Saturday, 16 October 2010

Climate Wars?

The idea of climate wars may seem far fetched.

In an excellent book (Climate Wars, published by Oneworld, in 2010), the investigative journalist Gwynne Dyer offers several quite horrifyng future scenarios involving conflict between nations resulting from the impact of climate change.

Life sometimes imitates art.

Admiral James G Stavidris Supreme allied commander for Europe is reported by the Guardian to have warned in the foreword to a report from the Royal United Services Institute (available to buy here ) that global warming and the race for resources could lead to conflict in the arctic.

This comes in the wake of Edinburgh based Cairn Energy's declaration last month that it has found oil off the coast of Greenland, as reported by the Guardian here
If Peak Oil happens as predicted and given the rising energy demands of industrialised and the rapidly industrialising nations, conflict over energy sources such as oil and gas seems very possible.

This does not help our cause with regard to climate change.

We must reduce our demand for the planet's resources and recognise that if we are called on to line up behind the flag, it is a distraction from the bigger issue.

We must invest in renewable energy.

In the latest spending review by the UK government, the Department of Energy and Climate Change is having to cut £775m to meet the target of 25% spending cuts. See here

With governments around the world facing financial difficulies, maybe we should consider the Robin Hood tax ?  This is a proposed tax on financial transactions which would use the revenue so raised to combat poverty and climate change.

We must remember that we will not be able to meet the challenges presented by climate change if we are divided, only by co-operation on many levels.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Copenhagen Reprise?

On the penultimate day of the climate talks at Tianjin, the news is not good.
See the Guardian article here

The US and China are in conflict.

The US wants to build on the Copenhagen accord by co-ordinating national agreements and instituting an enforcement regime, with developing and developed nations commited to it.

China wants to preserve the two track approach based on the Kyoto protocol. With richer, more developed, nations making the first and heaviest emissions cuts.

While Europe, the least developed nations and some of the big rapidly developing nations like Brazil and South Africa seem ready to compromise, China and the US do not seem to be willing to do so.

Huang Huikang, China's special representative for climate negotiations is reported to have said
"I want to emphasise on our side no compromise on the two track process and no compromise on the interests of developing countries."

This would seem to reduce the likliehood of anything concrete coming out of the upcoming talks in Cancun and it raises the question of what will happen after 2012 when the Kyoto protocol lapses, if there is no treaty in place?

As Akira Yamada, Japan's negotiator, pointed out
"The Kyoto protocol parties emit only 28% of global emissions now and will be less and less in the future. It cannot be effective unless the world's first and second biggest emitter are involved,"

It seems to be the National Economic Interest again, with China and the US looking to economic rivalry in the future.

We do not have time for this!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Face to Face

WWF in association with the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition is calling for a mass lobby of MPs on 5th and 6th November, see

The idea is that we meet our local MPs face to face and ask them to take action on climate change.

I think this is a great idea. So often, it seems our politicians do not really see us. And we do not see them. Maybe if they are face to face with real people who are asking them what they will do to take action, they will do something.

As I have said frequently on this blog, I am cynical.
However cynicism is not an excuse for apathy.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Tianjin talks

Delegates have gathered at Tainjin in China, for the latest round of talks in the run up to November's UN COP16 talks which will be held in Cancun, Mexico see here or a live webcast from the floor here

The talks are meant to last until Saturday.

The meeting in Tianjin in China is to negotiate a draft treaty to be debated at Cancun, next month.

With the shadow of the failure at Copenhagen looming over them, one hopes that our politicans will be able to step up and get real, however I am not confident and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has already warned
"Let me be clear - there is no magic bullet, no one climate agreement that will solve everything right now,"

So what can we expect? more competing national interests and next month a mediocre deal, which even if it is binding, will not go far enough or actually be enforced?

I hope not but my cynical self wonders.

Friday, 1 October 2010

True colours update

Just a quick update. The UK government has (unsurprisingly) granted a licence to Chevron to drill off Shetland. Greenpeace are arguing that to grant the licence without a comprehensive safety review (after Deepwater Horizon) is irresponsible and may be a breach of EU and UK law.

Whatever the outcome, the truth is out about how green our government really is.