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In the papers today: 24.01.08

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Conflicting news about the environment today, with all the papers going large on the new EU targets for renewable energy generation but, a few pages later, reporting on Richard Branson's plans to burn tonnes of rocket fuel so that Princess Beatrice and Stephen Hawking can become two of the world's first space tourists.

The renewables targets are so high that even the normally apocalyptic Independent calls it 'a true energy revolution comparable in scale to the arrival of North Sea oil.' The Telegraph's top line on the story is the news that building the required windfarms and tidal barrages will cost a British family of four an average of £465 per year. The Evening Standard puts the bill at £730 per year, so someone's not doing their maths. The targets require the UK to get 38 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, but we should count ourselves lucky – Sweden has the highest target at 49 per cent.

In other news, Ken Shuttleworth has designed a pointless and massive sculpture at the University of Nottingham called Aspire – it is unclear whether the name was chosen by a management consultant or by Ken himself. The 60m-high steel cone is reminiscent of a 'whisk or a carpet beater' according to The Times – unfortunately this story didn't make it online.

In other news, the Evening Standard mysteriously claims that Londoners are 'worried about housing' (bless them). It adds that George Soros thinks there will definitely be a recession in Britain, and the Telegraph agrees, with the headline 'Chances of avoiding recession only "slight"'.

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