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Civil engineering in the news today - Tuesday 18 November

The government last night moved to tighten its commitment to the 80% reduction of carbon emissions by the year 2050, introducing a safeguard that a limit be placed on reductions achieved by buying international offsetting credits...

..During what will probably be the last few days of scrutiny before the climate change bill becomes law, the government made concessions in the House of Commons and the Lords, surprising green campaigners by tabling a further amendment to the energy bill - increasing from three megawatts to five the size of renewable projects that can benefit from its new feed-in tariffs - The Guardian

The mayor of Baghdad yesterday announced plans for an underground train network that will literally carve a swathe through the city's sectarian lines. If investors sign up, the world's most violent capital will soon have a $3bn (£2bn) metro. Sabir al-Issawi, Baghdad's mayor, said money had been set aside in next year's budget for a feasibility study - The Guardian

Government lawyers have warned ministers that legal challenges could delay its plan for the construction of nuclear power stations and exacerbate potential energy shortages. The fears are outlined in an internal advice note drawn up by City law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), looking at consultation on construction plans and how wider policy changes may affect the programme - The Guardian

There should be a moratorium on the expansion of all UK airports if the government's ambitious targets to cut CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 are to have any chance of success, according to a leading climate scientist. Kevin Anderson, a climate scientist at the University of Manchester's Tyndall Centre, said that technologies will not arrive quickly enough to offset the projected increase in air passenger numbers and that the only practical solution for the industry is to curb the demand for flying - The Guardian

Gordon Brown is coming under pressure from his backbenchers to scrap a tax on empty property that is blamed for the demolition of buildings that developers cannot sell - The Financial Times

The level of capital spending being brought forward to boost the economy in next week's pre-budget report is expected to total less than £5 billion - The Financial Times

There will be a catastrophic collapse in provision of new social housing at a time of record waiting lists without urgent intervention by the government, housing associations have warned - The Financial Times

The housebuilding industry has called for a tenfold increase in the £200 million fund set up by the government to buy unwanted homes from the private sector and turn them into social housing - The Financial Times

Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian company with the world's biggest natural gas reserves, is to build a pipeline direct to the Georgian enclave of South Ossetia following the war the breakaway region in August - The Financial Times

A powerful earthquake that struck off Indonesia's northern Sulawesi killed at least two people and injured nearly 40 after hundreds of houses collapsed - The Financial Times

JPMorgan lifted spirits in London's Docklands yesterday after announcing a £237M deal with Canary Wharf Group to develop a 1.9M square foot building in the district - The Financial Times

Train passengers face a miserable Christmas as large parts of the rail network will close for several days. Network Rail is under pressure to avoid a repeat of last year, when engineering works in the Midlands and around London overran by five days - Daily Telegraph

The Government has been accused of "bullying" Manchester into introducing pay-as-you-drive tolls, after saying the city will lose £1.5bn in public transport funding unless residents accept the scheme.Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, said that the money for new trains, buses and trams would be withheld unless a majority vote "yes" in a referendum on the plan next month - Daily Telegraph

Train reliability levels have finally returned to the standards before the 2000 Hatfield crash, MPs said yesterday. However, growing congestion on the railways is "magnifying" the effect of disruptions in the network, which is leaving passengers facing expensive delays - Daily Telegraph

A retired engineer has begun a legal battle in an attempt to defend his home against coastal erosion. Peter Boggis, 77, built his own coastal defences to save his home and those of his neighbours in north Suffolk - Daily Telegraph

Electricity generating costs will jump by 40% without a new nuclear power programme, Mike O'Brien, the energy minister, said yesterday in an attempt to win more support for the revival of an industry now led by th French. Mr O'Brien said Britain would be taking an unnecessary gamble on energy security without a nuclear contribution and rejected arguments that renewable energy and other technologies could fill the gap - Daily Telegraph

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