So it’s over and what an anti-climax! I am left feeling depressed and angry at the total lack of progress. Even in my brightest moments there seems to be little to celebrate. There are lessons to be learned though and I will share these with you.
New World Power. Did you notice that the final deal was cut behind closed doors and that the EU was not a party to this, just USA, China and India. Given that the EU has driven the agenda so hard, seems unfortunate to say the least!
Diplomacy has its limits!. 192 countries in a room trying to get an agreement - looking back this was an impossible task and really it is not surprising that no ‘meaningful agreement’ was reached.
Too many hangers on.There was too much noise, too many people and not enough focus. The COPs do not work- 20,000 people all screaming, it is not surprising that nothing gets achieved as it is just one enormous climate jamboree. Time to change the format.
No Business. Business leaders were excluded from the process. This is plainly ridiculous given that they will be the one’s funding the whole change.
Another Climate Catastrophe! Unfortunately it seems that the only way that these political blockheads are going to ‘get it’ is when another climate catastrophe happens. Plain Stupid! They need to watch The Day After Tomorrow again.
And so, I am left feeling totally unimpressed by everyone and everything about the COP. Time for Business and People to stop thinking the politicians are going to do anything and time for us to take responsibility - if ever there was a need for a ‘movement for change’ then it is now!
Very good article written by Professor Hulme about the science of climate change, also the comments. Link
My view is that although UEA has made a monumental mess of the whole situation and been made to look like an amateur night out, that this does not change our the underlying consensus. UEA is but one data centre. NASA has their own that almost maps the finding of UEA. There is no conspiracy, just sloppiness. If science is going to play it’s part, then it needs to remain objective, provide the data and allow the results (and facts??!!) to speak for themselves. Of course we always need a good orator, but let the advocate fall back on some good facts.
If there is one good thing to emerge from this fiasco, it is that the debate will be re-opened and the issue finally put to bed as politicians and the public will at last see the real issues.
For this to happen, UEA are going to provide access to whatever data they do have in whatever form it is available for public scrutiny. This needs to be compared to other data sources to substantiate the original findings. Alternatively, we should ignore their results and use other data sets to prove the case.
I heard Chris Smith (ex-minister) now head of the Environment Agency speak last night and he made a number of excellent points about the reality of climate change around the country; species being found further north than ever before, the Thames barrier being raised more times this past year than ever before, increased climate events in Cumbria. These are the reality of change and it is happening now, so whilst the debate is healthy and needed, let us not put on hold the urgent action that is needed.
Larry Elliott writing in the Guardian yesterday reports that Gordon Brown is proposing a worldwide tax on banking transactions (The Torbin Tax) to fund not only the repayment of the debt that the banks have got us all in, but also to fund green technology transfer to help developing nations meet the challenges of a low carbon world.
The issues are real and chilling ( must see video) as reported on 22nd October this year and we are looking at a 4degC rise in world temperatures if we do nothing. Brown’s argument is bold and goes to the heart of the debate and why developing (poorer) nations are losing patience; the richer nations have spent years polluting and they now expect the poorer nations to restrict growth and foot the bill, this they say is unfair!
I find it hard to disagree with their argument, not least because low carbon technologies cost more and given the present financial crisis, poorer nations cannot afford them. It seems only right that we, the richer nations, should share the burden of this cost.
Elliott goes on to argue that the only pragmatic answer is clean coal, given that there is abundant supply of it, and he argues for technology transfer for its implementation. For me this misses the point. Yes coal may be pragmatic, but it is still worse than other solutions and any transfer of technology MUST include demand side reduction solutions both at a unit and city scale. New urban solutions for our growing cities that fundamentally re-look at how we live our lives and how we use energy.
If all we do is feed new development with slightly cleaner solutions, then we end up with the same old problems. We must fix the source of our problem and in parallel with providing solutions.
And so I bring you back to the need for Positive Infrastructure and Planet Positive Solutions both issues that we will debating during my upcoming visit to the WEF in Dubai next week.
Finally, I am beginning to have doubts about where my vote is going next year (UK elections). I was pretty much set on David Cameron and the conservatives, but given his latest bull*%$t on europe and Brown’s strong position and big ideas on issues such as these, I am truly beginning to waiver. My question is that given the enormity of the world problems who will be better placed at solving them; a Conservative governement fighting on the fringes of the EU or Labour from within its heart? - David, for goodness sake, please get your party’s act together or you just might blow it!
The news out of the USA yesterday is not good. The US administration has said that there is now not enough time to get a binding agreement through congress - Guardian 05.11.09. This is bad news for us all and a refelction of the uphill battle that still has to be fought to get this through.
”We have to be honest in the process and deal with the realities that we don’t have time in these four weeks to put the language together and flesh out every crossed t and dotted i of a treaty,” said John Kerry, who chairs the Senate foreign relations committee.
In a show of unity that suprised everyone, the African nations staged a mini-coup and demanded immediate action by the Rich Nations to set real targets complaining that rich nations’ carbon cuts were far too small to avoid catastrophic climate change, and refused to participate until more was done. The move forced the UN to abandon several sessions and reschedule others to give rich countries more time to debate emissions cuts. Countries have agreed to devote 60% of the remaining time to those discussions. Link
So it is all happening and the political heat is rising about time too! Let’s hope that we actually get some thing that we can all work towards!
For those of you who do not know it, the BNP is the British National Party and they are a rightwing ploitical party who believe in repatriation of foreign nationals if they do not contribute to society and until very recently did not permit any members who were not white british. Their party leader has previously been on record as a hlocaust denier.You get the picture; a bunch of racists really.
They were given airtime on the BBC QuestionTime on thursday and there has been this almighty debate since the about the rights and wrongs of such a move and whether they have benefited from the showing.
I do beleive that it was right to give them air time, and it was also right that they got a pasting from the audience and fellow members of the panel. The only thing I would have changed was to make the event spefically focussed on multi-culturalism.
But this raises an important and worrying trend, that the BNP is getting popular support - and although the support is a minority, it is still there. In the UK we need to be open and confront these issues. We are a liberal and open society and pluralistic by nature.We should debate and show them up for what they truly are; racists and irrelevant to any future UK government or ploicy making.
But I have noticed that some are suggesting that we should go further and infiltrate their organisation by joining whatever colour we are, black, white, pink and gold.
Great idea, let’s get in there and piss on their party!
An exciting new theme is beginning to emerge in our post expenses scandal world (UK). David Cameron announced today a number of wide sweeping proposals for giving us, the people more power. This is on top of what I perceive as a growing demand for greater community involvement in the fight against climate change.
Tariq Tahir writes in The Guardian 19th May 2009 about the need to engage society more proactively in the process and about the need for research monies to be put into the social side of research. In a nut shell he is saying that it is all very well developing new technologies, but if no one can or wants to use them , then what’s the point.
Prof Paul Wellings, chairman elect of the 1994 research committee says argues that it is not enough to simply rely on science and technology to come up with the answers we need. Looking at individuals’ behaviour and getting them to change is as important as new technology.
Sarah Curtis at Durham University goes on to say that ‘ I would argue that what’s important to people and how they tackle problems is not just down to individual characteristics but also to the social circumstances they are in’. She goes onto to call for a national debate between technical and social scientists.
Diane Berry at Reading University echoes this argument saying that ‘ success in markets, which many people might assume to be dominated by technological advances, depends just as much on factors such as design, economics, branding and consumer understanding. Similarly, effectively tackling some of the most significant health and environmental challenges will depend just as much on changing people’s behaviour as on advances in medicine, physics or chemistry’.
For me, these comments go to the heart of where the debate and action now needs to take place – Within Our Communities.
Let the debate begin and David, give us the power to act!
I remain bemused and frustrated by US politics. How come your public representatives can openly get paid by and support ‘vested interest’ even though it may not be in the best public interest.
I know that we are going through our own problems over here in the UK, but the issue at stake is Obama’s Climate Bill.
The bill is aimed at giving the USA a cap and trade system. Obama has the majority in both houses and it should be a matter of course (with a few republican defections) getting the bill passed. And yet there are a number of democrats who still may scupper the deal.
The reason why?- well they are paid by the oil industry to lobby against the bill!
Climate change is our biggest challenge, without the US there will be little chance of a climate deal, the evidence is all around us and yet there is still resistance. More importantly these people seem as though they can be bought for short term personal gain!
I list their names and the money they are being paid to turn against the bill (All names and numbers thanks to the Guardian 13th May 2009 pp 15)
· John Dingell, Michigan - $457,100
· Rick Boucher, Virginia - $359,151
· Charles Melancon, Louisiana - $199,600
· Jim Matheson, Utah – $160,197
· Gene Green(!), Texas - $142,449
· Mike Ross, Arkansas - $119,743
· Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania – $110,250
· Charlie Gonzalez, Texas - $98,250
· John Barrow, Georgia – $93,743
· GK Butterfield, North Carolina, $51,050
· Baron Hill, Indiana - $46,100
· Betty Sue Sutton, Ohio - $16,600
If you know them or have access to them, please tell them they need to support the bill as it represents the only way forward, for a better and safer world with more jobs and new opportunities.
Finally, I note from the article that BP is supporting the new anti-climate PR campaign . This is BULLSHIT. How could they pretend to be so green and environmental then do this. BP, I once admired you as a leader in your field. I now know that you are full of horseshit and we can’t trust you!
May 14th 2009
Tuesday 28th April 2009, the Guardian reports that ‘Arctic CO2 has peaked at highest level in 50 million years’ according to Johan Strom, professor of atmospheric physics at the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Apparently CO2 concentration levels are now at 393.7ppm after a 2008 increase of 2.5ppm. Strom goes on to say that ‘It is not the level of CO2 that is the problem’ (although very high!) ‘What is worrying is the speed of change. Never before have CO2 levels increased so fast.
Before the industrial revolution CO2 levels stood at 280ppm, now they are on average standing at 387ppm. We are told that 450ppm is the tipping point where we can expect 1m sea level rises and the plant to move into its own negative feedback loop ( ie. unstoppable climate change such as tundra melting etc). At a rate of 2.8ppm/year, this gives us just 28.5 years! D Day has just shifted to June 2031!
And if you don’t believe me, check out this little footnote I found in the NY Times last week!
I heard yesterday on BBC Radio 4 a report that by a world food organisation that by 2030 the world population will have grown 40% and that by 2050 it will have doubled. In short, this means that we will have to double our food production within 40 years!
Given that land resources are already under pressure (and reducing with global warming!) and that water is already a scare commodity in many parts of the world; How are we going to feed everyone?
The GM Food industry must be clapping their hands and my fear is that we are going to see another decision forced upon us because of our inaction, just as we are now facing with the debate over nuclear power.
If we do nothing we may have no choice but to use GM systems to increase food production and to free up previously unusable land for crop production – bugger the consequences because the down side of not doing anything is mass famine and deaths.
We must Act Now, otherwise we may have no choice!
It’s been a while since we last spoke and so much has happened in the news that I am unsure where to start; from Copenhagen to geo-engineering and Obama.
I shall start with the shocking news that has eminated from Copenhagen where scientist are reporting that we are on-track for at least a 2degC temperature rise by the end of the century.
Apparaently we are together releasing over 50bn tons CO2e into the atmosphere every year, 2-3% more than predicted. This will likely lead to a minimum 1m rise in sea levels as well as their acidification as they abosorb more CO2 leading to destruction of more eco-systems not to mention the widespread droughts predicted across Australia and Equatorial regions. If this goes above + 3degC we will see the end of the ski industry and above +4 the rainforests will begin to die. Of course it is the poorer nations that will suffer most because they do not have the funds to change..I will not go on as it gets too depressing.
In response to this there has been increasing chatter about finding geo-engineering solutions that operate on a global scale to capture, reflect or absorb CO2. Such solutions as 1500 salt spraying ships in the pacific, or giant sun shades in Space to reflect sunlight!
All pretty depressing and fanciful, but if we are now considering the nuclear option, perhaps we have to go even further to save our skins?
Then on the way to work today picked up a news bulletin that Obama is looking to pass legislation that claws back 90% of all bonuses that have been paid out to companies that have received US tax payer money. He is quoted as saying that individuals must understand that they are the cause of the financial meltdown and that thay must now take responsibility for their actions.
Wow, Cause and Effect, about time some politician got it! If only he could start talking in the same urgent terms about climate change. Could we suggest that he claws back all of the carbon profits from industries that have been polluting our climate with no thought for the consequences for so long?
Seems only fair to me; how about it Obama and Gordon?