Tag Archives: climate

Extinction Confusion

Groups of self-styled activists have picked up the issue of man-made climate change and are loudly demanding governments act to stop it; immediately.

Clearly this issue is far from new – and there are known solutions. And even though the protesters are seemingly fully committed to the cause, the implications of their radical demands are far-reaching and quite literally life-changing.

Eliminating the use of fossil-fuels would stop all commercial flights, ships, trucks and most personal transport; except for electric trains, bicycles and the limited number of fully electric cars. This move alone would spell not just the end of overseas holidays but also stop most of our essential services. With so much shipped in, out and around every day – everything from clothes to cans of beans could not be made or delivered to the shops. Foraging in the fields for edible vegetables could replace food banks. And actually growing crops without the use of diesel-power would cut productivity levels to near zero. Fighting for food would be the new norm – the young, the old and the weak would soon perish.

But the chances that this scenario would happen are near zero – since governments have shown themselves to be too ineffective to carry through such unpopular measures.

AccountDoctor160

Another approach to reducing the damage to the environment by human activity – is to control the human population. And not just by reducing the rate of population increase but actually reducing the number of people!

Since capital punishment seems unlikely to return in the short term the excess of people may have to be tackled by voluntary euthanasia. It would of course need to be a far bigger scale than those in present day Switzerland and Belgium. However nature may well assist – on a potentially massive scale – through drug resistant bacteria, exotic fatal diseases – and of course – climate change itself.

But as long as governments are in control of the situation they are not going to legislate for reductions in population. They need expanding populations to keep paying more and more in taxes to prop-up the currency and debt mountains.

So those protesters who really believe in their slogans face either a life in a pre-industrial landscape or volunteering to die for their cause.

But even after these extreme measures the Earth’s climate will continue to change. And the idea of flying-off to another planet to start again will be shown to be just a Dr Strangelove fantasy. Truly a dystopian future …

Back Again

With all our correspondents in winter hibernation nothing has appeared here for weeks. But now the first signs of Spring mean there is some renewed activity.

Heckerslyke_160First up the benefits of last year’s reduction in petrol prices have worked through to the national inflation figures – providing headlines such as UK inflation rate falls to record low of 0.3% in January. That’s good news – but perhaps not quite as good as it could have been. Take our cousins in Australia. They have seen a similar reduction in pump prices. And they buy their oil on the world market just like the UK. However today the typical Australian unleaded fill-up costs around $1.20/litre (62.8p/litre). And this is a big increase over the sub $1 prices they had in January. Just imagine how similar prices here in the Uk would boost the local economy. And give the rest of the world one less reason to think we’re all stupid to pay so much ..

Man1Sticking with fuel costs it seems strange that we are still paying high prices for domestic gas despite cost reductions at source. But these continued high prices may make switching away from gas into a viable choice – even for cooking and central heating. Now it’s doubtful that serious foodies would volunteer to stop using gas for cooking but all fans of burning hydrocarbons do face trouble ahead.

As you may have noticed the massive amounts being spent on green energy are almost exclusively aimed at producing electricity. Few, if any, are trying to provide gas for the domestic grid. The obvious conclusion is that one day our domestic gas supply will cease – either to meet green energy targets or when there are too few gas consumers to cover the costs of supporting the grid. With the government being keen to promote their green credentials, and signing up to some difficult targets, the writing is on the wall for CO2 creators like fossil fuels. In other words the question has become when rather than if. You have been warned.

ps The slow-witted politicians and public service will, most likely, press ahead with replacing all our working gas meters with smart meters even if domestic gas supplies are to be phased out before the project is complete.

China’s Climate Change Leadership

According to a report today on Politics.co.uk China is showing a leadership on climate change which the UK is lacking. This comes from MP Joan Walley (Labour, Stoke-on-Trent North) who chairs the Environmental Audit committee. She is quoted as saying that the Chinese government had a set of plans and the ability to deliver them in contrast to the UK government simply paying lip service to the decarbonisation agenda.

Shanghai1The implication is that China has done more than the UK to clean up its pollution and reduce its impact on the world’s climate. Yet simple observation does not support this politically inspired theory. Any Grandad who remembers British cities – like Stoke on Trent – in the 1950’s will know how much less pollution there is today. And any Grandad who has friends or relatives working in China now will have heard first hand reports on just how bad most Chinese cities are.

Just leaving a window open overnight results in a layer of black dust over everything by morning. Main roads need to be hosed down daily – even in mid winter – to reduce pollution build-up. Government inspectors are charged with checking factory discharges – but only work office hours so factories churn out their worst pollution over night. City pollution levels reach 10’s or even 100’s of times the recommended safe limits. And yet this exemplary Chinese government has plans for 22 additional coal-fired power stations in Guangdong alone. The emissions from which are predicted to cause as many as 16,000 additional deaths in the next 40 years [South China Morning Post].

So as little Britain tries to solve yet another worldwide problem many other countries pursue a self-interest agenda. Perhaps we should learn from them?

Climate Science

AccountDoctor160At the start of 2013 the Met Office predicted that the year was likely to be one of warmest years on record at an estimated 0.57C above the long-term average. By the end of December they were reporting that the mean temperature for 2013 was, in fact, 0.08C below that same average. Outside the Met Office predictions of a cold Winter were shown to be well off target as the UK mean temperature for December came in at 5.7 °C. That’s 1.8 °C above the 1981-2010 average and so the warmest for 25 years.

Now many Grandads might have expected this mild weather to have triggered some Global Warming stories but they were notably absent. Instead the media seemed only to be interested in freak or extreme weather. So scare stories about predicted November weather in October’s mass media led the Met Office to state the science simply does not exist to make detailed, long-term forecasts for temperature and snowfall.

Fine but somewhat at odds with the Met Office’s 2013 launch of Climate Service UK. A consultancy product hoping to provide assessments of how a changing climate might affect business and society. According to their PR it will support climate-smart decisions to make society climate-resilient, meet international capacity development objectives, and provide a framework for ensuring that public investment in climate science can be used to maximum effect.

So that’s two more buzzwords – climate-smart and climate-resilient – to watch out for in 2014. Let’s see how often they turn up in future Government handouts. And perhaps Morrissey could work them into lyrics for a Eurovision song?

Smoked in China

Shanghai1This week the British Prime Minister has been in China on a trade mission. And has even raised Grandad’s idea of getting the Chinese involved in building the HS2 rail links. But all was not so useful. First it was the makeup of the British delegation. Few seemed likely to be involved in clinching trade deals that could put a dent in the China-UK trade imbalance. In fact the only one I saw interviewed was a man trying to sell his Kentish pork sausages. Hardly a multi-million pound trade deal.

Beijing and then Shanghai were on the delegation’s route but unfortunately the weather stepped in to make its own point. Clouds of stagnant pollution formed a heavy smog. Dense sheets blocked out the sun; exceeding world safety levels by over 20 times. Children were kept indoors and construction work was ordered to stop. It caused flights to be canceled as visibility fell to just a few metres. Even business vehicle use had to be cut. It was like an old-time London or Edinburgh except then the sources were mainly homes burning coal – rather than modern industry and power stations. Despite the obvious surrounding Victorian gloom no mention was made of the pointlessness of British Green Taxes when compared to the pollution generated by China. But perhaps the trip may have indirectly helped by bringing a touch of realpolitik to the UK Government’s green taxation schemes. Smoked sausages anyone?

Royal Approval

MugCharles1“The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events has increased, and is set further to increase, in many parts of the world, as a direct result of anthropogenic climate change” Charles, Prince of Wales, 20-Nov-2013

So that ends the discussion amongst his loyal subjects and confirms that the human population is truly the cause of climate change – through increases in CO2 levels (from fossil fuel combustion, burning wood and making cement), increased atmospheric aerosols (with ozone depletion) and changing land use (especially deforestation, building construction and animal agriculture).

Now this scenario is not too hard to accept since it is easy see huge areas of the world being developed for food production, manufacturing, transport or accommodation. Even in little Britain there are pressures for more homes, more roads, more railways, more airport capacity, more consumption … and the government is supporting these negative developments under the misnomer of Growth. Yet Grandads are not alone in seeing that these developments can only increase the climate change problem. Building more homes and their support services will generate more CO2 and use up more land .. not just through the construction phase but for ever. Especially since all the homes to be built are far from carbon neutral – despite government promises that by now they would be. Everyone living in these extra homes will need food, transport, gas, electricity, water, etc. Growth equals making the problem worse. Yet no British politician would dare make population reduction a policy commitment. So even if the carbon footprint per person can be reduced this will be negated by the growth in the number of people. And Britain is forecast to have a greater population growth than its European neighbours.

canute_r200We have a situation where the problem is known but the acceptable government solutions are ineffective. And worse still  – even if all the approved measures were implemented in full the negative effects on the climate would continue to increase.

So, as that previous royal commentator King Canute pointed out, no one can stop the tide no matter how powerful they are at a human level. Now that humans have boosted climate change to its present levels they have no known mechanism for reversing the trend.