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In the papers today - Thursday 7 December 2006

The Souter family is to collect more than £100m after Stagecoach, the transport company they founded, announced plans to return at least £400M to shareholders. Its chief executive, Brian Souter, has a 15% stake, while his sister Ann Gloag, now a non-executive director, has 11 per cent. Mr Souter, 51, and Ms Gloag, 63, founded the business in 1980 to take advantage of the liberalisation of public transport under the Thatcher government - The Independent
Global warming has begun to change the way microscopic ocean plant life absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - a trend that could lead to a dramatic increase in the heating power of the greenhouse effect. Satellite data gathered over the last 10 years has shown for the first time that the growth of marine phytoplankton - the basis of the entire ocean food chain -is being adversely affected by rising sea temperatures - The Independent Newly built 'zero carbon' homes will be exempt from stamp duty from next year. Chancellor Gordon Brown said it was the Government's ambition that by 2016 all new homes would be 'zero carbon' - even though a Treasury spokesman was unable to define what that means - The Daily Telegraph Gordon Brown came under strong attack from opposition parties and green lobby groups last night after responding to the government's own warnings on climate change with a modest £1bn package of green taxes in his pre-budget report. Little more than a month after the prime minister described the report into climate change by the Treasury economist Sir Nicholas Stern as the most important since Labour came to power, the chancellor's decision to double air passenger duty and to raise duty on petrol by 1.25% was derided by environmentalists and tax experts. The £1bn tax increase amounted to less than 0.1% of GDP, compared with the 1% of GDP Sir Nicholas said would be necessary to pay for work to curb carbon emissions - The Guardian

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