Thursday, July 06, 2006

Events Update: London Critical Mass and Southwark Climate Summit

Last Friday I joined in with Critical Mass for the 3rd time--the second deliberate time. It was good fun and good exercise as usual.

For those of you who aren't familiar with critical mass, the concept is quite simple: the last Friday of every month people gather in a pre-defined location--usually on bikes but any form of non motorised transport is encouraged. Then everyone goes for a cycle/rollarblade/skateboard /etc., around the city. For legal reasons there isn't a 'leader' but on my 3rd critical mass I certainly know a few 'key people' although the level of guidance varies, the mass can veer off in any direction. The idea is to 'take back the streets', to promote the optimum form of transport and encourage others to get out their cars and on to there bikes. The mantra 'it's a party not a protest' seems to have some justification as there is always a really good vibe, with plenty of music and overwhelmingly positive responses from pedestrians.

On Saturday I attended Southwark Climate Summit, in place of Phil Thornhill of CCC who had been invited by Harriet Harman. There seems to be quite a contrast in the activities I`m involved in at the moment; one moment I`m involved in anarchist environmental activities such as critical mass (anarchist definition) the next I`m at climate meeting with government ministers...This pattern has repeated over previous months. Its been good, I like the variety.

A low light photo of Harriet Harman (not that ministers lurk in the shadows) , explaining that she is just catching on to the importance of climate change and that this summit is her first major contribution.

Technical difficulties delay what is otherwise a very interesting event. The event format was very conducive to discussion, short talks by 4 speakers followed by extensive discussion...notes of suggestions and then a final summary at the events end of future activities.

As always I was balancing between trying to make a useful contribution and dominating discussions. In the end I thought there where two useful points that it would be worth making. When we came to discuss international efforts my question followed someone who was talking about setting an emissions goal.

My comment #1: "I would just like to agree with the previous speaker in terms of the severity of the threat we face, rising sea levels are certainly one of the most serious problems likely to result from climate change. As mentioned 2 degrees Celsius is often taken stated to be a key tipping point in terms of the loss of the Greenland ice shelf, the melting of which would lead to seal level rise of around 8 the technology that I have mentioned at several of these meetings is carbon capture and storage, what I would like to say to Harriet and the other MP's here is this, it is essential that these new power stations being built in China are carbon capture and storage compatible, this is not THE solution to climate change but without it, it is physically impossible, impossible, for us to keep carbon dioxide concentrations bellow 450ppm, these power stations have a lifetime of 50 years, we must make sure they use ccs or at least that they are made compatible with this technology so that fitting it is not prohibitively expensive in the future"

My Comment #2: "I would just like to support the great work that X? Is doing with distributed energy systems and energy efficiency in Southwark, I think that if Tony Blair where to take a look at this approach then he might realise that there isn't actually an energy gap to need filling with nuclear power!"

So that's 3 MP's made aware of CCS, quite a few to go. Mp's present Harriet Harman, Simon Hughes and Tessa Jowell.

Climate Change Action

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At 10:59 PM, Blogger Simon Donner said...

I hear one concern among energy experts is the "committed" future emissions in the US and China, because of the planned construction of several new coal-burning power plants. The point of making any new plants at least CCS compatible is a good one.

Is each critical mass ride organized locally? Or is the some national / international network involved?


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