Archive for the ‘climate’ Category

Hottest September day since 1911

September 13, 2016
Bob the Cat stretched out in the shade

Bob the Cat stretched out in the shade

Another record breaking temperature.

It was already hot by mid-morning. Noticeable so as I was working in the garden.

By early afternoon, Bob the Cat was stretched out trying to keep cool.

34.4C reached, hottest day of the year and hottest September day since 1911.

34.4C was recorded in Gravesend in Kent. Waddington in Lincolnshire saw ten hours of sunshine. Meanwhile in Manchester it was cool, thunderstorm, heavy rain and widespread flooding.

Hinkley Point C

July 28, 2016

Hinkley Point C will cost 18 billion euros.

Correction, Hinkley Point C  has an estimated cost of 18 billion euros. Large infrastructure projects have a nasty habit of being over time and over budget. This is true of EDF’s latest project in France.

18 billion euros is larger than the capital value of EDF. Major shareholder in EDF is the French government. If Hinkley Point C proves to be, as many suspect, a White Elephant, it will destroy the French government.

The French Unions are oposed to Hinkley Point C and are considering mounting a legal challenge.

The new UK government is having second thoughts.

The price of electricity from Hinkley Point C is guaranteed for the next thirty-five years at double the current price of electricity.

The price of electricity from renewables has been halving every 18 months.

The offshore wind farms Siemens plan to build in the North Sea will deliver electricity at much lower price than Hinkley Point C

Hinkley Point C is a disaster and must be stopped.

Proponents correctly say we need reliable sources of clean energy. That is why we must push ahead with renewables, the more we have, the more reliable, as not reliant upon the unreliability of a  few sources.  Also resilient.

We must follow a Soft Energy Path, one wheres sources are matched to usage.

Nuclear power is hard energy, it is also very brittle.

installation of rooftop solar panels

installation of rooftop solar panels

Last week, my neighbour installed 14 solar panels on his south facing roof. Speaking to the contractors, they said peak output (on a good day when the sun is shining) is 3 kW.

Imagine if every house had solar panels, if new build was mandatory to have solar panels.

Inshore wind farms have been a disaster. Wealthy landowners reap the subsidies. Or did

We need to create community owned local area grids. Into which feed renewables guaranteed a fair price. Consumers would pay a  fair price. Any surplus energy would be fed to other local are grids via a publicly owned National Grid.  Any monetary surplus would either be fed back into the local grid or used to finance community projects, watering of the collaborative commons.

EU pushed diesel, thanks to lobbying by VW (the same VW that rigged emission tests). Net result nearly ten thousand deaths a year in London due to air pollution from toxic diesel.

In US and Japan, a different route of hybrid and electric cars.

One of the problems with electricity supply from renewables, is matching supply to demand. Electricity from the sun  during the day when demand also peaks. Wind blows at night when demand is low

Surplus generation, could be, at cheaper rate via smart meters, used to charge electric cars. Electric cars when not in use, with fully charged batteries, could be used when peak demand exceeds supply. Smart meters can also use the electricity for low grade heat, for example water heating and space heating, where being cut off for a short while does not impact on the user (especially if have manual override).

A couple of weeks ago, a useless report on abuse by the Big Six, a useless report that cost millions to compile. A couple of their worthless recommendations was better use of price comparison sites (better called price fixing sites as paid by suppliers to set up deals) and if consumers had not recently change supplier, add them to a database to receive junk mail from suppliers.

One measure at a stroke would improve the situation, eliminate standing charges, a fixed rate per kW-H, or maybe two rates, one a special cheap rate when surplus exceeds supply (requiring smart meters).

There are no standing charges when paying for petrol, there should be no standing charges when buying electricity.

We do not need to nationalise the Big Six, introduce community owned and controlled local grids, and the Big Six would be driven out of business, as unable to compete.

Post-Brexit, we need investment in green infrastructure, investment in publicly owned railways, in locally owned and controlled electricity grids. What we do not need is bad infrastructure, HS2, Hinkley Point C, expansion of London City Airport or additional runways at Heathrow and Gatwick.

Farnborough International Airshow 2016

July 17, 2016
Red Arrows

Red Arrows

Every two years, a jamboree for arms dealers, a showcase for the world’s most lethal killing machines, but portrayed as a fun day out for the family.

Try telling that to families in Syria.

For the local people and businesses in Farnborough, two weeks of noise, one week of gridlocked roads.

F -35 peaked at 112 dBs.

Day 1, a heavy downpour, nothing exceptional to what we have seen this year, but the Airshow could not cope. Exhibition halls flooded, loss of power, mass evacuation from the halls, Airshow closed early.

Irony, aviation fastest growing source of greenhouse gases, airshow shut down by inclement weather.

Those expecting lots of flying, would have been gravely disappointed. Very little flying, long gaps between.

Red Arrows did a fly past, and that was it.

No Lancaster or Battle of Britain fly pass.

There was a flying fortress, it did a fly pass, and that was it.

Normally, on Saturday and Sunday, it is packed outside The Swan at the end of the runway, best place for viewing, but this year few people.

Airshow organisers showed their usual contempt for local people. No compensation for nuisances caused, but they could buy one ticket and get one half price.

Buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace. I was surprised to find closes at three o’clock.

The Swan once again ripping people off during Farnborough Airshow. A fiver to sit in the garden, £4-50 for a pint of beer.

nieve en las montañas y en el Teide

February 22, 2016
nieve en las montañas

nieve en las montañas

nieve en el Teide

nieve en el Teide

Three days of heavy torrential rain. In the mountains the rain falls as snow.

Snow not only covering El Teide, but also on the mountains surrounding Puerto de la Cruz.

In England, nothing like this volume of rain, and yet widespread flooding.

In Puerto de la Cruz, a stream in Barranco San Felipe ( a dry river valley), nothing more.

The reason the difference, hills in Tenerife covered in trees.

un arroyo en Barranco San Felipe

February 18, 2016
un arroyo en Barranco San Felipe

un arroyo en Barranco San Felipe

gulley carved at Playa Jardín

gulley carved at Playa Jardín

All morning heavy torrential rain. By  lunchtime, a stream was flowing through Barranco San Felipe, a dry river valley.  A gulley was carved out at Playa Jardín as the stream  ran to the sea. The sea turned brown.

Early daffodils

February 11, 2016

 

early daffodil

early daffodil

Last weekend, one solitary daffodil out in flower. At a guess, in flower several days earlier.

Since the weekend, several other daffodils in bud.

Very early for daffodils. Usually towards the end of March.

A few crocuses in flower.

At the weekend, strong winds, even though there had been heavy rain overnight, meant the grass could be mowed, though it was still muddy underfoot.

Since the weekend, grass spiked, a little every couple of days. Hard work.

Today, as it was sunny, though hard frost earlier, more grass spiked.

Early Onward peas sowed.

I would usually dig the ground. Not today, raked off the leaves, in went the peas.

I would also have sowed the broad beans I picked up from Infinity Foods, but could not find them.

Grass seed sowed.

Crossing the Red Line

December 12, 2015
D12 day of action in Paris

D12 day of action in Paris

The Copenhagen text included aviation and shipping emissions, that together are as large as the emissions of Britain and Germany combined, but they are not mentioned in the Paris text. .. is weaker than Copenhagen … not consistent with the latest science. — Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

It’s outrageous that the deal that’s on the table is being spun as a success when it undermines the rights of the world’s most vulnerable communities and has almost nothing binding to ensure a safe and liveable climate for future generations. In fact the deal as it stands in the context of INDCs that have been submitted sets us firmly on the path to a devastating three degrees of global warming. — Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice

Listening to the BBC news, the jubilation of delegates to COP21 in Paris, one could be forgiven for being fooled into believing some historical agreement had been signed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It has not.

The agreement excluded both aviation and shipping, without which, we cannot keep global warming below 2C.

Thee is nothing to protect indigenous rights. These are the guardians of the forests.

Unbelievable no mention of oil, coal  or gas. Nor any mention of livestock, palm oil and other industries driving deforestation.

One could also be forgiven for believing 1.5C limit to global temperature rise was something new. It is not. It always was 1.5C seen as the safe upper limit. It was political fudge that set it to 2C.

2C rise would see many Pacific islands wiped off the face of the map.

We are already seeing severe storms and more of them.

In Cumbria last weekend, we saw floods, we saw floods across southern England two winters ago.  And yet, we have business wanting to build a third runway and massively expand Heathrow Airport.

Third World countries will be the worst affected by rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and yet they are still on a programme of building more coal-fired power station.

There has to be a ban on building any new coal-fired power stations, the existing coal-fired powers stations have to be phased out.

2,440 coal-fired power plants are planned globally, both in emerging economies as a suggested means of meeting rapidly increasing electricity demand and also in many states across the EU to replace existing capacity.

Even with no new construction, emissions from coal-fired power generation in 2030 would still be 150% higher than what is consistent with scenarios limiting warming to below 2°C.

In the Cape in South Africa, wind turbines  deliver electricity at half the price of coal-fired power stations, are cheaper to build, and yet South Africa plans building more coal-fired power stations.

When was the last time you saw solar panels on a house in Cyprus?

Had the world cut carbon emission by 2% a year since the Rio Earth Summit in early 1990s we would not be where we are today.

The cuts pledged at COP21 do not add up. They would lead to a 3C rise in global temperature. And these are only pledges, not guarantees they will be met, they are not legally binding by International Treaty.

The cuts required are what the science dictates, not what Big Business, Dirty Coal, dictates.

The Paris deal requires no emissions reductions from countries before 2020.

We have to leave 80% of known carbon reserves in the ground.

But, even with what has been pledged, it means fossil fuels, coal, oil, gas, have no future. Stranded, worthless assets. It is time for massive divestment from fossil fuels.

Man is his folly and greed seems determined to destroy the planet.

Proposed expansion of Gatwick or Heathrow or maybe both in the south of England.

Burning of rain forests in Indonesia to clear the way for palm oil plantations.

Bangladesh, the world’s most ‘climate vulnerable’ large country, has plans for a 1.3GW coal power plant on the fringes of its World Heritage coastal wetlands. Mangrove swamps protect coastlines, but Bagladesh will destroy a mangrove swamp for a massive coal-fired power station.

Low lying islands, where they are destroying forests, excavating the beach, polluting the sea, mining the coral reefs.

But we ourselves, seeing the failure of politicians, can take action.

  • divest from fossil fuels
  • boycott any product containing palm oil

We have to have a Marshal Plan of investment in green infrastructure

In the UK we have corporations sitting on a £700 billion cash pile. Idle money doing nothing. We know investment in green infrastructure could lead to the creation of a million jobs.

What we are seeing is a re-run of Neville Chamberlain returning from Berlin with a signed paper by Adolf Hitler, Peace in Our Time. What we are witnessing is Appeasement of Big Business.

TTIP, if forced through, will render any agreement reached at Paris worthless.  A blitzkrieg by the EU and Big Business.

Future generations will look back and see this moment for what it was.

Today thousands of people took to the streets of Paris to protest, and in doing so defied the State of Emergency.

French Police abuse Emergency Powers to target and attack climate activists

November 29, 2015
Paris COP21 riot police attack peaceful demo

Paris COP21 riot police attack peaceful demo

What I saw today was Parisians ready to take back their city from fear. In multiple ways, people defied attempts to sweep away dissent and insisted on their right to protest, assemble and disagree passionately with their governments. Even if one does not agree with every action that took place, this general atmosphere of defiance is something to celebrate. After all, government response to the climate crisis is wholly inadequate + puts us all in great danger. Obedience in the face of this failure would be tantamount to acquiescence. — Naomi Klein

This is a disgrace and should not be tolerated, French police using tear gas and pepper spray  against peaceful climate protesters.

In the turmoil, there is greater opportunity for a terrorist attack, not less.

Once again, we see Police and the State abusing Emergency Powers.

If the Emergency Powers are to be used for targeting activists and peaceful protesters, then they should be scrapped.

To introduce Emergency Powers during the weekend of the Paris atrocities, was the right thing to do, including closing borders. To extend beyond, for at least 3 months, was not necessary, and as we see, open to abuse.

Climate activists have had their homes raided, computers seized, been subject to house arrest.

Police should be spending their time looking for terrorists, preventing terror plots, protecting citizens, not attacking peaceful protesters.

All climate marches have been banned. Whilst on the surface this appears reasonable, scratch a little and it will be seen not to be. A football match will go ahead, a trade fair will got ahead, a Christmas market.

Large gatherings of people are permitted if there is money to be made.

What is the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership?

April 19, 2015

An assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations. — John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want

TTIP is a secret trade deal between US and EU that will give global corporations unprecedented powers over our lives, as if they did not control us already, they will be able to sue governments in secret trade courts.

TTIP is so secret that even Members of the European Parliament are kept in the dark. What we do know, has come via leeks.

Yesterday, demonstrations took place across Europe against TTIP.

TTIP will reduce environmental protections, reduce food safeguards, removal of employment protection, making draconian intellectual property rights even more so, loosening of banking regulations, sell-off of NHS …

In other words, it is a Charter or Bill of Rights for Corporations, at the very time when we are celebrating Magna Carta.

KFC is lobbying for a lowering of food safety. Can what is served by KFC actually get any worse?

Do we want KFC, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, dictating what we eat and drink, dictating what employment conditions shuuld be?

David Cameron is pushing TTIP. Labour is not opposing TTIP. The Green Party are opposed.