Monday, 28 November 2011


The revelation in the Guardian, that at the highest levels, the UK government has been actively working with the Conservative government of Canada and the oil companies BP and Shell to oppose the proposed penalty for "highly polluting" fuels such as oil from the Alberta Tar Sands in the forthcoming EU Fuels Quality Directive should really come as no surprise.  It really is the nail in the coffiin for the green credentials of "the greenest government ever", as 350  activist and founder Bill McKibben has said it is "idiotic" . Let us hope that there is similar outrage as there was in the US against the Keystone XL pipeline. 

With the tar sands only about 3% burned and with only five years to transition we cannot allow our representatives to commit these acts in our name.

As the COP 17 climate talks in Durban begin our "leadership" is shown to be a corrupt facade. 
With the the experience of  Copenhagen and Cancun behind us, I would not expect anything meaningful to come out of Durban.

 It comes down to us, and we do not have much time... 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

COPing Out

What can I say?  This Guardian article today left me feeling terribly bleak.
It is not really unexpected, we have seen before the worth of the political pledges when it comes to tackling climate change.  But in the light of the recent reports from the IEA and the IPPC which are telling us clearly that we do not have the time to delay and that we will feel the impact of the crisis, I would have hoped for some real political will.  To delay a climate treaty until 2020 however "realistic" is a failure in their duty to the people. 

When you consider the likely impact of climate change on the lives of us all, particularly the global and national poor who will will be hit first and hardest, this failure is unforgiveable.  They/we have had chance after chance and at each test  have failed. 

I am of the opinion that the Occupy movement has a point.  That our politicial system is in fact a plutocracy masquerading as a "democracy"  you only have to consider the defence of the financial institutions by the police,

 the refusal (in the UK)  to implement a Robin Hood Tax and things like this to wonder who our political masters are really serving.  Perhaps it is time for us to embrace a direct democracy, to tap in to the creative potential of humanity to enable us to take the necessary action. 
I see no meaningful soloutins coming out of  Durban, I hope that I am proven wrong, but we will see...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

5 years to Transition

This article in the Guardian newspaper today is very disturbing.  The International Energy Authority (IEA) is saying that we are likely to have lost any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change, due to the fossil-fuel power stations, factories, homes and other sundries we will,  if we continue as we are, build in the next five years.  It is said that if we are to avoid a 2 degrees C global mean rise, we must limit emissions to 450ppm of CO2 (e) in the atmosphere, currently we are running at about 390ppm.  Given the woeful state of our renewable energy capacity and given developments like the southern Gobi potential coal boom, I  do not see us even having that long. 

The problem is, in part,  our lifestyles. In the developed nations we have become accustomed to so many energy hungry luxuries and now consider them as "essentials" .  The radical measures necessary then become politically unacceptable and  at a national and international level little is achieved.

So we must push for green initiatives, we must remind our politicians how urgent it is and how green jobs might be the way out of the global economic crisis.  We must stress how unacceptable any delay is and how appalled we are by the lack of investment in the necessary infrastructure.  We must also prepare ourselves.  make the changes to our own lives and start building resilience at a community level, begin the transition now and hope that it is not too late.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Bleak news

The report from the US Dept of Energy, reported on by the Guardian makes chilling reading.  It is reported that emissions jumped by 6% in 2009-2010  (an extra 512 tonnes) with increases in China and the US accounting for half of that jump.  This, apparently, puts levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere beyond the worst case scenario in the IPCC 2007 report, and this situation is only likely to be exacerbated by China's vast coal mine development in the southern Gobi and the Keystone XL pipeline in North America. 

China and the US are in conflict over the Kyoto protocol, which is due to expire next year.  If we do not get a legally binding agreement including the US and China to replace the Kyoto Protocol we will be left with the non-binding statement of good intentions of the Copenhagen Accord.  

The COP17 UN climate talks are to be in Durban later this month.  One can hope that this news spurs the parties to take meaningful action, but I will not be holding my breath. 

We need to start adaptation now, but with the ongoing financial crisis, it seems questionable that the resources will actually be invested, especially by cash strapped or politically vulnerable governments.