Saturday, 31 January 2009

Saving Energy Needs Deeds Not Words

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, says that local authorities need more funds to ensure energy saving is happening.

He alleges that existing building regulations are not being implemented. Research shows that up to 30% of properties being built would fail existing regulations.

Another area where deeds are not matching words is 'smart meters'. He says it could be as long as 5 to 10 years before we see any tangible change in the number of smart meters in homes. Other countries have shown that smart meters can cut energy consumption by up to 10%.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Green Euro MPs Demand a Refund

Green Party MEPs Caroline Lucas (South East England) and Jean Lambert (London) delivered a letter to the Israeli Embassy in London at 2pm today. They are asking Israel for a full refund of European Union aid given to Gaza over the past 10 years. The aid was used for hospitals, schools and to provide better sanitation and access to health care in Gaza. It totals 53M euros.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Meddling with the Oceans?

A report in the science journal Nature describes experiments to add iron to oceans, in order to boost plankton which capture carbon dioxide, and store the carbon at the bottom of the ocean when they die.

The idea is to use this system as a form of 'artificial eco-engineering' to help curb climate change.
However, small-scale scientific experiments to research these mechanisms is one thing, using the technique wholesale to change the climate is something else altogether. GM crops and 'a step too far' spring to mind. The natural eco-system and bio-diversity are complex and delicately balanced, having evolved over countless aeons. A bull-in-a-china-shop approach is unwise, to say the least.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

No Glitzy Parties..... this year

If you ever wondered what the Bankers were up to while the Credit Bubble was inflating, this BBC report explains ....

Bob Diamond, president of Barclays Bank and head of its investment banking arm, has become the latest banker to decide not to go to the World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum, held at the Swiss ski resort of Davos is an annual event attended by politicians and business leaders.

It has gained a reputation for its glitzy parties.

Other Chief Executives who decided against attending at the last minute include Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs .

"Banking officials have to be concerned with appearances more than ever," said Howard Rubenstein, president of Rubenstein Associates. "They should avoid anything that appears super fancy or super rich, or thumbing their noses at taxpayers during a time of austerity."

Never mind. They will soon get back to business as usual, when they think we aren't looking again.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Forward to the Past

The Prime Minister would like us to:

"view the threats and challenges we face today as the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order - and our task now as nothing less than making the transition through a new internationalism to the benefits of an expanding global society"

So, think of your redundancy, or the loss of your home, as a difficult birth-pang.
Mr Brown, who presided as much as anyone over the Big Credit Bubble that got us in this fine mess, sees the solution as an 'expanding global society' - that is, another Big Credit Bubble.

Monday, 26 January 2009

More Antarctic Warming Data

Another scientific report, published in Nature, gives further evidence that Antarctica is warming. Satellite and weather station data give a warming of 0.6 degrees C over the past 50 years.

The science team said the warming was probably due to both anthropogenic (human-induced) effects and natural climatic cycles.

Meanwhile, a British Antarctic Survey team reports that a huge section of ice, the Wilkins Shelf, is about to break free.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Robert Burns: Born 250 Years Ago

Tonight is Burn's Night, celebrating the birth of the poet 250 years ago today:

Then let us pray that come it may -
As come it will, for a' that -
That sense and worth. o'er a' the earth
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that;
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That man to man the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

For those like myself not versed in the dialect, 'bear the gree' means 'be victorious'.
Global Warming Killing American Trees

A new report in Science journal suggests trees in western US are dying due to climate change:

The scientists examined 59,000 trees more than 200 years old. The mortality rate was found to have doubled since 1955. Factors like insect attacks and air pollution were ruled out. Climate warming was the dominant factor. Over a 30 year period from the 1970's, mean temperatures in western US had increased around 0.4 degrees C per decade. The team also believe that a feedback loop could develop, and the forests are vulnerable to sudden, more extensive dieback.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Bird Numbers Falling in Wales

This weekend RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch is recording the nation's garden birds.
A report last Wednesday by RSPB Cymru's annual survey showed a decline in bird numbers in Wales.

Several species continue to decline, including curlews, golden plovers, starlings and yellowhammers. Some species - house sparrow, carrion crow, house martin, stonechat and the Dartford warbler however have increased. But the decline of the curlew and golden plover has been 80 - 90 % since 1993 and 1982 respectively.

So the overall picture in Wales is mixed, but the key finding is a continuing fall in total numbers of birds. This decline may be an effect of climate change.

Dr Sian Whitehead of the Countryside Council for Wales says: "Climate change is already impacting our bird life in Wales - causing changes in habitats and loss of food supplies for some species, while other, such as the Dartford warbler, are already benefiting."