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Dossier: carbon offsetting

The IPCC embraced the notion of carbon offset schemes in the landmark Paris Agreement, but projects have faced criticism that they lack effectiveness and transparency. Mark Rowe investigates the world of carbon offsetting to determine the role it really plays on the path towards net zero
Hunting is a topic that attracts polarised viewpoints. But as Mark Rowe demonstrates, when it comes to limiting human-wildlife conflict and to wider conservation measures, it’s not always so simple
According to the World Conservation Union, Britain’s national parks ‘only just’ meet the nature conservation standards for international recognition. With tourist numbers far outpacing levels of wildlife, are we managing these vital green spaces in such a way that they can serve the needs of both people and nature at the same time?
For years, China was the go-to destination for exporting the West’s refuse material. But with an import ban now in place for everything from plastics to e-waste, and a growing global population producing an ever-greater amount of rubbish, what exactly is the future for a world awash with garbage?
In the 4th century BC, Aristotle proposed that earthquakes were caused by winds trapped in subterranean caves. Small tremors were triggered by air pushing on the cavern roofs, large ones by air breaking the surface. We now know a good deal more about how and why earthquakes happen. Yet the most important part of the jigsaw – when they will happen – continues to confound us as much as it did the ancient Greeks
As the world turns away from fossil fuels, one question often overlooked is what to do with the thousands of ageing oil and gas platforms left vacant across the planet. When first built, little thought was given as to what to do with these hulks at the end of their productive lives. Only now, it seems, are major oil companies waking up to the reality that something needs to be done
Natural capital is a way to quantify the value of the world that nature provides for us – the air, soils, water, even recreational activity. Advocates say this is crucial if biodiversity is to have any clout in a world governed by raw economics. Others believe the concept merely turns the natural world into a commodity. Is natural capital our last chance to halt the carnage mankind inflicts on the environment or are its supporters naively dancing with the devil?
A tightening of restrictions on the insecticides known as neonicotinoids has brought hope that the decline in honey bees and wild pollinators can be reversed. Yet concerns are growing as to how new technology could radically change the landscape. Are we heading towards a world of ‘frankenbees’, in which gene-edited bees are resistant to pesticides and where only the rich can afford to pay for pollinated crops?
Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister underbelly with human traffickers using the bright lights of Europe’s elite clubs as a lure for Africa’s vulnerable youth

Essential oil?

Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habitat destruction which follows its production. Does this ubiquitous crop deserve to be treated with such disdain?

Julysub 2020

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