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International Update Volume 44, Issue 7

UK FARMING WORSENS FLOODS

United Kingdom

The U.K. Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs is discussing rules that would prevent farmers from contributing to floods. Experts hold farmers partially responsible for the severe flooding in Somerset and other areas, citing certain farming practices. Scientists are particularly concerned about the production of maize, as farm vehicles compact the soil of maize fields, causing significant runoff. To combat this problem, Exeter University’s Professor Richard Brazier recommends banning the cultivation of maize on steep fields.

ECO COAL PELLETS TO HELP POLAND CUT EMISSIONS

Poland

After six years of testing, last month Polski Koks, Europe’s leading coke exporter, launched a new type of coal pellet intended to cut Poland’s emissions. Currently, coal-fired power stations generate 90% of Poland’s electricity. The new coal-based carbon pellets, called VARMO pellets, include nonpolluting biofuel components such as glycerine and other plant materials and could help Poland reduce its carbon emissions. According to Gerard Galeczka, Director of New Projects at Polski Koks, the VARMO pellets should have significant benefits for air quality.

NSW GOVERNMENT ALLOWS FORESTS TO BE BURNED FOR POWER

Australia

The government of New South Wales has cleared the way for the state’s forests to be used to generate electricity. Burning native vegetation to produce power had previously been banned, but new regulations would allow trees destined for pulp and paper production—as well as invasive native species and offcuts of sawlogs—to be burned in power stations.