Friday, 22 February 2013

Are we focused now?

I saw this article in The Guardian and I was scared.  Why are we still pissing about?  Why are we not focused? 
If, as is suggested, a 1.5 degree C mean temperature rise can start the permafrost melting and start the release of methane......  

I have mentioned the Clathrate Gun  Hypothesis several times on this blog and maybe it is alarmist, but should we not be alarmed?  We should be taking this extremely seriously and yet we seem far more focused on trivia. 

2020 is too late.  I believe, based on what I have read, that we are already committed to at least a 4 degrees C mean rise, so maybe it is already too late, but we must try and remember that is is not only about us, but about all. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Keeping the lights on

According to the Guardian neswpaper, The UK government has admitted that they are in negotiations with EDF, concerning nuclear new-build and, crucially, over "contracts for difference" where the generators are guaranteed a "strike price" and if the market price falls below this, then a surcharge is added to customers bills.  Apparently the contracts are proposed to last for 40 years, so we could be subsidising EDF's (and maybe others) profits for that long.  One very unpleasant thought, is if the companies involved in building new gas power plants seek similar subsidies. 
The pressure on the government is ,in part, due to the warning from the energy regulator OFGEM that due to EU emissions regulations, closure of some coal and oil fired power stations could lead to a 10% drop in energy generation capacity in April alone (with further decline to come).  Mr Buchanan, has said that the UK needs more gas to make up the shortfall, but competing for that gas on a global market will increase the price.  This also explains the government's interest and tax support for more drilling in the North Sea and fracking.

I think a key issue around this is that there seems to be an assumption of continued normality and consumption.
  Whether we are talking energy from renewable resources or from fossil fuels or nuclear power, our current (and growing) level of energy and resource usage is unsustainable.   
We should be investing in renewables, yes.  But we should be prioritising reduction of demand, not just for electricity but for everything.  Our lifestyles are killing the planet.  We do not have the right to do this.  This is the hard sell, this is the unpleasant truth.  Solar power, wind turbines and electric cars will not save us. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Facing the truth?

Here's the thing.  I see no light at the end of the tunnel.  With extinction rates, going through the roof, with phytoplankton in decline, with fish species on the verge of collapse and with our rubbish contaminating marine life.  With the arctic melting and corporations waitng to plunder the fish and fossil fuels which this exposes,with the ongoing ecocide of the Alberta Tar Sands, with our current "who dies with the best toys wins" paradigm I see no real hope. 
While there are some positives, such as a bacteria which may well prove vital, and our politicians finally addressing our exploitation of the marine ecosystem, I think the key issue is that there is no real challenge to our basic consumption model.  

There is no way that, with 7 billion of us on the planet, "consumption-lite" will do it.  Our windfarms, our eco-cars and our fairtrade silver still consume vast resources.  it is more than our livliehoods at stake. It is the lives of our children and all the other non-human individuals. 

As someone who has tried and continues to try the lifestyle approach, trying to live more simply and lower impact.  I have to face the fact that I am still part of the problem.  I still want my electricity and my computer and my water from the tap, my books and my Zapatista coffee. 

Our capitalist, industrial and urban society is the problem. and it will not stop.  I  do not believe that we have the time for a mass consciosness change.  I think that with ecosystems on the verge of collapse and global change looming, maybe the Deep Green Resistance have it right, maybe the time has come for us to fight for the future?