Archive for December, 2010

A New Year message from Transition North Cornwall

December 31st, 2010 by Paul Sousek

2011 is shaping up as the second oil crisis this century, which means it may be a tough year.

We know what to expect, we have seen it before, in 2008. Hikes in energy prices, transport costs, fertilizers, increases in food prices etc. and with that slow down of the world economy triggering another recession. That in turn will put pressure on asset values, such as houses, business premises and shares, squeezing the banks again.

However, this time the state will not play the White Knight. Instead states themselves may well need rescuing and it is not at all clear how that will be achieved, possibly triggering some kind of world financial collapse.

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They say football and climate change are a matter of life and death – but they’re more important than that (part 1)

December 30th, 2010 by Richard Lord

(click book cover to go to the publisher's web page)

Professor David MacKay, Chief Scientific Advisor to HM Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, writes of “Climate Change for Football Fans”, “Football supporters will never see the world in the same way after reading this book.”

The Guernsey media football team held Guernsey Government United to a 4 all draw so retained the trophy another year (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Climate Change for Football Fans” is an entertaining and engaging book on the psychology and science of football and climate change.  The book follows the fortunes of a club in the football league Championship over one season and the discussions between an ardent football supporter and his mates and a Professor who is concerned about the impact of climate change on humanity.

By betting one thousand pounds on who can learn more, the Professor and the football fan agree to become knowledgeable about each others’ concern.  The Professor agrees to buy a season ticket and attend every game in exchange for discussing with the football fan what politicians can do to reduce anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.

The opening chapter of the book begins in the pub.

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Football and climate change are a matter of life and death (part 2)

December 30th, 2010 by Richard Lord

(click book cover to visit publisher’s website)

“There’s no point relying on people’s instincts to do something about the problem.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“Many of us like to do away with government meddling: but if you can’t rely on people to solve the problem themselves, then meddling becomes necessary.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“Nature did not equip us with instinctive tools to identify and respond to long-term threats.”

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“Sometimes people say that disasters will prompt us into action.”  “By the time disasters like that come along, it will be too late.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“There are many social groups which have to be won over in order to get change.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“In some cases we accept that economic markets are not the only way to guide society.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“People frequently excuse inaction on some matter of climate policy by saying that it is a hard sell.”  “It exposes the distinction between the rare politicians who are leaders and the majority who are followers.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“We have known about the greenhouse effect for over 180 years.”  “It takes this order of time for ideas to become accepted, turn mainstream and for anyone to do anything about it.”

“King James II figured that smoking was dangerous in 1604.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“Greenhouse gas emissions are part of a fiendishly complex set of predicaments.”

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“In doing the right thing, we can actually make life a little bit better for ourselves.”

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“In short we can afford to emit another 750 billion tons of C02 and then we are stuffed.  Full stop.”

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“Redundancy means having back-up plans in place in case your first plan doesn’t work.  That would be sensible since we are talking about the survival of humanity as we know it.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“If your world is an egg and you want to make an omelette, do you count the cost of breaking the shell?  Or do you look at the value of the omelette?”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

Because of “industrial lobbying…. the carbon price will always be too low to achieve its aim.”

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“Generally, our habits are so deeply ingrained that for carbon prices to jerk us out of these routines they would have to be so shockingly high as to be politically unacceptable.”

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“Worrying about 2020 and 2050 is a distraction.  We need to abandon long-term policies and adopt ruthlessly short-term policies in the matter of cutting emissions.”

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“We need to focus on 2011 and 2012.  Luckily, there are lots of businessmen who are excellent at thinking in the short-term, so we should be OK.”

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“Current policy thinking is caked in huge dollops of faith and mysticism….. They might as well get out and do a rain dance.”

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“There are two approaches: a tough one and a softy one.  Under the tough one, if you fuck with nature then you get it in the back.”

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“A reminder that it isn’t about what we should be doing as individuals.  It’s about policy, i.e. what the government ought to be doing.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“The rich have a very special place in society and in the problem of greenhouse gas emissions because of their power and influence over everyone else.”  “Somehow we want to keep the energy and creativity of the entrepreneur but channel the influence and power of the rich in the right direction.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“The single most important thing to be done – most urgently – is to make our houses hold heat.”  “A market-based approach is too late.”  “Some coercion will be required from government.”

(click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“Time for politicians to get their thinking caps on.”

Channel Television post match interview with Guernsey Government United Team Captain Deputy Leon Gallienne (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

Our politicians will do better next year (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

This book is all about football but it will give you a some good advice about a matter of life and death too.

The Guernsey Media football team 2010 retain the trophy for another year (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“You didn’t think that cutting emissions would be that easy, did you?”  “We are in the last minute and we are relying on long-shots from outside the box.” James Atkins, Carbon Trader, and Author of “Climate Change for Football Fans – A Matter of Life and Death

Make your New Year’s Resolution a ‘Promise’ to START something good

December 30th, 2010 by Start

Start, an initiative inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales to promote and celebrate sustainable living, is seeking to galvanise people and whole communities across the UK to make ‘promises’ in the New Year related to sustainable living. Start Something Good in 2011 and make a ‘promise’ to lead a more sustainable life from midnight on 1 January 2011.

This brand new campaign follows the success of A Garden Party To Make A Difference, the eco-festival held in the gardens of Clarence House at the invitation of The Prince Of Wales which saw over 30,000 people investigate new and simple ways to lead more sustainable lives. Throughout the festival over 50% of visitors pledged or made a ‘promise’ to make a sustainable alteration in their lives, from insulating their loft and using low energy light bulbs to turning off the tap whilst cleaning teeth or simply to grown some of their own food. A sample of the ‘promises’ made at the Virgin Money Pledge Tree showed that 45% of people were inspired to make changes relating to Energy use, 17% Food, 14% Garden, 13% Miscellaneous and 11% focused on Water conservation.

Beginning a full year of activity, Start are urging the UK to make a New Year’s resolution to Start Something Good and register their ‘promise’ at Whether choosing from the existing simple ideas or registering a new one, each ‘promise’ will help generate a picture of the most popular ‘promises’ to lead a more sustainable life. Ten New Year’s resolution ‘promise’ suggestions are:

1. Start insulating

2. Start holidaying closer to home

3. Start loving your leftovers

4. Start buying local in season produce

5. Start upcycling

6. Start using water wisely

7. Start being thermostat friendly

8. Start car sharing

9. Start making and baking

10. Start Shwopping

A very simple New Year’s resolution could be to ‘promise’ to Start Shwopping. Shwopping is a new Start initiative to encourage people to swap unwanted or ‘pre-loved’ gifts as an alternative to shopping for new items. Whether exchanging items with friends, or throwing a Shwopping party, this is a brilliant opportunity to increase the lifecycle of objects and encourage a more sustainable lifestyle.

A perfect time of year to Start Shwopping and relocate those annual unwanted Christmas gifts. A recent YouGov poll found that toiletries were the least wanted gifts in 2009 and included Britney Spears perfume and bubble bath, lush bath bombs and bubble bath selection boxes.

The ten most unusual unwanted gifts mentioned by respondents included:

• A Book Of Wills

• Fake Moustache

• Make Your Own Paper Kit

• Anti Snoring Spray

• An Inner tube

• A wasp catcher

• A Frozen Eel

• Suduko toilet paper

• ‘amusing’ slippers

• No presents at all

Jo Kenrick, CEO of Start said, “We are delighted to announce this new initiative from Start. This is a brilliant opportunity for people to make promises they do intend to keep, and to unite the country in one very simple goal.”

(click Start logo to be taken to their home page)

Too much recyclable material is going to the Mont Cuet landfill

December 29th, 2010 by Richard Lord

The Guernsey Recycling Advisory Forum (GRAF) laid down a challenge before Christmas – Could Guernsey residents send less waste to the Mont Cuet landfill in December 2010 than they did in December 2009?

We will know whether Guernsey residents met this challenge in January 2011 when the December figure is published.

What is obvious from a casual observation of garbage put out for collection on St Peter Port streets is the amount of recyclable material that is still entering the waste stream destined for the Mont Cuet landfill.

Black bin bags lined Pedvin Street on Monday 27 December in anticipation of collection, which occurred on Tuesday night.  One bin bag revealed a quantity of recyclable material including plastic PET bottles, paper, and tin cans.

Plastic bottles and tins that were in this black bin bag for collection can be recycled at Guernsey's bring banks ( Photographed on 27 December 2010 - click image to expand)

Black bin bags with recyclable material in them (click image to expand)

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Jersey Climate Action Network’s December 2010 newsletter

December 29th, 2010 by Jersey Climate Action Network

(click logo to go to J-CAN website)

Almost 90% of Jersey people believe climate change is a problem, according to the Jersey annual social survey. I could hardly hope for a better headline to end 2010. It is a testament to the hard work by the committee and members. I would like to thank all of you for your magnificent support over the year.

This seems an appropriate point to make some specific thanks too. Early movers in getting our network moving were Paul and Maya. They are now in New Zealand, but the permaculture film Maya directed before she left has been shown and well received at a number of film festivals. I hear she has also recently won a script writing award.

Another couple of our regular activists, Roger and Hazel, have also moved off island. Many of you will have met them at our meetings, or collecting signatures. Thank you both for the terrific activity you put in to get us up, running and noticed.

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Who cares if overindulgence is not green?

December 24th, 2010 by International Journal of Sustainable Development

At this time of year, indulgence is the buzzword.  There are luxury goods to buy, roaring fires to relax by, sunnier climes to jet off to, and distant friends and family to visit.

So many of us overindulge because of a lack of awareness, a lack of will, a lack of responsibility, and peer pressure (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

But how does this festive spirit align with environmental obligations and our attitudes to going green?

More to the point indulgence isn’t just for Christmas, it occurs all year long.  Even during a severe economic downturn many people consider it a right to luxuriate in consumer goods, drive needlessly, turn up the thermostat in winter, or the air-conditioning in summer, and forego their green credentials time and time again.

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Globalisation burdens future generations with biological invasions

December 24th, 2010 by Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ

The consequences of the current high levels of socio-economic activity on the extent of biological invasions will probably not be completely realized until decades into the future.

A new study on biological invasions based on extensive data of alien species from ten taxonomic groups and 28 European countries has shown that patterns of established alien species richness are more related to historical levels of socio-economic drivers than to contemporary ones.

An international group of 16 researchers reported the new finding this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The publication resulted from the three-year project DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Inventory for Europe), funded by European Union within its 6th Framework Programme.

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Reducing emissions from shipping: European Commission’s Joint Research Centre sets out options

December 21st, 2010 by European Commission Joint Research Centre

Maritime transport causes about four percent of global man-made CO2 emissions which makes its carbon footprint approximately as high as Germany’s.

There is no regulation of international maritime transport emissions yet, but this is currently under discussion in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Condor ferry accelerates towards Jersey from St Peter Port harbour on 29 July 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

In respect of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, shipping is the most environmentally-friendly mode of transport.  However, if no action is taken, it is estimated that emissions from ships will increase by 150-200% by 2050. At present, around 50,000 merchant ships transport 90% of global goods and make maritime transport indispensable for the world economy.

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Matching the source of energy with the energy requirement

December 21st, 2010 by Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Safety and Energy Technology

Researchers at Fraunhofer study energy to see where there can be major improvements in using energy efficiently.

Carsten Beier from the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen, Germany does not believe that “anyone would burn a 50-dollar bill just to keep warm.  It’s obvious that it simply is too valuable for that.” But, in contrast to dollar bills, most energy carriers are all too frequently burned for less than they are worth. Take wood, for example. Beier and his colleagues have analyzed the efficiency of heat supply systems and he explains that “wood is a high-quality fuel that can be compared to natural gas. With adequate technologies we could utilize it for power generation. As a fuel, there‘s a lot more in wood that we are taking advantage of at the moment.”

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