20%, and be warmed by the rosy glow of satisfaction at having helped to curb climate change just a little bit. Alternatively, you could think of it this way: as an individual, you could save £80,000 over your lifetime by reducing your impact on climate change. What could you do with an extra £80,000? Early retirement? Or perhaps buy a yacht – a sailing yacht, not motor-powered. But the villa in the south of France would be out of the question as the air miles would be too environmentally-expensive, though not if you sailed.

Other air pollution news this week is not so good. It has been revealed that carbon monoxide emissions around the world could be being substantially underestimated. There is also further evidence that air pollution is causing cardiopulmonary disease, and the amount of ground level ozone in Europe frequently breached critical limits during this last summer.

But finally, there’s good news for wildlife – a rare occurrence indeed, starting with the great crested newts in Kent that have been given their own highway under the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Biodiversity in general, however, needs to be catalogued urgently, particularly species that are only a few millimetres in size. The problem is that taxonomists are as rare as many of the species they need to be cataloguing. The message is, how can we save species if we know nothing about them?

Kind regards

Helen André


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