9 Apr 2009

News on climate change and a walk in Standish woods

Going through my emails from while I was away I have come across a number that I wanted to share below. I am now nearly through all emails from when I was away - hopefully will tackle last few later today!

Photo: the photos in this blog entry are from a walk on Sunday in Standish woods - wonderful wood anenomes - we live in a very special place!!

Monbiot on why we can't afford to abandon efforts to cut emissions: "If we behave as if it's too late, then our prophecy is bound to come true....Quietly in public, loudly in private, climate scientists everywhere are saying the same thing: it's over." See article here. Indeed I read this week that even our business leaders are unhappy about action on climate change - they have delivered a surprise attack on the government's environmental policy, arguing that ministers are not doing enough to cut global warming emissions or make sure the UK does not run out of power. See Guardian 6th Apr 2009.

Photo; new beech leaves

Green energy crisis: the growing crisis of confidence in the green energy sector is exposed by a survey which revealed that more than three quarters of Britain's green energy companies were now facing enormous financial difficulties gaining vital access to loans and investment money. Indeed I was dismayed to read that BP has decided to lay off 620 people, more than a quarter of its workforce, at its solar business. Solar energy could soon become available for the mass market, but this move could significantly stall progress towards harnessing this abundant energy source. Similarly The Times report Royal Dutch Shell has announced plans to scale back its renewable energy business and focus purely on oil, gas and biofuels - this is very dire - see here. The UK Government, for all its pontificating about the need to invest in green technology, is failing to support and create incentives for investment in the UK renewables industry. We have a proud history of manufacturing in the UK and yet presented with opportunities to become a major player in 21st century technologies, we appear to be letting the chances slip by. Sadly one project that is moving ahead is a plant in Dorset to create power from imported virgin palm oil - see more here. It claims to be green but as this blog has covered the dangers of biofuels at length before so I wont repeat them here - go to here for further info.

Photo: beached beech tree leaves

London success and failures: The London Development Agency has proposed to offer free energy saving measures to every London home. The announcement follows a major investigation by the London Assembly's Environment Committee, which chaired by Darren Johnson, which flagged up the success of a free insulation scheme in Huddersfield which was put together by Green party councillors and is already delivering lower bills, reduced CO2 emissions and new jobs. The new London scheme represents a major u-turn by the LDA who were previously planning to abandon home insulation work altogether - see more re the 2,200 jobs and average annual savings of £230 per household it will create here. As Party leader Caroline Lucas MEP said at the party conference a nationwide programme along these lines would generate almost 140,000 UK jobs. However the bad news is that Boris is slashing London's environment/climate change programme in half - will they still be able to deliver. We knew Boris was not going to be good for London compared to Ken Livingstone but this is seriously gloomy news and will mean London cannot hope to lead on this issue. See more here.

Photo: beech leaves out already

Paul Mobb's new website: Paul Mobbs who was in Stroud last year has done lots to his website - well worth an exploration of peak Oil issues - in particular is The Great Outdoors initiative which is about "communicating the most basic of skills that are essential to life – cooking, making fire, heating water and finding shelter – so that we can rediscover our potential as 'human animals'; functional beings who can look after their own needs irrespective of what's happening around them. What fifty years of consumerism has done for Britain is de-skill its citizens; if we look at the practical skills possessed by their grandparents, many people today have only the vaguest idea of how to manage without mains services and ready-prepared food." See it at: http://www.fraw.org.uk/outdoors/index.shtml

Photo: wood anenomes like the first photo in this series carpeting the woods - and the very first couple of bluebells out already along with violets and more

Lower Shaw Farm events: talking of reskilling - Lower Shaw Farm near Swindon has lots of events - some may remember this blog joined the campaign to help save this exciting place which is now v much more secure - anyhow see their website: http://www.lowershawfarm.co.uk/

Photo: Dog Mercury lush green in woods

Archbish's lecture:
The Gloucestershire Churches Environmental Justice Network at which I have spoken forwarded the Archbishop's recent lecture in York: Environment is 'an issue of justice'. The Archbish spelt out why respect for the environment is not an optional extra, particularly for Christians. Getting our relationship with the rest of the created order into proper perspective is both a responsibility and a necessity. Failure could have disastrous consequences especially for some of the poorest and most vulnerable. “There is no way of manipulating our environment that is without cost or consequence … we are inextricably bound up with the destiny of our world.” Dr Williams suggests that “we are capable of changing our situation”; in “Christian terms, this needs a radical change of heart, a conversion.” He said: "The ‘redemption’ of people and material life in general is not a matter of resigning from the business of labour and of transformation – as if we could – but the search for a form of action that will preserve and nourish an interconnected development of humanity and its environment." He concluded with a quotation from the contemporary Greek theologian, Christos Yannaras who speaks in his Variations on the Song of Songs, “of how love compels you to see things differently – to love ‘the landscapes we have looked at together.’” “We love” says Dr Williams “what we see together with God.” See more and hear speech at: www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/2351

Vision 21 news: the March edition is out now of Gloucestershire green news..."21 Today is a regular electronic newsletter which focuses on a variety of sustainable issues in Gloucestershire. In the newsletter you can find out about local news, views, events, top environmental tips and useful contacts." See here.

Photo: a patch in leaves where a deer must have slept

Lib Dems hypocrisy: LibDem leader Nick Clegg helped launch a new Greenpeace report on energy-efficiency and jobs, but the LibDems have a rather "rather spotty record on energy, not least in Clegg's own Sheffield power-base." See here.

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