Sunday, 30 June 2013

An eventful week

I has been quite an eventful week in the news.  President Obama has laid out his climate strategy and in the UK we have had the latest spending review.  There have been some major positives, but also some distinct negatives. 
On the positive side, the Obama Administration's engagement with climate change is a very good thing, but the 17% emissions cut is really not enough.  The advocacy both in the UK and the US for fracking seems to me to be misguided in terms of climate change and more concerned with energy security and "keeping the lights on".  I think the news from OFGEM , that spare energy generation capacity could fall, in the UK, to 2% by 2015 has played a key part in focusing the UK government's minds, along with the vastly increased estimation of UK shale gas reserves from the British Geological Survey. 

This dash for gas, which is after all another fossil fuel seems to me to be heading in exactly the wrong direction in terms of climate change and I am personally not a fan of nuclear energy
On the positive side, the investment in infrastructure and adaptation seems to me to be a good thing.  The recognition of the need for flood defence as climate change bites is an important step and the increased funding can only help. 

 Angela Merkel and David Cameron's quashing of EU emission targets for new vehicles  seems to me to highlight the real plutocracy which governs us. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Beginning to feel it?

The Guardian reports that, this year,  English farmers expect to import 2.5m tonnes of wheat, whereas usually 2.5m tonnes of wheat is exported.  With the weather also having effects on apples, sugar beet and other crops.  Honeybees in England have also suffered, with a third of colonies being reported to have failed over the winter and the loss of pollinators will also have an impact on food production.
 While this is not catastrophic in itself, it seems to me that, with the changes in arctic summer sea ice, which has been linked by the Met Office to the recent weather, this trend is likely to continue.  As climate change affects other countries ,like the US and Russia, who are major food exporters and their crops suffer, it seems almost certain that food prices will rise. 
With the current financial crisis and more people in the UK being reliant on Food Banks and people in Greece, Spain and other places really struggling, then people will really suffer. 
Our current food system seems so fragile.  We really need to be adapting, sowing hardier crops such as rye, barley (or bere), black oats etc.  There needs to be much more support for home growing and seed swapping etc and much more of it. 
If we do not begin to do this now, it will be much harder later and I fear the consequences could be more extreme.