Archive for August, 2010

“When you have wind and sun you don’t need oil” – an energy saving housing project in the Netherlands

August 30th, 2010 by Richard Lord

The Iguana Project, which is a development of nine energy efficient homes, lies on the outskirts of the pretty harbour town of Stavoren, which sits on the eastern bank of the Ijsselmeer in the Dutch province of Friesland.

Hendrik Gommer and Elsa Visser who devised the project in 1997 called it the Iguana Project because like the iguana, Iguana homes obtain their warmth from the sun.

Vesta wind turbines capture the energy from the wind racing off the Ijsselmeer (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

One’s approach to Stavoren passes many large wind turbines.  They dot the flat farm land that rises above the Ijsselmeer.  Flocks of birds rest at the foot of the wind turbines, and solitary herons stand by roadside drainage ditches.

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Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York say how to reduce UK transport carbon emissions by 76 percent by 2050

August 29th, 2010 by Stockholm Environment Institute

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York have achieved a significant breakthrough in climate change policy by showing how to make drastic cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from transport.

The study and research paper, “Towards a Zero Carbon Vision for UK Transport“goes beyond the science and paints a picture of what a low carbon transport future would look like. What emerges is vision of a less stressful, quieter, healthier, more resilient and confident society.

Transport is a major source of greenhouse gases and it is increasing emissions faster than any other sector of the economy. Growing levels of car use, road freight and flying have created difficulties in reducing transport’s greenhouse gas emissions.

But the York project has shown a phased programme of technological, financial and behavioural changes could secure the following potential cuts in (CO2) emissions compared to business-as-usual approach:

  • 100 per cent in road transport (cars and lorries)
  • 100 per cent in rail transport
  • 56 per cent in aviation
  • 49 per cent in shipping

The resulting overall reduction for transport in the UK by 2050 is 76 per cent.

The project took an evidence-based approach that meant reductions were included only if there was already-available experience showing that they could be achieved.

The research suggests that if the measures were implemented, there would be substantial economic benefits for individuals and businesses as well as a significant fall in road deaths and injuries. There would also be large reductions in noise and air pollution and dramatic changes in urban design and planning to provide substantially improved opportunities for walking, cycling and community cohesion.

Professor John Whitelegg of the Stockholm Environment Institute and co-author of the study said “This project marks a significant break with traditional thinking that regards transport as too hard to deal with when it comes to greenhouse gas reduction. We have shown that the potential is much greater than anyone previously thought and that reductions in emissions go hand in hand with improvements in air quality, health and economic success.”

The project adopted an innovative approach in specifying the reduction potential from spatial, technological, fiscal and behavioural changes. It identified the maximum degree to which these can be applied in a phased programme of action over the next 40 years.

The policy recommendations include a number of radical but achievable measures including:

  • Spatial planning to create neighbourhoods and communities where it is possible to reach destinations on foot or by bicycle and public transport
  • New approaches to the regionalisation of production and consumption to bring about reductions in road freight
  • Increases in the cost of transport to implement the so-called “polluter pays principle”
  • Full de-carbonisation of the UK electricity supply system (as envisaged by the Climate Change Committee)
  • Full conversion of all cars to Plug In Electric Vehicles or Hydrogen Fuel Cells utilising de-carbonised electricity

The market price of oil

August 29th, 2010 by Richard Lord

The market price of oil does not include the cost of environmental damage and nor does it include the cost of human conflict over the oil supply.

National Zero Waste Week 6 to 12 September 2010

August 28th, 2010 by Richard Lord


National Zero Waste Week takes place the week beginning 6th September 2010.

This year’s theme is ‘Cooking for Victory’ in response to the Waste Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) “household Food and Drink Waste in the UK” report. The report shows we throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink every year.

Most of this is avoidable and could have been eaten if we had planned, stored and managed it better.

This amount of food waste costs the average family in Britain £50 per month.

Everything You Need to Know About Global Warming in 5 Minutes

August 27th, 2010 by Jeremy Grantham

The following essay appeared in the GMO July 2010 quarterly newsletter.   GMO is a global investment management firm committed to providing sophisticated clients with superior asset management solutions and services.


1) The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, after at least several hundred thousand years of remaining within a constant range, started to rise with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It has increased by almost 40% and is rising each year. This is certain and straightforward.

2) One of the properties of CO2 is that it creates a greenhouse effect and, all other things being equal, an increase in its concentration in the atmosphere causes the Earth’s temperature to rise. This is just physics. (The amount of other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as methane, has also risen steeply since industrialization, which has added to the impact of higher CO2 levels)

3) Several other factors, like changes in solar output, have major influences on climate over millennia, but these effects have been observed and measured. They alone cannot explain the rise in the global temperature over the past 50 years.

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Avant Garden sets up The Guernsey Environmental & Conservation Learning Centre

August 25th, 2010 by Richard Lord

Avant Garden located in a marquee in the grounds of Sausmarez Manor, St. Martin has dedicated a corner of their premises to The Guernsey Environmental & Conservation Learning Centre.

The learning Centre has teamed up with Wildlife World to sell a wide variety of insect hotels and feeders, bird feeders, and amphibian and mammal homes.

The centre sells also laminated identification guides produced by the Field Studies Council.


Avant Garden proprietor Nick Martel at the West Show promoting The Guernsey Environmental & Conservation Learning Centre. (click image to expand)


Avant Garden sells products from Wildlife World to encourage pollinating bees (click image to expand)

Clean Green Gardens sells smokeless charcoal at Sausmarez Manor farmers’ market

August 25th, 2010 by Richard Lord

Dave Morgan of Clean Green Gardens with a bag of the charcoal he produces (click image to expand.)

Dave Morgan of Clean Green Gardens makes charcoal from the wood his gardening service clears.  The smokeless charcoal, which is produced in a large steel container, sells at the Sausmarez Manor farmers’ market on Saturdays for £2.50 for a 2 kg bag.  Dave makes four or five 2 kgs. bags of charcoal per burn.  Dave also sells jewellery at the farmers’ market.  He can be contacted on 07781 119921.

Chris Shepherd with a purchase of Dave Morgan's smokeless charcoal (click image to expand)

G-CAN holding a meeting about Guernsey’s solid waste consultation process

August 25th, 2010 by Rosie

The States of Guernsey Public Services Department (PSD) are embarking on a widespread public consultation as part of the formation of their next ‘Solid Waste Strategy’. This consultation process is starting with two workshops on the 8th & 9th September to which Guernsey Climate Action Network (G-CAN) has been invited to send a couple of representatives.

A G-CAN meeting is being held on the evening of 26 August for anyone interested in having some in-put into this process, or for those who would like to be kept up-to-date with the process.

At this meeting we will finalise who will represent G-CAN and confirm our stance on this issue.

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Sustainable Architecture in Guernsey – A necessity or a pipe dream?

August 25th, 2010 by Vanessa

Architect Bill Dunster OBE will give a presentation on 2 September beginning at 8 pm at the Princess Royal Centre for Performing Arts on “Sustainable Architecture in Guernsey – A necessity or a pipe dream?

Bill Dunster OBE image ©Morley von Sternberg (click image to expand)

Bill Dunster heads up the ‘ZEDfactory’ (Zero Emission Developments), an award winning practice specialising in low energy, low environmental impact buildings, including BedZED, the unique carbon-neutral live-work community in the London Borough of Sutton, designed by the practice and completed in 2002.

click image to expand


For further information about Bill Dunster’s work and the ZEDfactory philosophy, visit and download their Practice Profile.

The Zedfactory supports 10:10 and the Code for Sustainable Homes.

The presentation is free to attend but please call 728886 or email vanessa (at) to reserve a seat.

Bill Dunster’s visit to Guernsey is kindly sponsored by Bas MooArc Ltd. and the Guernsey College of Further Education.


The 2010 Durrell – RBC Business and Sustainability Conference

August 23rd, 2010 by Francis Binney

The annual Durrell Sustainability Conference is being held this year at the Pomme D’Or Hotel in St. Helier, Jersey on 20 October beginning at 8 am and finishing at 11 am.

The keynote speaker is Matthew Thomson who runs the London Community Recycling Network (LCRN).  Mr. Thomson has become a leading expert on systems, infrastructure and markets at the top of the waste hierarchy, with a detailed practical understanding of how materials and products may be reused. He has also significant experience of local and onsite processing and is a knowledgeable advocate of both the proximity principal and of zero waste.

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