Sunday, 15 May 2011

Good News!

The reported legally binding "green deal", to be announced by Chris Huhne is excellent news!  The government's acceptance of the Climate Change Committee's recommendations for the Fourth Carbon Budget governing emissions reduction through the 2020s.  It commits the UK to carbon emissions cuts of 80% (relative to 1990 levels) by 2050 and an intermediary target of a 60% cut (relative to 1990) by 2030. 
This is huge!
 After the much publicised cabinet split and the concerted efforts of several green campaigning groups. For the government to actually sign on to do this is really good.  While my cynical self wonders whether this is just more politicising in order to be seen to be "the greenest government ever" , it is still a  very good thing! 

Now it remains to be seen if we can do it. 

It is to be hoped that green technology companies will be encouraged by this to invest in UK sites, but when you consider the issues, which I have mentioned previously on this blog and when you consider the estimated average £40-50 billion needing to be spent each year between now and 2030  to upgrade and repair our necessary infrastructure in order to adapt to climate change.  I feel that there is reason to be concerned.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Cold War 2?

As Newsnight reports tonight, Wikileaks has revealed leaked diplomatic cables indicating the forthcoming carve up of the Arctics resources and an alarming comment from Professor Peter Wadhams about the likliehood of an ice free North Pole within 3 years. 

The Conservative government in Canada under Steven Harper and Putin's Russia have both previously made inflammatory statements indicating their territorial ambitons and desire for a large share of the Arctics resources. 
With the the involvment of the US and Denmark (which still rules Greenland) (both  member states, along with Canada), one wonders whether NATO  is likely to play a role, although Steven Harper has publicly expressed antipathy to this idea.  

As the Arctic ice melts and the bonanza of its fossil resources is opened up, it is vitally important that we remember the reality of climate change.  We must not get caught up in nationalism and our desire for that dangerous OD hit of  cheap energy. The consequences would be far too heavy. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Hands off our land

As part of the continuing Red Tape Challenge, it has been revealed by The Independent that Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is considering ending the obligation upon councils to provide plots of land for allotments. 
This is Not Good! 

In February it was revealed that Saudi Arabia's oil reverves may have been overstated by up to 40% suggesting that Peak Oil may be even closer than we suspected.  Considering the embedded energy in our food as well as the need to reduce our environmental footprint and reduce our food miles, this decision by the government seems bizarre. 

The assumption that we will all have a garden to "grow our own" ignores all the urban flat dwellers and others who do not.

The potential of allotments as growing spaces, as social regreening and reskilling hubs in the urban wasteland, should not be underestimated.  They can help to empower people, enable us to reconnect with the land and to take personal responsibility for addressing some of the urgent issues of our time.  Even leaving all that aside, it is difficult to see how the government can justify its plans given the growing demand for allotment space; demands that, in some areas, have resulted in 10-year waiting lists of people keen to rent this land in order to grow their own fresh produce. 

The outrage over this policy is growing.  To join the campaign, you can visit LandShare.