Archive for November, 2010

Stuck for Christmas present ideas? Plant a tree in honour of a loved one

November 25th, 2010 by Guernsey Trees for Life

A Tree is not just for Christmas but planting one could be.

Stuck for Present Ideas?  For just £15, a native tree will be planted in Guernsey and you have a Certificate from The Guernsey Society of the Men of the Trees to say thank you. You will be supporting a local charity, benefitting the environment and giving a bespoke gift suitable for everyone!

Give someone a tree for life (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Email richardloyd(at)live.com or call on 07781 156525

Jaguar and Land Rover has committed £800 million to reduce vehicle emissions

November 24th, 2010 by Mike Richardson

With increasing awareness of the contribution of road transport to CO2 emissions, vehicle manufacturers are focusing an unprecedented level of attention on measures for improving vehicle efficiency.

These measures include improving aerodynamics; reducing other vehicle level parasitic losses; weight reduction achieved with efficient high technology design methods combined with lightweight materials such as aluminium; and improvements to the efficiency of the engine and transmission.

Hybrid technology is another way of improving vehicle efficiency.

(click image to expand)

Every time a vehicle is accelerated or slowed down there is associated energy consumption. The engine consumes fuel under acceleration and the brakes dissipate energy as heat during braking.

Hybrids work by recovering and storing the energy generated when slowing down or braking a car and re-using this energy to speed up the vehicle when the driver accelerates. In an electrically based hybrid this is achieved by combining the conventional engine with an electric machine. This machine is capable of operating both as a motor and a generator. A special battery also included and is used to store recovered energy for re-use.

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Material prosperity is pointless in the face of a decline in emotional prosperity

November 24th, 2010 by Professor Andrew Oswald

Emotional prosperity in Europe is falling, and this troubling fact needs to be faced by the European governments. That is the conclusion from a new research report from the University of Warwick which documents cross-country evidence on psychological health and mental well-being. The study “Emotional Prosperity and the Stiglitz Commission” by Andrew Oswald, professor of behavioural science at Warwick Business School, draws together the latest statistical evidence from a range of social-science, science and medical journals. The study is to be published in the December issue of the British Journal of Industrial Relations.

It is wrong, Oswald argues, for policy-makers to continue to focus on traditional measures of growing material prosperity, because continued economic growth is pointless if people are becoming more distressed and feeling ever more pressurised.

“Fast cars and fast showers are everywhere in western society”, he says, “but the data show us plainly that all is not well psychologically”.

He describes research demonstrating that Scottish 15 year olds now suffer more anxiety and depression than in the 1990s, and that those young people in turn suffered more than 15 year olds a decade before them back in the 1980s. He shows, for randomly selected sample of adults, that in Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium, which are the countries in the world with the most reliable longitudinal information on mental health, there is evidence over recent decades of steadily worsening psychological distress in the population and a decline in what he terms ‘emotional prosperity’. He points to new evidence that in the UK approximately 15% of people are known to be suffering from at least one mental disorder.

The demands of ever-increasing intensification of work are, the study concludes, one likely explanation. Oswald argues that in political debate the criterion of emotional prosperity should replace the increasingly outdated idea of aiming for further material prosperity.

Learning about heat pumps – what they are and how they work

November 17th, 2010 by Richard Lord

John Cantor provides a useful website to learn about how heat pumps work.  Wikipedia provides information on heat pumps.

The Centre for Alternative Technology provides a PDF paper on heat pumps and a page that answers common questions.

The Carbon Trust provides information on ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps as does The Energy Saving Trust on ground source and air source heat pumps.

Ice Energy is a distributor of heat pumps to E-SI in Guernsey.

Guernsey Electricity Ltd. supplies Dimplex heat pumps.  Guernsey Electricity’s Green Enterprise website provides a comprehensive PDF brochure on Dimplex heat pumps.

Minutes of the Jersey Climate Action Network meeting on 26 October 2010

November 17th, 2010 by Jeremy Harris

Present: Francis Binney, Bernard Carré, Françoise Carré, Jeremy Harris, Nigel Jones, Stephen Le Quesne, Nick Palmer, and Ruth Rolls.

Apologies: Apologies were received from Mark Forskitt and Joy Thomson.

1. Minutes: The minutes of the meeting held on 28th September, having been previously circulated, were taken as read and were confirmed.

2. 10:10 Campaign: The group noted that a press release had been issued to mark the national day of action on 10th October. The press release had drawn attention to wasteful energy use associated with I.T., and had been featured on Isle News. In addition, Mark had given an interview on Radio Jersey.

3. Wildlife Week: The meeting discussed plans for the ‘Wildlife Week’ that was to be held at Hamptonne from 28th May to 5th June 2011. The event was being organised by Eco-Active with the aim of ‘providing a fun schedule of conservation themed activities for families’ during the half term holiday. Ruth and Nigel had attended an initial meeting on 11th October, and other organisations represented at the meeting included Durrell Wildlife Trust, Jersey Heritage Trust, National Trust for Jersey, and Jersey Trees for Life. Space would be available free of charge to J-CAN to have a stand at the event, and the group agreed it would definitely like to participate – Nigel will advise the organisers accordingly. Detailed arrangements for the event could be finalised in the next few months, but the J-CAN stand could include screenings of short films on the ‘In Transition’ initiative, and (subject to agreement with the National Trust) a display supporting the Trust’s 2011 campaign to encourage people to pledge changes to their way of life to make a difference for sustainability, e.g. growing food, composting, home insulation etc.

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Friends of the Earth warm homes campaign

November 17th, 2010 by Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth state on their website that making our homes more energy efficient is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to slash carbon dioxide emissions and help reduce the likelihood of climate change.

Our homes leak energy.  Some Guernsey people struggle to heat their homes adequately in the winter months because of the cost.  Cold, damp homes can cause illness.  Older people and children are particularly vulnerable.

Insulating our homes helps protect our health and saves on healthcare bills.  It saves on energy bills, and creates jobs for people installing insulation and draft-proofing a building.

Friends of the Earth calls for the UK government to:

  • set a minimum energy efficiency standard for private rented homes
  • make it illegal to let the worst homes from 2016 until they are improved
  • ensure all the UK’s houses are brought up to scratch by 2020
  • support landlords and homeowners to make improvements
  • ensure people know what it costs to heat a home before moving in

Getting serious about carbon dioxide emissions

November 17th, 2010 by Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth has been leading a campaign to mobilise community support for councils to be more ambitious in leading local action to cut emissions. FOE have been asking councils to commit to cutting CO2 in their areas by at least 40 per cent by 2020; and to back calls for a nationwide system of local carbon budgets.

Researchers from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research find that Global Warming could cool down temperatures in winter

November 17th, 2010 by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

The overall warming of the earth’s northern half could result in cold winters. The shrinking of sea-ice in the eastern Arctic causes some regional heating of the lower levels of air – which may lead to strong anomalies in atmospheric airstreams, triggering an overall cooling of the northern continents, a study recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows. “These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia,” says Vladimir Petoukhov, lead author of the study and climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Recent severe winters like last year’s or the one of 2005-06 do not conflict with the global warming picture, but rather supplement it.”

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The Marine Conservation Society supports River Cottage campaign to stop discards at sea

November 16th, 2010 by Richard Lord

To support the campaign please visit the fishfight website and sign your name to the petition.  For more information please visit the MCS website.

Investing in green investments and companies that provide solutions for climate change and key megatrends to come

November 15th, 2010 by Toby Birch

As 2011 approaches and pundits peddle insipid predictions for the year to come, it seems incredible how little has been learned over the last few years. There is huge relief among asset managers who have generated positive returns, albeit from a passive policy of investing and hoping for the best. Few seem to care about the cause or consequence of what made markets defy gravity. Their jobs are safe for now and with a bit of luck their bonuses will be locked-in. While share prices have undergone a roller-coaster ride and commentators have squandered every simile in relating it, certain things remain immovable. The first is the attitude of some money managers that refuse to apologise for appalling performance of the past, having loaded client portfolios with in-house funds and products. To admit an error of judgement, conflict of interest or plain bad luck is the ultimate corporate and financial faux pas. The second is the committee-driven and consensual structure of model portfolios that look just the same as they did 5 years ago.

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