A great mistake that everyone makes is justifying the 'status quo'. The existence of a given order is no justification for it.
I think that a large number of people would agree that
"China should stop it's growth in emissions immediately"
I don't think that a large number would agree that
"The USA should cut it's emissions 80% immediately"
Both would lead to emissions of around 4 tones of co2 equivalent per person (rough guess here), then we remember that china makes...just about everything! A lot of carbon is emitted for Americans and Europeans to have manufactured products and it is on the Chinese emissions balance sheet. Also, the USA, like the UK got wealthy on the back of cheap fossil fuel energy. China has emitted only around 1.3 times the GHG's of the UK whereas it has 1300'000'000 people not 60'000'000 so there is a great deal of debt by industrialised nations.
A fascinating insight into the injunction that BAA are trying to gain over 5 million people. The injunction would ban the members of around 15 organisations, including the National Trust, RSPB and Woodland Trust from travelling along major pieces of infrastructure such as the Piccadilly Line and the two main local motorways. Apparently the law being used was designed to stop stalkers! So peaceful protest against what has been described as the most serious problem of our time is now being seen as akin to stalking...Hope to see you there!
The application by Heathrow airport for the injunction has been brought under the Protection from Harassment Act, which was originally introduced as an anti-stalking law. Over the past few years, however, it has been used by lawyers anxious to curtail protest activities by campaigners – notably animal rights activists.
Typically, however, judges have been reluctant to extend protections sought under the anti-harassment law too widely.
For example, a number of companies being targeted by animal rights campaigners have succeeded in securing special “exclusion zones” around company premises and employees’ homes. But efforts by Oxford university to curb protest activity across a swathe of the city failed when the proposed non-congregation zone was said by a judge to be “inordinately large” and “impossible to identify”.
Climate Camp: How Can We Mainstream the Marginalised?
The Camp for Climate Action, could, potentially be sidelined as an event for environmental extremists, since camping outside an airport is hardly a mainstream activity.
How could the airport owners possibly remove this option from the media?
Ahh, i got it! They could ban all the members from a whole range of groups such as the RSPB (one of the UK's largest membership bird conservation clubs) and the National Trust (the one that protects historic buildings and our best nature reserves). These are two of fifteen groups that are set to be banned from a large area around Heathrow airport...an amazingly brazen attack on civil liberties by large corporate power. Not exactly the sort of thing to get the support of local people, or the media!
Mileage Standards: Supported if Tough and Binding!
Three key points from this survey for me.
Mileage standards are hugely popular across the states polled. These states where polled as there representatives don't yet have a stance.
Mileage standards are overwhelmingly supported by republicans and democrats. Key concerns are energy independence, climate change and fuel costs.
Mileage standards where most strongly supported if strong and legally binding.
The presentation from pollsters and questions can be downloaded as an mp3.
On July 23, the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency released new bipartisan polling in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Michigan that pulled from more than 30 congressional districts. The surveys found overwhelming voter support for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation increasing automobile fuel efficiency standards at least as strong as those passed by the U.S. Senate in June. The polls, conducted by The Mellman Group (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R) July 13-16 found vast support for increased standards in each of the individual Congressional Districts and states surveyed.
Mark Mellman, President and CEO, The Mellman Group
Bill McInturff, Partner, Public Opinion Strategies
Kevin Curtis, Senior Advisor, Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency
Phyllis Cuttino, Director, Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency (Moderator)
"Next month's Camp for Climate Action will put Heathrow airport at the frontline of direct action on climate change. Hundreds of people, including many from the local community, will be camping there."
Trailer of documentary about last years camp here.
The camp dates are drawing nearer and nearer and we're all desperate to know where it will be... but we'll just have to wait a little longer!
But what we do know is that if is that if you get yourself to Staines railway station in West London by 10am on Tuesday 14th August, you will be greeted by our friendly welcome team and promptly transported via a magical mystery tour, to the camp! (There will also be lifts to the camp later in the day and throughout the week.)
Camp for Climate Action comes to Heathrow this summer
Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and all our efforts to tackle climate change in other sectors are undone by the massive growth in air travel. Holding the camp at Heathrow aims to highlight the lunacy of the government's airport expansion plans, target industry giants profiteering from the climate crisis, and raise awareness of the need to fly less. The camp will also support local residents in their long-term struggle against the building of a third runway and the destruction of their communities.
There will be a day of mass direct action aiming to disrupt the activities of the airport and the aviation industry, but in the interests of public safety there will be no attempt to blockade runways.
Although the location is different, the philosophy of the camp remains the same: to be a place for the burgeoning network of people taking radical action on climate change around the country to come together for a week of low-impact living, education, debate, networking, strategising, celebration, and direct action. The camp will feature over 100 workshops covering topics such as climate change impacts, carbon offsetting, biofuels, peak oil, permaculture, practical renewables, campaign strategy, skills for direct action, and much more. Run without leaders by everyone who comes along, it will be a working ecological village using renewable energy, composting waste and sourcing food locally.
It all comes down to us, now. We are the last generation that can do anything about climate change. In 20 or 30 years' time, should we not change our ways, we'll be committed to emissions increases that will see forests burn, soils decay, oceans rise, and millions of people die. If we don't get this issue right, so much else is lost too.
We still have time, but not for long. Make it count.
Why target aviation?
It is the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions. [in the UK]
It has been left out of the first faltering frameworks to control emissions, eg. the Kyoto Protocol and the Climate Bill.
It is the most damaging form of transport.
Unlike the other high emitting sectors (e.g. energy and food production), there is no alternative sustainable technology. The only way to reduce emissions from aviation is to reduce the number of flights.
And unlike those other sectors, aviation is not a necessity.
There is a major airport expansion programme planned at 21 airports, with increases in capacity equivalent to a new Heathrow every 5 years. This expansion programme locks us into increased emissions, and undoes all our other efforts elsewhere to reduce emissions.
Why target Heathrow?
Nowhere in the UK is there a larger source of CO2 emissions. Most countries emit less greenhouse gases than Heathrow's planes.
Heathrow is the world's busiest international airport.
It is an iconic global symbol of aviation.
Heathrow is the heart of the UK's aviation industry.
Heathrow is the central plank of the government's airport expansion plans. Heathrow has a planned third runway that can be stopped.
The third runway would bulldoze entire villages and destroy communities. There is a big, established, long-term local campaign against Heathrow and BAA that we can join forces with.
There is an opportunity to highlight bias in the corrupt planning process in favour of big business and development.
The presence of Harmondsworth detention centre nearby highlights the plight of environmental refugees and the fact that climate change is fundamentally an issue of social and global injustice.
EPURON GmbH, a subsidiary of Conergy AG, won the top honor for best film advertising spot at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes. The "Power of Wind" ad was recognized as the best tv ad from Germany at Cannes. It was created by Nordpol+ Hamburg.
An open letter to all who are interested in the defence of the earth and the standing-up to power. Please forward, copy, or circulate.
Place: Tara Valley, Hill of Tara, County Meath, Republic of Ireland Time: NOW
History: Tara Hill and Valley are part of an ancient temple complex of earthworks, henges, raths (forts), and souterrains (underground tomb chambers). Many of the works pre-date the pyramids. Tara was used as the crowning place of the old high kings of Ireland. It is still in use for ceremonies today, and is particularly associated with Samhain (Hallowe’en).
Threat: The Irish government have sanctioned a route through the Tara valley of the M3 motorway. This road will be tolled, is the least-favourable of the five options available according to principles of road-building and economic sense, will ’save’ fifteen minutes of time to the M50 bottleneck (British M25 equivalent) during the morning rush hour to Dublin, and is being sited on a stretch of road that is not even that busy. A gigantic complex of shopping malls is planned at an interchange, due to be sited 1000 yards from the Hill of Tara. Many ancient monuments have already been destroyed. Many more new and unusual findings DUG UP DURING THE EXCAVATION OF THE LAND FOR THE ROAD have been either recorded by record’ (ie made a note of in a book and destroyed) or are being stored in warehouses. Such ancient artefacts dug up include human bones from old graves.
Actions to date: Around ten to twelve regular people have taken it in shifts for the past year in keeping an unbroken vigil fire and camp burning on Tara Hill. These people have held up the progress of the road by direct action, including digger-diving thus far.
Current Situation: The European Parliament (EU) has told the Irish Government that the work they are doing is illegal and to cease immediately. Just after this was announced in the press, many more diggers and machines were sent, on Wednesday July 18th, to a monument on the site known as ‘Soldier’s Hill’ for the road company to establish a compound. Having recruited many more drivers, and turned them into nominal security guards for the day, the company deployed its staff to aggressively remove all protestors from site. Seven protestors were arrested for not following a policeman‘s orders and public order offences. Three were bailed at 500 Euros, with the condition they cease to go to the sites to protest. A further four refused those bail conditions and were remanded on a week’s custody at Clover Hill prison, Dublin, until a court case pending Wednesday July 25th. Internet footage of the high levels of violence utilised by the road company’s men surprised even the long-term campaigners at Rossport, used to dealing with such intimidation.
The Last Stand: A court case is pending in the EU court, but the road company, aiming to save on much lost time and money has started a big push, and has now reached the part of the route where a gigantic WOODHENGE was unearthed during the excavation. This site is currently being ‘recorded by record’ by state-appointed archaeologists. Their work is SAID to need another two to three weeks to complete. The EU court case is due mid-to-late August The Henge is looking like the site of the last stand. The company has drafted in round-the-clock security. The Irish Police has said it will arrest anyone found on site, even if they are merely mounting a peaceful protest. The road company and the Irish Government have continued destroying monuments, even before the ‘recording by record’ process has finished. There are currently around ten to twenty protestors on site.
A Plea: If anyone out there has it in their heart, time, space, trip, whatever to come and lend a hand, the following three general areas would love to be catered for:
1. DIRECT ACTION: anyone with any experience of, enjoyment in doing and a continued desire to do locking-on, tree-house building, ropeway-slinging and so on are instructed to make their way to the site as soon as possible. This plea is especially directed to those who are part of the victorious Nine Ladies camp in Derbyshire, who may be at a loose end and may want to get involved in this action. It may only last a month, one way or the other. Although Irish police has said it will arrest anyone on site, there is still the possibility of digger-diving and road-blocking, provided the numbers are increased.
2. MAGIC ACTION: as part of a psychological warfare front, music, dance, song, partying and all the rest of it are very welcome at this time. This is not only a call for Direct Action people. The festival of Lughnasa (Lammas or Harvest Festival) starts on Wednesday August 1st and it is intended to hold ceremony, play games, sing, recite poetry, and have a party in the woods, from then and throughout the weekend of July 3rd to 5th, and on and on. Even if you can only make it over for a few days, do come for the party anyway!
3. PRACTICAL ACTION: All manner of kitchen workers, camp-cleaners, fire-tenders- you-name-it-ers, whatever it takes to maintain a decent camp. There are always things to do, and there are not really enough there yet to make the stand that is required.
THE NUMBERS GAME:
Experienced Direct Action protestors reckon that a good stand could be made at the Henge if there are AT LEAST ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE THERE. If there are TWO HUNDRED, then the position is that much stronger, while THREE HUNDRED would, it is reckoned, tip the balance against the road company.
In order for the road to be stopped, AS MANY AS POSSIBLE are pleaded with to help in any way they can, to come to Tara AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Otherwise, it may be too late.
Thank you for your time.
We Hope to See you on the Hill
yours, in love of the land,
THE FIANNA FAERY (Soldiers of Faery) TARA BRIGADE HILL OF TARA destroya
The UK parliament's environmental audit committe has just release it's latest report.
The committee chairman Tim Yeo highlighted the damage cause by poorly run schemes, perticularly in preventing people from making the valuable step of offsetting there emissions due to lack of trust:
“We are concerned that prospects for growth in carbon offsetting, and the accompanying benefits in terms of lower global emissions, are being held back by suspicions that a lack of regulation and transparency in the market is allowing some schemes to be promoted which do not achieve acceptable outcomes. This is a pity in view of the contribution offsetting can make to tackling climate change."
Tim also pointed to the opportunity that the British govornment has in developing robust standards for effective offsets.
“The UK has the opportunity to lead the world in developing robust and helpful guidance. An effective government code of practice which endorses meaningful offsets could assist people in choosing the best way to offset their emissions."
The leadership currently present in London with regards carbon trading was highlighted as territory worth maintaining.
“The UK's financial and carbon markets have much to gain from a rapid growth in what is increasingly seen as a vital component of commercial activity and corporate responsibility.”
An English language publication covering environmental issues in eastern Europe, that's something i haven't seen before.
What Green Horizon dose...
Green Horizon assists the REC in its mission to promote public participation in environmental decision making by providing information on the environment and encouraging cooperation among regional stakeholders.
Green Horizon reports on the cases and stories that shape the environment and sustainable development in Central and Eastern Europe. The magazine is useful for professionals working for businesses, international organisations, national governments, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions and the media.
The views and opinions expressed in Green Horizon do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe.
... Green Horizon serves as a common source of information for governments, administrators, experts, professors, businesses and NGOs in this region. It’s also a platform for communicating regional concerns to the rest of the world.
... Green Horizon alerts readers to environmental degradation, developments in policy, changes in society and innovations in business and technology.We provide pertinent reporting and authoritative guidance from experts who work in the region.
Looking for some logic to the strange weather we have had in the UK (warmest May and wettest June on record) I found this from the MetOffice.
Record-breaking June rainfall figures
Provisional statistics from the Met Office have today shown that June has been the wettest since records began in 1914.
The UK-wide average figure of 134.5 mm has beaten the previous highest June total of 121.2 mm in 1980. Records for England and Northern Ireland have also been broken.
The month saw some extremely high daily rainfall totals, with 103.1 mm falling in the 24-hour period ending at 10 p.m. on 25 June in Fylingdales, North Yorkshire. At this stage, it is not possible to say whether intense rainfall events are caused by climate change.
However, there is an expectation of heavier extreme rainfall events in most places as climate warms and the atmosphere becomes moister.
Chief Scientist at the Met Office, John Mitchell said: "In the UK, extreme rainfall is likely to increase in winter, but in summer the predictions are unclear. Improved modelling and understanding in the future will help us to reduce this uncertainty for the UK."
Despite the large amounts of rain across many parts of the country, the average UK temperature has been above the long-term average. June 2007 had a mean temperature of 13.7 °C, while the long-term average is 12.6 °C.
The higher-than-normal mean UK temperature for June follows a trend that has become a regular feature over recent months. The last time mean UK temperatures were below average was in March 2006.
The Met Office works with government, the public and the private sector to forecast and advice on the possible consequences and risks of climate change. With the 'normal' baselines changing, we all need to seek advice to make informed planning decisions and begin to put in place adaptation measures to meet the challenges posed by climate change.
I have been reading quite a bit about business recently. Not a topic that i`m usually to interested in but it's been novel. However, the 'reading between the lines' and 'connecting the dots' has started to get on my nerves. It will be nice to change and read on some different topics.
My current 'wish list' on Amazon, books i`m planning to buy soon.
As you will see if you take a look, there are a few novels, i like russian literature (in English translation!); also a few spin off's from my favourtie book recently 'capitalism as if thw world matters'; then a political book by Orwell (chomsky describes it as Orwell's best); then some books on cities and urban design;then some Marx and some Chomsky (it should be noted in the name of ballance that i have already read On The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith so looking at both sides dosen't make me a communist!), finally a look at fractals and natural complexity.
The necessary changes have also to be seen as desirable changes, good for people, their health, their quality of life – and not just good for the prospects of future generations. This is a “here and now” agenda, as well as an agenda for tomorrow.
There have been several groups of business leaders calling for action on climate change recetly, including the Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC--Chaired by Columbia University) and the Climate Action Partnership (CAP--Chaired by Pew Centre for Global Climate Change).
Now another group (Via Carbon Planet) broader yet, has got together to call for action on climate change, and the attendant regulatory certainty that they can work within.
This new grouping includes Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Peabody Coal , both of whom have lobbied massively and persistently against climate change regulation. Whilst this change is encouraging, the latest partnership doesn't get into details on what is required to reduce emissions.
I characterised a recent article by Jim Manzi as a repositioning of the climate skeptic line, position 5, climate change is caused by us, it is bad, we can do something about it, it is worth doing this, but lets not be hasty we don't want a carbon tax or cap and trade.
This final position isn't ruled out by the latest partnership, yet it is clear that cap and trade is required, possibly along with a carbon tax, and a whole suite of more climate friendly policies. The major transformative nature of climate change has to be accepted for us to approach our goals.
Producing 1kg of beef results in more CO2 emissions than going for a three-hour drive while leaving all the lights on at home, scientists said today.
A team led by Akifumi Ogino at the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan, trawled through data on aspects of beef production including calf raising, animal management and the effects of producing and transporting feed.
They are calling for an overhaul of the beef industry, after their audit revealed producing the meat caused substantial amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
It's worth noting that beef consistently scores badly in terms of it's climate change impact, other meet's often do far better. A general rule that i am starting to use is 'avoid beef, moderate the rest of your dietary meat intake'.
I love the blurb about this podcast, the speaker is described as an optimist, this is justified by the fact that he thinks we can avoid climate change becoming a 'completecatastrophe'. In uncertain situations views on outcomes are determined more by personality than by anything else, but i lean towards the thought that not believing climate change is going to be at least a very serious problem is starting to look not just optimistic but like naive wishful thinking. The most important uncertainties have been reduced and the scope of the challenge is daunting for almost anyone with a true grasp of the picture.
From The Carnegie Council [on foreign relations] podcast.
Michael Oppenheimer explains (MP3) climate change and discusses ways to deal with this mounting crisis. A self-described optimist, he believes that we can change our behavior and prevent complete catastrophe.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is holding it's annual distortion of science awards. And this year there is a lot of distorted science to highlight. Here are a few of my favourites, simplicity does it for me.
There Kyoto Protocol was an important start in the fight against climate change, however there where many inadequacies. One of the most important is the absence of industrialised nations such as the US and Australia from the agreement, this problem--of comprehensive buy-in from the developed world--has been exacerbated by the complete lack of effort made by Canada, a signitory.
Australia has already declared the intention to enact a cap and trade scheme by 2011, recent indications are that this will be bought forward. The US looks likely to join suite soon, if democrats are ellected this is a near certainty, if the Republicans get back in (which seems quite unlikely) then we may yet be completely flicked! Setting the international context for industrialised world consensus on the need for a cap on emissions is vital. This campaign is a significant step for helping this to happen in Canada.
The most likely political crisis i see at the negotiations for a post-2012 climate treaty is buy-in from India. China will also be a challenge, but a united front from the developed world is essential. A political roadblock at these negotiations could one of the greatest failures of govronance to ever occur. The question is, is there the momentum required on this issue? At the moment I don't think so, although we are nearing that point. We need a awakening around the globe to this issue, as we have seen in the US, much of Europe and Australia. Climate change is a more significant political force but still, i don't believe it is regarded as a first order challenge such as security or health.
It remains surprising, to this day, that human civilisation is so dependent on climate. Often these links are not obvious, this being particularly the case in industrialised nations. However, these links are real, and more and more areas are being investigated for climate vulnerability.
A project--Noah's Ark--by the European Commission to investigate the impacts of climate change on Europe's cultural heritage has just been launched.
This EC project takes a detailed look at climate impacts, using the latest knowledge of material science. A brochure with programme outline and an simple explanation of the work can be downloaded from here (PDF)
The project is however, limited in scope to Europe, another organisation very much involved with architectural preservation is UNESCO. A report earlier in the year by UNESCO on the threat posed by climate change to world heritage sites received a great deal of attention. More on UNESCO and climate change here.
The threats posed by climate change to natural and cultural sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List are outlined in a new UNESCO publication, "Case Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage"*. The report features 26 examples - including the Tower of London, Kilimanjaro National Park and the Great Barrier Reef - case studies that are representative of the dangers faced by the 830 sites inscribed on the World Heritage
Sea Ice...how is it changing? Compollation of research by EU
The EU's science framework includes a significant amount of emphasis on better understanding climate change. A Dec '05 meeting lead to the production of a book (PDF) on sea ice research, pulling together much of the science available on changes in the Arctic region.
The wide-ranging papers in the book cover the methods used to measure ice thickness, on scales from basinwide down to local; the results obtained; the modelling of ice thickness;and the implications for Man’s activities. Palaeoclimatic studies are also described, which reveal periods during the past 100,000 years when the Arctic Ocean has been ice-free, a challenge to our understanding of Earth system processes. Since the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice is literally the most visible aspect of global warming in action – we can see the change in the face of the planet from space - it is appropriate that the European Commission should take the initiative in seeking to understand this phenomenon.
As climate change shows no signs of going away, more and more organisations are offering information and analysis on the topic, as well as ways of collaborating online. The latest new blog with climate and energy policy being disucssed is from NRDC, very much mainstream US environmentalism, and a good group of bloggers to reflect the reputation.
Switchboard (switchboard.nrdc.org), [is] NRDC’s new global warming and energy conservation blog. Switchboard features NRDC's policy analysts, scientists and lawyers responding to the day's news and commenting on policies to combat global warming and address America's energy needs.
The press release is here, but you are probably best of checking the site out to see what it is all about.
What would cities look like if large numbers of journeys where taken by bicycle not by car? What about if no cars where allowed in the city centre, and if bicycles where given priority for planning transportation?
Well,all of these things can be said of Coppenhagen in Denmark.
It's an amazingly positive thing to see the bike living up to it's potential as the greatest form of transport. I perticularly like the tricycles...the whole city reminds me of a permanent 'critical mass' event.
Short video clip (5 Minutes of Cyclist Watching)
Cycle Denmark- Johnny Stardust Exclusive
COPENHAGEN, Denmark- How do you make a world class cycling city? Join CrankMyChain! video correspondent, Johnny Stardust, as he takes you on a tour of bicycle friendly Copenhagen. We'll find out that it doesn't happen by accident and some of the solutions may make some American's uncomfortable, e.g. hefty taxes on gasoline and automobiles. Enjoy an original score by Danish Composer, Chris Juris
Long video clip (15 Minutes of commentary on how a cycling friendly city is created)
This is a lo-res version of a 15-minute movie that's available in hi-res on iTunes http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZ...
Or at http://carltonreid.libsyn.com/
The film features lots of happy cyclists from the Netherlands, Denmark and Colombia, and shows how creating a bicycle-friendly city is the civilised thing to do.
Scripted by Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá and the poster-child for city-wide bicycle advocacy, the movie was produced by the Netherlands-based Interface for Cycling Expertise (I-CE).
It was made in 2004 and received a financial contribution from the Dutch Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS). Shimano sponsored the CD distribution of the movie. These CDs are handed out at global cycle campaigning events.
www.Quickrelease.tv received permission to broadcast the film from I-CE. www.cycling.nl
The New Economics Foundation do valuable work on sustainability, in finding more accurate ways to define qaulity of life then GDP. There latest area of work is The Happy Planet Index, where they take a systematic look at wellbeing and how it corrolates (or dosent) to carbon emissions. They then look at how efficient the economy is at turning energy into wellbeing.
The most obvious thing that i noticed where the high scores for Norway and Sweden, countries that have traditionally done well in the qaulity of life studies. The UK, however, does poorly despite average GDP being the highest in Europe (correct me if i`m wrong).
Europe-wide research by nef (the new economics foundation), using a new measure of carbon efficiency and real economic progress reveals that Europe is less efficient today than it was 40 years ago. The European Happy Planet Index: An index of carbon efficiency and well-being in the EU reveals (overview) for the first time the carbon efficiency with which 30 European nations produce lives of different relative length and life satisfaction for their citizens. nef's analysis, (report) published in association with Friends of the Earth, also looks back over the last 40 years and comes worrying conclusions in an age of climate change, when it is more important than ever that we use our resources efficiently. nef's Index reveals that:
Europe as a whole has become less efficient, not more, in translating fossil fuel use into measurable human well being. The Index reveals that Europe as a whole is less carbon efficient now than it was in 1961.
Across Europe people report comparable levels of well-being whether their lifestyles imply the need for the resources of six and a half, or just one planet like Earth. The message is that people are just as likely to lead satisfied lives whether their levels of consumption are very low or high.
Iceland tops the Index. Scandinavian countries are the most efficient – achieving the highest levels of well-being in Europe at relatively low environmental cost with Sweden and Norway joining Iceland at the top of the HPI table. Iceland’s combination of strong social policies and extensive use of renewable energy demonstrate that living within our environmental means doesn’t mean sacrificing human well-being – in fact, it could even make us happier
The UK comes a poor 21st out of the 30 countries analysed, and nations that have most closely followed the Anglo-Saxon, strongly market-led economic model show up as the least efficient on the Index.
Development in "Carbon Capture and Storage" in Europe. More about ccs can be read under the CCS label bellow; including reports by the IPCC and MIT.
Global warming is one of the biggest issues of our time, the European Commission says in its description of this video report.
To meet the targets set for reducing CO2 emissions, it's widely accepted that new technology will play an important role sometimes as a "bridging technology"- while alternative sustainable energy sources are being developed.
One of the most promising technologies is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). This a means of capturing CO2 from sources such as power plants, compressing the CO2 and storing it away safely in geological formations underground or under the seabed instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.
The video report shows: A CCS project under construction at a lignite power plant run by the energy company Vattenfall at Schwarze Pumpe, south of Berlin, An EU backed carbon storage project at Ketzin in Germany, A North Sea oil field run by the Norwegian company Statoil which was the first place in the world to begin CCS on a commercial basis, How both the EU and the US are working hard to develop the Carbon Capture and Storage technology.
Interviews with key figures including: Staffan Görtz, Vattenfall Professor Frank Schilling GFZ National Research Centre for Geo-Sciences Matti Vainio, Energy & Environment Unit, DG Environment, European Commission Boyden Gray, US Ambassador to the EU Arve Thorvik Statoil, Statoil Sleipner West gas rig
Is the ‘emissions control’ figure in the UK Government’s credible?
The state of UK Climate Policy From the Global Commons Institute mailing list. ---
The control figure is minus 60% UK emissions by 2050 against a 1990 baseline.
It isn’t credible as it is randomly generated and inadequate. It also flatly contradicts the scientific view of safety provided by the IPCC on the extent of emissions control now needed to avoid runaway climate change.
In a nutshell, DEFRA - the Ministry responsible - are promoting a number that is too little too late.
The Fourth Assessment of the IPCC science working group contains for the first time, coupled modelling [some climate system feedbacks now included] that comes from the UK Hadley Centre, DEFRA’s first source of expert analysis.
The 450 ppm atmospheric CO2 concentration threshold is the now widely cited value beyond which runaway climate change becomes unavoidable. The coupled results show that the total weight of global CO2 emissions contraction needed to stay below this threshold should reduced by about a third of the previously published values. [IPCC FAR WG1 Chapter Ten p 791].
This projects the need to achieve nearly zero emissions globally by around 2050: (link) [see p2] and this analysis corroborates the C&C risk-analysis on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change DVD (here)
It should be noted as a matter of concern that the negative-albedo consequent on ice-melt - another positive-feedback from the system as a whole - is still omitted from the coupled models cited.
Small talk in Whitehall policy circles still persists with the myth that it is too soon to achieve a global deal, while this evidence shows that it is virtually too late to get one that might yet be effective.
A view still cited here is that developing countries just don’t yet take the problem seriously enough. This view is refuted by the recent HSBC poll: (link)
The Government’s control figure is simply not credible. It flatly contradicts the expert view from its own Hadley Centre. It also interestingly contradicts the advice of their big name climate advisor Al Gore in that he wants a 90% cut for the UK within a generation [typically 30 years]. Will he fire them up, or will they just fire him?
To get support the government has to be seen to be attempting to do enough soon enough nationally as a function of a coherent international and global study. They have this and know appalling consequences of failing to do this will be felt as increasing desperation. Is this why we also hear that the Ministry of Defence now argue for enhanced measures to deal with the insecurities arising.
To seek support for what is palpably inadequate loses time and trust and possibly the match itself. Perhaps the arrival of Bob Watson may yet help . . .
Interested in investing in 'cleantech'? Want to make some money rather than joining a bubble...well, i just found a facinating podcast that is well worth a listen.
Just as a taster...did you know that virtually no one in the US is placing solar to face west or southwest? Ahh...why would they, simple, solar facing south gains most energy in total but facing it west or southwest maximises the peak when there is peak electricity demand.
In this latest show Tom Konrad, has lots of actual insight rather than repeats of the same renewable energy gloss you have heard to many times before. Very interesting.
The Cleantech Show #010 (MP3 - 13MB - 34min)
In a recent announcement, the International Energy Agency (IEA), issued a new report yesterday predicting a supply pinch in the next 3 to 5 years. Tom Konrad, Editor from Alt Energy Stocks comments on the resulting impact this has had on renewable energy stocks in one of his recent blog postings, and it’s my pleasure to have Tom on the show this week.
AltEnergyStocks.com is one of the Internet’s premier websites for investing in the sectors of alternative energy, renewable energy and clean technology.
In this weeks show Tom and I discuss the blossoming Alternative Energy Investment market and explore in detail Tom’s candid advice on developing a portfolio of alternative energy investments. Dependent on whether your a conservative or more aggressive investor there are opportunities in the market and Tom provides some valuable insight into the market drivers and the more interesting areas of investment.
Tom is an independent investment advisor and financial analyst specializing in renewable energy and energy efficiency companies. He has a Ph.D. in mathematics from Purdue University, and is a level II candidate for the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He serves as Treasurer for both the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and Ratepayers United Colorado.
Vlog 4 Climate Change and Business: Leverage and Differentiation
I finish my series of 3 vlogs about sustainable development. This one is about a couple of important ideas for businesses 1. Leverage 2. Differentiation. These are a couple of important themes brought to my attention in a book called 'carbon down profits up'.
The Centre for Alternative Technology has just produced a new report entitled 'zero carbon britain'.
This report support equal per capita emissions across the globe, and reduction of this emissions quota to ensure we avoid dangerous climate change. The name for this rather simple idea is contraction and convergence.
The report also advocates Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) as a method of distributing energy rights in a market based system within sustainable limits.
Placed firmly in the 'radical' spectrum of what can be done this report is nine the less based on sound science and more importantly reflects a reality and an urgency that we must confront. The signal for this was attempted by the Live Earth concerts. SOS indeed.
This week sees the return of 'audio of the week'. This is sometimes a podcast and sometimes and streamed radio show. In this case the audio comes from Radio Ecoshock.
If you want to hear what NASA's chief scientist thinks of our choices on climate change then check out this facinating speech from just a few days back. And then, compare it to what Jim Manzi was saying recently...and tell me does this look like an honest gap of perceptions or is that void a politically motivated one?
JAMES HANSEN: Speech to Zero Emissions Conf, Melbourne June 30, 2007 answers critics, lays out need for rapid response (MP3)
Finally, remember, i label all of these posts for a reason, and there is a lot of great audio content from previous week's check it out!
4. RFK Jr. gives an amazing speech at live earth, the transcript is well worth a read. As an aside, someone bought me a book he wrote on environmental protection but due to his cape wind stance i have never read it...can someone truly be passionate about the environment and be that resistent to an offshore wind farm? Still, the transcript might be usefull in deciding how to frame your arguments.
5. The WBCSD have teamed up with the members of the aforementioned global compact to produce a statement on what the business community needs in order to move rapidly towards a low carbon future. The WBCSD are THE place to go if you want to understand the sort of agreements and regulations that are needed in order to effectively address climate change.
Political, i`m starting to realise it's the only way to be.
In the UK, tabloid papers (and my parents) regularly get wound up about the increasing power they perceive as being ceded to Europe from national Parliaments. I see this as largely unfounded, in the areas that i am interested in Europe generally has a positive role to play. Nation states are not limited to European standards for there climate policies for example, bu they are bound by minimum requirements. I`m not sure where Europe is going on biofuels at the moment, but this could conceivably be a counter to my views as europe as a generally positive phenomenon. Whatever happens, the framework for review and accountability is well established, as explained in this fascinating podcast by Andrew Moravcsik, Professor of Politics at Princeton University (it gets started at minute 20 after lots of introduction that can be skipped).
One set of institutions that are, however, blatantly without popular mandate and grossly unrepresentative of the people are the so called Brettons Woods institutions: The World Bank, World Trade Organisation and International Monetary Fund. If you haven't read capitalism and it's discontents yet, then please do!
As i started by saying, dealing with environmental issues, or indeed broader ones such as climate change is political, you have to look at neo-liberalism and what it has done to the planet and say, this cannot continue if we wish to survive let alone prosper. If talk of political/economic ideologies is to much for contemporary environmental organisations then they need to change.
When did you last see the WWF, Conservation International the RSPB or any other major conservation charity get seriously political? In 'The Death of Environmentalism' this ies exactly the argument being made by the authors. In 'Capitalism asif The World Matters' Jonathon Porritt makes the same case. Finally, to get to the point, the UK's parliamentary environmental watchdog has published areportshowing just how destructive the WTO is, particularly in stymieing vital environmental legislation.
It is clear that the relationship between trade liberalisation and the environment is an uneasy one. It appears that the main international focus has been on theliberalisation of trade, with the benefits that this may bring, while failing to recognise the full environmental or social impacts that this liberalisation may have. It is paramount that, where liberalisation is pursued, effective accompanying measures are adopted to prevent or limit the environmental and social impacts. Without such measures, international trade liberalisation is only likely to add to environmental degradation.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and degredation.
Reducing emissions from deforestation is a pretty awful way of looking at things. To spend a day in a rainforest and walk through one acre, to look at the immense biodiversity, the innumerable forms of life and an almost infinitely complex web of interactions, this is an experience that we should not deny future generations. This beauty should add up to more than just carbon, yet , a new urgency comes to protecting our forests, not because of a new appreciation of there qualities and innate value, but rather because of the dire consequences of there destruction on our planet as a whole. Deforestation is a significant contributor to climate change and many people have been looking at how we can best address the problem.
For an introduction to forest destruction, and what this means for the global climate you might be interested in a recent conference at the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University. For a four page introduction to the overall discussion, this document may be of interest (draft summary for SB side event 19 May 2006, 18.00-20.00). Also, Environmental Defence have done a great deal of work in the area of avoided deforestation and there page on the topic can be found here.
Finally, a recent conference, addresses the details of how this is implemented...
History of the issue under the UNFCCC, reasons for exclusion of deforestation in the past, and the changes that have occurred since Montreal (Eveline Trines, Treeness Consult, the Netherlands) PDF-File (124 kB)
Magnitude of the problem and underlying causes of deforestation, including social and economic issues (Sven Wunder, CIFOR, Brazil) PDF-File (2.85 MB)
Lessons learned from other national and international efforts to reduce deforestation (Jurgen Blaser, Intercooperation, Switzerland) PDF-File (6.7 MB)
By Jessica Schessler jessica.schessler(at)gmail.com
Obviously, rainforest destruction is a heated topic of discussion. Many popular websites claim to plant trees in exchange for donations, and even Dell has hopped on the bandwagon. When you buy a new computer you can select “plant a tree for me” as you checkout and help offset your carbon footprint. Planting trees can be a good thing, but are we really making progress if we do nothing about the source of the problem? Sustainable Harvest International is heading straight for one source. This small non-profit organization
“has worked with nearly 1,000 families and 900 students in Honduras, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua implementing alternatives to slash-and-burn farming, the leading cause of rainforest destruction in the region.”
Malnutrition is a huge problem in this area of the world, and many vegetables are considered a luxury item. SHI teaches new farming techniques to the local families, such as alley cropping, organic vegetable gardening, and seed saving and storage.
Since 1997, SHI has successfully:
Planted more than 2,000,000 trees.
Converted 6,000 acres to sustainable uses, thereby saving 30,000 acres from slash-and-burn destruction.
Improved nutrition through the establishment of more than 200 organic vegetable gardens.
Increased farm income up to 800%.
Built 165 wood-conserving stoves (saving 1,650 trees per year)
“…slash-and-burn practice is very shortsighted and damaging to forests… Removal of the vegetation not only destroys the habitat for numerous species of plants and animals, but it also can lead to soil erosion, watershed degradation, and climate change in the area. Once the vegetation is removed the rapid processes of plant growth, death, and decay that created the fertile environment are severely limited or entirely destroyed.” (1)
This farmer living near the Panama Canal has learned that growing rice in paddies instead of using slash and burn improves his yield by 400%-800%, without the need to cut down any forests.
What better way to stop slash and burn than with education in alternative farming techniques? SHI’s programs not only help out the farmers and their families, but the environment as well.
I think Dylan sums up the plight of those trying to prevent action on climate change quite well!
I wonder, has a better song ever been written? Not that I am aware of.
Come gather 'round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin'.
Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide The chance won't come again And don't speak too soon For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. For the loser now Will be later to win For the times they are a-changin'.
Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don't stand in the doorway Don't block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There's a battle outside And it is ragin'. It'll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin'.
Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don't criticize What you can't understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is Rapidly agin'. Please get out of the new one If you can't lend your hand For the times they are a-changin'.
The line it is drawn The curse it is cast The slow one now Will later be fast As the present now Will later be past The order is Rapidly fadin'. And the first one now Will later be last For the times they are a-changin'.
I hope that for all the cynicism that's existed around this subject, we can all uncross our arms long enough to give this event a chance to impact the world in the way that I'm beginning to feel that it could. Now isn't the time to dissect the rights and wrongs. (If you're hoping Live Earth doesn't work, you have a lot of soul-searching to do.)
This is the sort of thing we need...hummers, are so uncool arent they?
BLACK EYED PEAS star WILL.I.AM has vowed to "blow up" his gas-guzzling hummer in a bid to save the environment. The band are performing at the London leg of the Live Earth concerts, which aim to raise awareness of climate change. And the performer is prepared to make the sacrifice. He says, "I'm getting ready to blow up my hummer. I have an electric car now."
Live earth is underway. The entire thing can be watched on www.liveearth.msn.com The start, in Sydney, was launched by Al Gore on a Video Projection...the other concert to have already started, in Japan, was launched by AL Gore as a hologram!
I used to help out with campaign against climate change in London, my boss, Phil was just asked for the globe and mail weather he supported live earth, i think we agree!
Phil Thornhill, key organizer for the Global Climate Campaign and national co-ordinator for the Campaign against Climate Change in Britain, believes the answer to that question is yes.
"I welcome all actions designed to raise awareness on climate change and promote the urgent action that we need - be they concerts, demonstrations, carnivals, street parties, mass bike rides or whatever," he says.
There is plenty of vitriol, the manufacturers association of america have posted one or two articles a day on there blog about it, criticizing every aspect. There have been many attacks by 'satirical' publications that seem more like thinly vailed propaganda sheets from the Fox News side of the political spectrum. Unfortunately for these people Live Earth Rio having been cancelled by a judge over security concerns has now been allowed to continue.
There is also a more positive range of coverage...
Brittish Antarctic Survey do Live Earth : Nunatak Play Rothera
"You've got to remember, although we've got a very big following within the British Antarctic Survey (BAS)— and in particular, Rothera station — we may not have the worldwide renown that some of the other acts have,"
So says Tristan Thorne, fiddler for Nunatak and soon to be international superstar. Nunatek have been 'selected' to represent antarctica this saturday for Live Earth. I use inverted commas around selected as at this time of year you cant get in or out of Rothera station, and there are Nunatek and 17 other scientists so the selection process wasnt to difficult.
Apparently Al Gore has known the head of BAS for some time so the request fell upon sympathetic ears. And in terms of an opportunity to promote climate sicence there arent many opportunities like this!
Director of BAS, Professor Chris Rapley, CBE said,
“The need to reduce our carbon emissions to avoid serious climate change is one of the greatest challenges humans have had to confront – is a complex issue that will only be solved by us all working together – scientists, politicians and society. Right now, Antarctic scientists and our colleagues in the Arctic are taking part in International Polar Year - the biggest ever globally co-ordinated research effort – to help find the way forward. Hopefully, Live Earth will make a real difference in public awareness and attract talented young people to become scientists – it’s a cool job with a real purpose. I am looking forward to Nunatak’s appearance in the Live Earth concert inspiring young people the world over.”
Tristan was recently interviewed on NPR, that 5 minute interview can be listened to here.
Finally, it wulddnt be right to talk about BAS without mentioning the International Polar Year, a huge collaborative year of focused scientific research that draws on researchers from all around the world. Perhaps the largest scientific applied research project ever undertaken.