Power and Protest/”People Power”:
(Social Movements in the 20th Century)
- the environmental movement –
Part 3 - Updates
(These are brief notes, arranged in alphabetical order of topics).
NB: there is a separate file for climate change – see Links: Imagining Other index page
1. Topics covered (notes are in alphabetical order):
#homo sapiens timescale (evolution of species, and time-scale of agriculture and industry).
Lovelock – see Gaia
We cleared up a lot of the
problem in 1980s by switching from coal to gas (little sulphur), catalytic
converters (reduce nitrogen), scrubbers in factory chimneys, and this led to an
80% cut in acid rain. In the early ‘80s, (?only) 3m tonnes SO2 were emitted
Acid rain is now known to affect the oceans: Acidification of the oceans (Green World 65, Summer 2009):
- the pH (the alkalinity – 7 is neutral, i.e. anything below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline or base) of the ocean’s open water has been 8.2 for millions of years, now (since burning fossil fuel for couple of centuries) is down to 8.05 (i.e. more acidic) – acidity goes down to 1,000 metres and in some places to 3,000 metres – ocean makes up 99% of planet’s living space – plankton control the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle and part of the oxygen cycle – 3.6 billion yrs ago plankton began to produce oxygen, hence life could develop – every second breath we take is of oxygen from plankton
- pre-industrial levels of CO2 were 280 ppm by volume, and by mid-century is likely to be doubled to 560 – plankton makes less calcium in more acidic water – we don’t know what effect this will have
– acidification could lead to
mass extinction: previous 5 such events were all accompanied by acidification
(last time 65 m yrs ago, dinosaurs died out). Alanna Mitchell, author: The
Hidden Ecological Crisis of the
- useful and controversial piece by George Monbiot: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/03/rich-landowners-farmers-welfare-nfu-defra
and replies in Guardian 7th March: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/06/mistake-claim-all-farming-same
John Vidal article, Guardian
(G2) 20.03.13: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/19/uk-air-pollution-health-crisis?INTCMP=SRCH
– distressing to see that photochemical smog is still around... (my notes on
this, at CSR Chapter 6 - the environment were
originally written in the ‘70s and ‘80s – and the Clean Air Act goes back to
1955!!). There are 5.4 million people in
Declining bird population. David Adam, G 250509:
About 75% of British countryside is farmed.
During 1980s, farmers were paid a guaranteed price by EU for wheat, barley etc. àoversupply, grain mountains …
Cost of storing surplus grew, and cheaper to pay farmers not to use the land à ‘set-aside’ (“voodoo economics” acc. David Adam.
8% - 15% farming land set aside and policy continued for 20 years. During this time bird population flourished… (less chemicals, more weed seeds).
2007 policy dropped after poor harvests and rising food prices. More food needed, so farmers took set-aside land back into use. But if prices rise…
Decline in cereal prices àslight rise in unfarmed land – government plans to
start set-aside again (because concern over wildlife?), giving subsidies. RSPB
wants mandatory 4-5% of farmland to be out of production, while farmers want it
left to them (they say they can manage the problem, and compulsory measures
mean farmers don’t deal with it so thoroughly/effectively – others say if
farmers don’t implement set-aside, they only have to forgo the subsidies – £240
per year for each acre devoted to conservation – while growing wheat would
bring £130 profit per year according to John Cousins, farmer in Hadleigh nr.
Attenborough, David: in Observer Magazine, 28.10.12 talks about the environmental crisis – size of the world’s population is the main problem, but also working on a film on damage to the oceans (waste plastic especially). Has been criticised for not speaking earlier about global warming, but now has run up against Nigel Lawson for his arguments about melting polar ice (in an episode of his TV film Frozen Planet) – Lawson shows a complete misunderstanding of the global nature of the crisis we are facing (by picking on spots where the world has got colder!). He is ‘up a gum tree’.
Susanna Rustin interview: http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/oct/21/david-attenborough-frozen-planet-climate-change
Badgers: George Monbiot 23.10.12 a cull could, according to Prof John Bourne who led the government’s trial (cost 49 m) ‘make TB a damn sight worse’. In the 1960s strict quarantine rules and rigorous testing of cattle almost eliminated TB, but farmers complained and controls were relaxed...
May 2014. IFLS article, put on Facebook criticises a study by Dr Alex Lu as not proving what he claims – that neonics are a serious contributor to bee decline. A Public Health Bulletin summary is interesting: http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/harvard-study-strengthens-link-between-neonicotinoids-and-bee-death/
29.04.13 European commission will suspend use of three neonicotinoids for two years – British government abstained in the first vote and then voted against a ban.
Damian Carrington report: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/29/bee-harming-pesticides-banned-europe
23.10.12 George Monbiot points out that other European nations have banned neo-nicotinoids, and a new study in Nature this week provides more evidence of the devastating impacts of neo-nics. However, as Monbiot argues, class interests work against doing the sane things about all this.
In January 2013 Damian
Carrington reported that EFSA has said that imidacloprid should not be used on
crops that attract bees.
Articles by Damian Carrington:
A recent article by Damian Carrington – the importance of wild insects as well as bees for pollination:
Damian Carrington blog link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/
- the latest from this blog: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2013/mar/01/bees-pesticide-neonicotinoids?CMP=twt_gu#
In an article on 1st
March Carrington points out that honey bees are not alone – and may not be the
most important – in pollinating crops and flowers: wild bees and other insects
play an important part, according to scientists at the
The research was published in Science journal.
In the 20th
century in the
- a good Guardian editorial on bees and neonicotinoids:
Scientists from Fera [Food and Environment Research Agency – an executive agency of Defra, whose ‘overarching purpose is to support and develop a sustainable food chain, a healthy natural environment, and to protect the global community from biological and chemical risks’ http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/] and the University of Exeter have come to the conclusion that neonicotinoid pesticides may not pose as great a threat to bee populations as had previously been thought. In a study, published this month in the journal Science ,researchers suggest neonicotinoid oilseed rape pesticide Cruiser may not be responsible for colony collapse disorder in bees, though two studies published earlier in the year in Science came to the opposite conclusion.
Neonicotinoids are among the most widely-used agricultural insecticides in the World; honeybees ingest residues of the pesticides as they gather nectar and pollen from treated plants. Previous studies had shown that sub-lethal doses of the preparations caused disorientation and other harmful effects in bees, leading authors to suggest the chemical could be linked to colony collapse disorder, wherein worker bees abruptly disappear from a colony.
In response to findings from April this year, which linked thiamethoxam, the active ingredient in Syngenta’s Cruiser OSR pesticide, to colony collapse disorder, the French government banned the chemical. Italy has since followed suit and environmental activists in the UK have called on the government to introduce a National Bee Action Plan and join the French and Italian governments in outlawing the pesticide.
The week, the UK government announced it would not act on the matter, following consultation with Fera and the Health and Safety Executive.
However, the Fera study does not suggest that pesticides are in any way harmless. It merely points out that the authors of a previous French study had not accurately calculated the rate at which honeybee colonies recover from losing individuals or expand during the spring, when oilseed rape is blossoming. Previous research, led by French scientist Mikaël Henry, showed that the death rate of bees increased when they drank nectar laced with a neonicotinoid pesticide at concentrations which they would typically find in the field, the new study does not contest this.
Clarifying the results of his research, Dr James Cresswell of the University of Exeter who led the Fera study said, “We know that neonicotinoids affect honeybees. I am definitely not saying that pesticides are harmless to honeybees, but our research shows that the effects of thiamethoxam are not as severe as first thought.”
He said that his study merely showed that “there is no evidence that [thiamethoxam] could cause colony collapse; when we repeated the previous calculation with a realistic birth rate, the risk of colony collapse under pesticide exposure disappeared.”
Biodiversity: The State of
IUCN Red List (begun in 1996,
but includes extinctions going back to 1500 – see Guardian display
March 2013: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/mar/01/biofuel-habitat-loss-usa on takeover of land for biofuels in
Luiz da Silva: rich countries produce 65% of greenhouse emissions;
Aug. 2012: CCS - Carbon capture and storage – article by Simon Neville, Guardian 6th Aug tells how this no longer looks viable because the price of carbon is too low, owing to the credit crunch... Hey Ho, another success for marketisation!!!
Oct 2010: Carbon neutral city: ‘Self-sufficient and
carbon-neutral city’: Masdar, on the
Tom Burke, founding director of E3G (not-for-profit sustainable development
organisation) (G 160108): scale of problem must be recognised: need avoid 2%
increase but have already increased 0.7, and cannot prevent another 0.7… Must
cut all CO2, including agriculture, deforestation, etc – no time to learn from
our mistakes, and dwarfs anything we have faced before. Agrees must move to
electricity, as CO2 from oil/gas cannot be stored (especially cars, also home
boilers?). Only 3 sources: renewables, nuclear, fossil + CCS. Wind added 15 GW
last yr – nuclear added only 2GW. Coal is main fuel world-wide,
Jan 2007: Carbon footprint: carbon
reduction action groups (crag) aim to get members to reduce carbon footprint – can
be penalized by the group if go beyond [how?!]. Andy Ross (in FoE) set one up
in Warwickshire (Obs 21.01.07 – Cash section!). Targets
To measure footprint: take a year’s gas and electricity bills, estimate annual car mileage, divide by number of people in household. Sites that give methods to calculate: www.climatecare.org or www.carbonrationing.org.uk (more complex) – also see www.cred-uk.org (carbon reduction project – national and in US). Royal Society website has figures so you can compare with others: www.rsacarbonlimited.org
excessive taxation of drivers was put paid to by EU report: road accidents,
pollution and noise from cars cost every EU citizen more than £600 a year.
Report: The True Costs of Autonomobility,
was by transport academics at
Even with drivers’ insurance
payments discounted the total cost to the EU was £303 bn or 3% of the bloc’s
entire GDP. (Peter Walker Guardian 26th Dec 2013). Total costs did
not include costs of congestion or ill health caused by lack of exercise...
Fuel duty (including VAT) and vehicle excise duty contribute around £38 bn a year to the Treasury - £10 bn less than the estimated cost.
They conclude that ‘internalisation of external costs is the essential thing in a market economy. It’s a prerequisite for everything – for individual behaviour and for innovation within the car industry.’ See also CSR chapter 6...
Examples of CO2 emissions by type:
A. VW Polo BlueMotion 1.4: <100 (g/km)
B. Peugeot 107 1.0: 101 – 120
C. Fiat Panda 1.2: 121 - 150
E. Renault Scenic 1.4: 166 – 185
G. Porsche Cayenne: 225 (some Porsches 300)
Average CO2 emissions in cars sold in EU: 160 g/km
EU target: all new cars must emit average 130 g/km by 2012.
Congestion charges: £10 a year for low; £8 a day for middle; £25 a day for high.
Most new models sold now fall into middle bracket, especially @ F: 186 – 225 (1,166 as against 193 in A/B range). Rest (C,D,E: 2,391). G: 799.
GLA says 33,000 a day in G category!!
Cutting down consumption: 25/5/11 G: Response, by Simon Fairlie – editor of The land - http://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/ - criticises George Monbiot for his support for nuclear power, when he doesn’t argue that we need (in the west) to reduce our consumption.
Extract: A study by the Clean Air Task Force
suggests that coal power in the
You're picturing filthy plants in
While nuclear power is faltering, coal is
booming. Almost 1,200 new plants are being developed worldwide: many will use
coal exported from the
John Vidal, Guardian
A new industrial emissions
(from Ecologist mag, Nov 2008): Western countries must reduce (contract) their CO2 emissions, while some developing countries can be allowed to increase theirs until the world converges on a sustainable carbon footprint (between 1 and 2 tonnes annually [per person?] at current population levels.) The website for CRAG (Carbon-Rationing Action Group) has table showing how the average footprint of its members has reduced: www.carbonrationing.org.uk there are 650 members (2008) and a wiki-based site also…
Devised by Global Commons Institute – see Mayer Hillman letter G 090707. Greenpeace, FOE, WWF not agree? “Requires contraction of global carbon emissions to a safe level and convergence towards sharing them equally among the world’s population.”
Also on government price of “carbon” – see Paul Ekins, GuardianSociety second week in Feb.
Recently Brown and Stern have recommended we reduce CO2 by 80%, not 60%, by 2050, to prevent 2 degree rise – previous figures based in 1995 paper. Monbiot 04.12.07 calculates reduction needed is much greater (95 – 98%)!!! Currently ave prodn per person is 3.58 tonnes. See below on value/cost of carbon etc.
Also problem of feedback: as climate warms, sea and
soil may produce more CO2, also tropical forests may die so envt may be less
able absorb CO2. Taking CO2 from air is poss but expensive: @ £256 – 458 per
tonne, 3 x cost of wind turbines, 2 x cost of nuclear power, slightly cheaper
than tidal power, 8 x cheaper than domestic solar panels (govt figures).
Also Prof Rod May, Imp Coll: rate of growth of economy cause greater rate of growth of consumption of resources (each doubling period leads to as much consumption as all previous periods!!!).
How measure, who pays? G letter (071107) suggests that there should be “four protocols for green firms”: carbon footprint: direct emissions (by the organisation), indirect emissions (purchased from electricity generators etc) other indirect emissions (supply chain e.g. transport, waste disposal), and what about emissions caused by use of the product? At present, this is down to the consumer, but should be manufactured in such a way that minimal CO2 etc.
Consumer/marketing: 61% of marketers agree a company’s sustainability practices affect customers’ buying decisions (Marketing Trends Survey Autumn 2007). “Green marketing” one of the fastest growing areas of the sector, (Caitlin Fitzsimmons, mediaguardian 210108) Proctor and Gamble (Ariel), Innocent Drinks, Head of Eurostar: green marketing an imperative now, or cies will be left behind… Pitfall: accusations of “greenwash” and ASA critd Shell for claiming its waste CO2 was used to grow plants when this only 0.5% of its waste CO2. To avoid accusation, have to follow up on claims. Social marketing now part of the profession. Makes a cy good to work for, too. [and see on ethical marketing in CSR…]
(New York Times, 031010,
Justin Gillis): reefs are dying off, or at least bleaching or going into
survival mode. Coral reefs are made up of millions of polyps (tiny animals)
algae get nutrients from them and live in the reefs, in return the algae
capture sunlight and carbon dioxide and make sugars that feed the polyps. NB a
good example of symbiosis… The first eight months of 2010 matched the highest
temperatures yet recorded, in 1988 (Jan – Aug). Reefs harbour perhaps a quarter
of all marine species, even though they only occupy a small space in the oceans.
Reefs of the coasts of
Meanwhile, airlines resist
plan to include them in emissions targets!! IATA says 170 countries oppose the
proposals to maker flights in and out of EU subject to caps that apply to power
Workplaces? National Trust
But Christian Aid report, by Andrew Pendleton 190207: only 16 of top 100 meet govt guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions – almost 200m tonnes missing from annual reports. Top 100 produce 12-15% of our emissions. True figures shld be 67% higher..
Consumers International and Accountability (includes National Consumer Council and Which) report, June 2007, says 40% distrust business claims about the environment, and 50% not sure. 60% believe scientists, 50% believe pressure groups. Family and friends are also trusted more than bus or politicians. Only 17% trust the media… Director of Accountability: Philip Monaghan (international non-profit making body). [Terry Macalister, G 190607.] Survey of consumers’ actions shows 60% often reduce e use, nearly 50% bought e-reducing light bulbs, but complaints about cost of environment-friendly products, and 1/3 “confused”.
sponsored conference on the environment, but still burning flares in
George Monbiot, G 110510: more
to blame than developing world for environmental damage – not case that ‘only
rich countries can afford to protect the environment’. Look at Gulf of Mexico
disaster, and report: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which
says deforestation between 2000 and 2005 was done mainly by US – least damage
done by Democratic Republic of Congo (10 times less), with Indonesia in between
(half as much damage as US). Moreover, it is western demand for oil, palm oil,
timber, animal feed that damages
Cites The Dark Mountain Project (co-founded by Paul Kingsnorth) which claims that greens are trying to sustain the world at level of developed countries, advocating technologies that would damage wild places and the third world, trying to save industrial civilisation, when should be trying to save the biosphere. We should be ‘negotiating the coming descent [from our level of civilisation] while creating new myths which put humanity in its proper place.’ Monbiot believes the projections of the end of resources are alarmist – and no good waiting for civilisation to collapse without trying to change the way it operates. Need also to distinguish between technology that not seriously harmful (wind-farms) and that which is: oil… note: forthcoming book from Dark Mountain Project, also festival May 2010.
Article on a pioneering researcher who is studying the genetics of food crops in the developing world – not to encourage GM but to facilitate cross-breeding of better plants: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jun/02/genetic-mapping-plan-to-boost-africa-crops
Obituary of Wangari Maathai,
Kenyan winner of the Nobel prize for environmental efforts to help the very poor,
first woman to head a university department in
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/26/wangari-maathai and a piece by John Vidal on Wangari:
In 1977 she set up the Green Belt movement – poor women suffer the most from environmental degradation, she argued. Initially the movement planted trees, but then it took on issues of democracy. The tree became a symbol for democratic struggle. Set up Mazingira, the Kenyan Green Party and won 98% of the votes in her constituency, joined the coalition that overthrew Moi in 2002, and became a junior environment minister in President Kibaki’s government (2003 -5).
G 091109: Tobin tax is right to
redistribute from socially useless to socially disadvantaged… 0.05% tax on UK
financial trades would raise about 100bn a year (study by Austrian govt) –
would wipe out structural part of our budget deficit. Brown suggests half
should be used for developing countries. Crucial is technology transfer:
coal-fired CO2 emissions are rising, especially as
See paper: Avoiding Dangerous
Climate Change; why financing for technology transfer matters, by A. Ghosh and
K. Watkins, for Global Economic Governance Programme,
Note also how
Ecologist June 2009 (Khadija Sharife): dams are
not helping Africans: more than 60% of
in Africa causing problems because:
large-scale projects lead to corruption, money supposed to be for displaced not
reaching them (27,000 in Lesotho), migrant workers bring HIV to popn already
impoverished by displacement: many orphans… Many dams have caused indebtedness,
inequalities, environmental degradation, prevented small-scale projects, etc.
Big dams proposed for
valplumwoodcrocodileattack.htm. A Wikipedia article on her says her position is neither ‘postmodern’ (i.e. respecting absolute differences) nor ‘deep ecological’ (i.e. merging self and the world) – rather she grounds ethical responsibilities in the continuities and discontinuities between subject and object, and people and nature. (Does this link up with Brian Easlea?) She also refers to ‘shadow places’ (source?). See below on ‘environmental ethc’.
Book: The Quest: energy, security and the remaking of the
modern world, by Daniel Yergin (
Cost of changing to non-CO2 generation of electricity: Damian Carrington reports on study by Prof David McKay (Chief scientific advisor to dept of energy and climate change) using a ‘2050 pathways calculator’ – which shows that it would be no more expensive to convert than to continue with maintenance and replacement of existing power stations. See: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2134710/uk-switch-low-carbon-energy-cost-gbp5-person - there are more articles by Carrington here, and the website looks good!
Green energy: a tipping point? Investment in green energy overtook fossil fuels in 2008 – according to UN figures (G 040609): $140 billion as against $110 billion for gas and coal. If include energy efficiency measures this goes up to $155 billion. Report: Global Trends in Sustainable Energy, by New Energy Finance consultancy for the UN.
Most growth has been in
Microgeneration: DTI study says could provide 30 – 40% of
Wave power: Waves could
provide 15 – 20% of the
Wind Power: From FoE leaflet: average wind farm will pay back energy used in its mfr within 5 months – given a life-span of 20 years that’s 17 years carbon-free energy. Germany gets 21% of its electricity from renewables, which has brought down the cost of power. (FoE)
Sep 2008: article by Michael Connellan in Technology Guardian about wind turbines failing – note this is said to be ‘insignificant’ by one insurance expert, and towards the end of the piece it is said that one of the turbines that failed was 20 years old... i.e. overall impression without reading in detail is that there is a problem, when I doubt there is:
Sep 2010: (Terry Macalister,
Guardian, 13.09.10): Largest ever offshore windfarm to be built off coast of
Nov 2012, Zoe Willaims on the dispute: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/30/windfarms-bitter-fight-dividing-uk?INTCMP=SRCH
Hundreds of articles at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/windpower !!!
“The very concept of dominating nature stems from the domination of human by human, indeed of women by men, of the young by their elders, of one ethnic group by another, of society by the state, of the individual by bureaucracy, as well as of one economic class by another or a colonised people by a colonising power.”
Murray Bookchin on social ecology 1990.
Is there a need for a new environmental ethic? Obit of Val Plumwood, Australian philosopher, G 260308: Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (1992) – a classic. Compare Arne Naess.. deep ecology. Environmental problems arise because of faulty attitude: only humans matter. Anthropocentrism rests on assumption there is a division between humans and nature – something sets us apart, i.e. the mind – mind vs. matter becomes reason vs. nature.
Targets set Jan 08: by 2020,
UK is 18th out of 27 states in renewables league – biofuels proposals (10% target) need stick and must protect from land-grab etc, and main solution should be reducing speed of cars and re-designing cars (letters G) – 10% target is bad, and assumption that ETS (European Transfer Scheme) scheme will set high price on carbon is flawed (Oscar Reyes – co-editor of Red Pepper, writing book on carbon trading, G 240108). In 1st phase, EU was over-generous in allocations, so most plant didn’t use its quota of free credits – market value of credits collapsed.. companies made windfall profits by passing on imagined “costs” to consumer. Still are loopholes in 2nd phase – e.g. companies can import credits from global south.
Two books on food and development: Feeding Frenzy: The New
Politics of Food, by Paul McMahon (Profile 12.99); A Hungry man in a Greedy
World, by Jay Rayner (William Collins) reviewed in Observer 26.05.13. Latter
argues that ‘food miles’ is not the most important aspect of deciding whether
food produced is environmentally friendly (whoever said it was the only factor?
We need to take into account things like the amount of fertiliser used, the
costs of the technology etc. For example, lamb, apples and diary products
NB we throw away 30-40% of the food we produce, yet 1 billion people
live in near starvation! Panic in commodity markets in 2008 and 2010/11 led to
an increase of 30% in food prices. We produce enough food – why was there such
a panic? (Led by
I probably would agree with Alex Renton’s review, that a number of different approaches must be used: less meat-eating, less waste, and helping African farmers to be as productive as US ones by taking down trade barriers.
Meat production (and CAP): Meat production also counts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse emissions. (UN FAO).
Ecologist (June 2009): Taxpayers are subsidising intensive and factory farming to the tune of £700 million a year according to FOE – see Feeding the Beast. Via CAP England is paying subsidies for cereal-growing for feed, export refunds to keep prices high, intensive pig and poultry operations, diary farming and subsidies to encourage lowland grazing.
Organic food – could feed
John Beddington, government chief scientific advisor says (date?) we face a ‘storm of problems’ including food shortages. Others say this is not the case – and food is only short if crops are used inappropriately for biofuels, or animal feed.
See also Jay Rayner, previous
topic. Concept first coined by Prof. Tim Lang of
CO2 emissions in
From the Guardian, 16th March 2013: letter from Lyn Summers, retired HSE nuclear safety inspector: millions of gallons of water, with added chemicals, are pumped down, the gas is taken up in half the water used, the rest has to be stored, treated and disposed of – it may contain complex hydrocarbons, heavy metals, as well as the chemicals used in the process. This is millions of gallons. The government and the Environment Agency will have to sort out a regulatory regime.
All these – together with fears of fracturing the rock layers and polluting the water table – seem to me to be ‘risks too far’.
Another letter says that it is wrong to say fracking is opposed by “opponents of fracking” – bodies and individuals who have said it is incompatible with meeting our targets for reducing greenhouse gases include: the parliamentary energy and climate change select committee, David MacKay – chief scientific advisor to the Dept of Energy and Climate Change, and the committee on climate change.
Yet another letter says that
according to Le Monde Diplomatique, Sir David King has ‘noted that production
at wells drops off by as much as 60-90% within the first year.’ US companies
such as Eagle Fox in
On the other hand, Fred Pearce, author of The Last generation: how nature will take her revenge for climate change, says it is a ‘bridging technology’ which we need because there is far too much burning of coal. ‘The share of coal in the world’s energy supply rose from 25% to 30% in the past half decade.’ He only identifies two problems: one, that ‘there are plenty of places where fracking would not be a good idea, especially in overcrowded Britain’ – and secondly that what is proposed as a short-term solution can become ‘locked-in’ – and Osborne, as an opponent of wind-power etc, is not the person to trust (my words) not to get ‘locked-in’. See:
From Freedom March 2012: in Morgan County, West Virginia, a group calling itself Morgan Country Frack Ban is also trying to get the county declared an International Water Site. They say: ‘Ecology is the only economy that really matters. One cannot make a living on a dead planet; and one cannot drink money.’
Ian Sample, Guardian 17th Feb 2013:
report by senior academics at University of Texas says that fracking is
essential to the US, and found that many problems were common to all drilling,
and water contamination could often be traced to surface spills, However, they
were hindered by the industry’s not disclosing what chemicals it used in
fracking fluids, and a widespread failure to sample and record baseline levels
of water quality.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/15/james-lovelock-interview-gaia-theory - argues we need fracking because methane is better than coal; suggests politics here works like a self-regulating system, the parties balancing each other out; the greens are a religion... Lovelock says he is influenced by EO Wilson in that the mega-city is the way of the future (seems to have little sympathy for those who fall out because of competition etc), sustainable development is meaningless drivel’
John Vidal in the Guardian, 20th Oct 2011, on the ‘Global Citizens’ Report on the state of GMOs’ – this groups together 20 Indian, South-east Asian and Latin American conservation groups, representing millions of people. The report casts doubt on the effectiveness of GM crops: more insecticides have to be used, and Monsanto, Syngenta and Dupont control nearly 70% of global seed sales, and are the three largest GM firms. Monsanto has control of over 95% of the Indian cotton-seed market and this pushes prices up.
250,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves over the past 15 years, mainly because of indebtedness. See:
The Ecologist Magazine,
Dec/Jan 2009 has article on Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, who has battled with
Monsanto over the contamination of his crops with GM rape seed – he argues that
it is almost impossible now to buy non-GM seed in
The Ecologist June 2009: French govt has
agreed introduction of labelling ‘fed on non-GM feed’ on meat and dairy products,
a victory for group Que Choisir. In
The Ecologist May 2009: criticises the publication by ‘Sense About Science’ – ‘Making Sense of GM’, which appears to have been written by people with connections with the GM industry, viz: Prof. V Moses, head of industry-funded GM lobby group CropGen; 8 contributors from John Innes Centre, which receives funding from the GM industry; and a draft version, obtained by Private Eye, shows that one of the contributors – whose name was removed from the publication! – was toxicologist Andrew Cockburn, former director of scientific affairs at Monsanto (when he was invited to author part of a government review there were questions in parliament and one of the other panellists resigned). More disturbingly, the publishers (directors of SAS) are part of the Living Marxism group, which also is ‘behind online magazine Spiked and the Institute of Ideas – the group promotes climate change denial, eulogises GMOs, human cloning and nuclear power, and portrays environmentalists as Nazis…’ (Jonathan Matthews in The Ecologist). LM lost a libel action against ITN when it tried to argue that new pictures of starving Bosnians were faked. The magazine had to close… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_Marxism. See also Zac Goldsmith’s Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/05/sense-about-science-celebrity-observations.
Jonathan Matthews is the founder of GM Watch www.gmwatch.eu
Monbiot: “greenwash” – Blair
govt has failed: 2 targets: 12.5% reduction climate change gases by 2012 (
Likely increase from tpt = 7
-13m tonnes (govt says 4m) [Prof Mark Maslin, UCL]. In 1998 car mfrs agreed
reduce ave to 140g per km (from 190), in 10 yrs real figure likely to be 164.
Difference in bands of tax for fuel usage needs to be more punitive i.e. at
least £150 – top shld be £1,800 is 215). Ave diffrc between bands £35.
Biofuels: Dutch study finds palm oil prodn ten times worse than petrol (?
Petrol prodn?!). Flying: under
See also on microgeneration…
Ashley Seager [G 060807] cf cost of widening M6: £3bn or £1,000 an inch.
Stern’s call for more spending now was not heeded. Motoring has got cheaper,
train travel more expensive – there are 2 models of car that can do more than
70 mpg and soon a diesel mini. Fuel tax too low to make people change. No tax
on air fuel is absurd: need rise in APD (air passenger duty). Feed-in tariff
for renewable e, as in
Achievements of New Labour on
Open Spaces: Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Marine and Coastal Access
see also: roundtable discussion ‘Keep the climate, change the economy’ from same day’s paper: theguardian.com/sponsored-content
Local elections 2011 – see Spring issue of Green World… Went into election with 116 principal authority seats on 42 councils, and emerged with 130 on 43 – net gain of 14 seats, and new high.
First ever Green councillors
Brighton Greens took 33% of
the vote citywide, taking 23 seats out of 54 (+ 10 over last elections) –
Conservatives have 18, Labour 13. And
- in European Parliament now
(2009 elections) has 48 MEPs – 2 for
- they have called for a
referendum on the
- now have 123 councillors on 42 separate authorities (Green World 65, Summer 2009)
1. Dan Hind points out (Earthmatters) that people like Dick Taverne (“The March of Unreason”) accuse Greenpeace of being irrational. Yet Greenpeace has less than £10m a year, while advertising industry (excluding PR) has around $400 billion.
He also remembers tobacco executives saying in the 1960s “doubt is our product” (i.e. doubt that it will cause cancer).
2. ‘Greens are a puny force by comparison to industrial lobby groups, the cowardice of governments, and the natural human tendency to deny what we don’t want to see.’
George Monbiot, Guardian 21 09 2010
3. Andrew Dobson (letter, G 070711) argues that Mark Lynas and others are wrong to see the solution to the environment problem as being technological rather than political, and we don’t want a new environmentalism that is happy with capitalism (pace Susanna Rustin letter?, and mark Lynas whose ‘environmentalism’ is ‘market-friendly’) – especially when ‘the public’ is being blamed for the crisis, ‘any environmentalism worth fighting for must have equality, justice and the public good at its heart.
Another letter refers Lynas to e.g. Jay Griffiths, Alastair McIntosh and John Zerzan.
Note the time-scale below, and remember how recently we have used agriculture and industry – we have affected the environment without realising how short the time-scale of our existence is:
5.2 million years ago first
hominids emerged in
2.6 million years ago first stone tools
2.3 earliest Homo genus
1.175 million – 350,000 Homo erectus
250,000 – 28,000 Neanderthals
1.6 Homo sapiens appears as a
species, and 100,000 years ago anatomically modern humans appear in
90,00 years ago modern humans reach Near East
72,000 y.a. first use of fire to modify stone tools, 70,000 y.a. earliest decorated stones
50,000 y.a. modern humans
40,000 y.a. cave art begins,
modern humans reach
12,000 y.a. modern humans
10 – 11,000 y.a. farming begins in
7,500 farming reaches
6,200 y.a. earliest known
200 years ago industrialised society emerges.
In other words, industrialised society has existed for 0.000027% of the time humans and their ancestors have been in existence. Or: 8 generations out of 300,000.
(From Natural World, Winter 2009)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/24/science-reporting-climate-change-sceptics - but misses question of ‘end’ of science, and difference between climate change or MMR (which affect our lives) and theories of the origin of the universe (which presumably don’t!).
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/20/can-oil-save-the-rainforest: John Vidal on
2. Mark Dowie, 03.06.09. Author of Conservation Refugees; The Hundred-Year
Conflict between global conservation and native peoples, MIT – points out that
Paul Kingsnorth argues this
group tries to combine business, advanced technology, globalisation etc, with a
post-modern outlook (nature as human construct) to solve the environmental
dilemma. Groups: the Breakthrough Institute, Long Now Foundation,
The problem of radioactive water is enormous: each day around 400 tonnes of ground water flows from surrounding hills into the basements of three of the reactors, where it mixes with coolant water. Most of the contaminated water is pumped out into storage tanks – of which there are more than 1,000, holding 500,000 tones of contaminated water.
Work has begun on a barrier underground to prevent water from reaching the basements – it is 1.5 km long and will be frozen.
Workers are removing 1,331 spent fuel rods from reactor number four – and this should be completed by the end of this year. In the other three reactors radiation levels are still too high for humans to enter.
Decommissioning the entire plant is expected to take at least 40 years, at a cost of around £55 bn.
07.11.14 Guardian carried Ecotricity advert: Nothing Happened:
On Sunday Oct 19th four nuclear power stations shut down, and Didcot went up in flames – nine million homes-worth of electricity was lost, but our windmills carried on and provided almost 25% of the country with power.
Studies by Sustainable Devt
Commission as well as Greenpeace and CAT show that
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/24/divorce-after-fukushima-nuclear-disaster?INTCMP=SRCH on the emotional and psychological effects.
Feb 4th 2013: Highly critical report (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Managing Risk at Sellafield) published on management of Sellafield – (Terry Macalister) Commons public accounts committee, chaired by Margaret Hodge, saying ‘the public are not getting a good deal from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority arrangements with Nuclear Management Partners.’
It’s not clear how long it will take to deal with Sellafield’s waste, and last year the consortium got £54 million, despite only 2 out of 14 major projects being on track. Of the 14 projects, 12 were behind schedule, and 5 of those were over budget.
Every year some £1.6 billion is being spent on the site, where waste includes 82 tonnes of plutonium.
Rupert Neate, Observer, reports the price of uranium has sunk since
Oct 2012, obituary
of Crispin Aubrey – investigative journalist and green campaigner – note he
published two books on Sellafield etc: Meltdown: the collapse of the nuclear
dream; and Thorp (1991): the
letters in the Guardian on news that the
Feb 2012: letters
Guardian point out, in response to article on ‘prism’ reactor, said to be able
to use up spent fuel: we have 25,000 tonnes of depleted uranium and 100 tonnes
of plutonium; the Japanese spent $13 billion over four decades trying to
develop fast breeder reactors unsuccessfully (Tom Burke et al). Between 1955 and 1995 the
Nov 2011: thorium reactors – less dangerous as don’t produce plutonium; smaller
(300 MW) and therefore cheaper –
Jan 2010: Dr Ian Fairlie replies to retired prof Wade Allison (not a radiation biologist nor epidemiologist) who, 11.01.10, minimised risks from nuclear radiation (esp. said that there should be a threshold, not a continual level of less risk from decreasing doses). LNT (linear no-threshold theory) is used by UN, International Commission on Radiological Protection, Health Protection Agency etc.
Recent German govt study found 22% increase in leukemia, 160% in embryonal cancer among children living near all German nuclear reactors.
Jan/Feb 2010 (Guardian): at Sellafield there are 100 tonnes of plutonium – a ludicrous amount!! The budget to clean up old nuclear sites is £2.8 bn per annum.
Govt refusing to give details of five separate security breaches at nuclear power stations. These could include: unauthorized incursion, incidents involving explosives, attempted theft of nuclear materials… See the Office of Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) annual report. Dai Davies MP tabled a question, but energy minister David Kidney refused to give details.
letter Gdn 09.01.08:
Risk of tumour/leukemia in
children increases closer to plant (study of 41 districts near 16 plants in
FoE accuses Osborne of giving excessive subsidies and £1 billion of tax breaks to the oil and gas industry – he has expanded field allowances, first set up by A. Darling in 2009 to encourage the exploitation of small or technically challenging fields. Larry Elliott, Guardian 04.02.13
Monbiot, G 17.11.09:
Two whistleblowers from IEA
say it has deliberately exaggerated amount of oil still extractable. Research paper
from Univ of Uppsala also argues IEA wrong (because impossible rate of
extraction included). IEA World Energy Outlook forecasts demand to rise from
85m b/d in 2008 to 105m in 2030, and says that production will rise to meet
this demand (including biofuels). Projections for 2030 have been falling, from
123m predicted in 2004. But even today’s numbers are too high says the
Need therefore to be substituting other sources now (especially in farming…).
G 100905: (1) reserves
running out – in 2002, 25 bn barrels used, only 8 bn new reserves discovered
(total: 994 bn extracted, 764 remaining, 142 to be found). (2) supply unstable:
politically/commercially/conflict… (3) tpt increasing its share to 57.2% in
2002 – esp air travel increasing – and
(i) in 2004 by Mark Townsend, The Observer:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2004/nov/07/weather.observermagazine - despite the warnings we carry on as usual... where will it end?
(ii) in 2005: (John Vidal, G 211205):
* Climate change: 2005 one of
4 hottest since 1861 – heatwaves, droughts, greatest no. of hurricanes,
tropical storms. Envt became G8 priority,
* Industry: trying to water
down proposals in
* GM crops: 80 m hectares
growing, but four crops only and two traits (? Trials) – opposition less strong
* Conservation: money moved
from farming subsidies to conservation in Btn, right to roam, future marine
protection bill, reintroduction of some species in Btn (debate), tigers
declining, rainforests being cleared for soya and palm oil. Elephants
successfully saved in
* Disasters: Katrina, the tsunami, etc. weather-related insurance claims £117bn, and some research linked storms etc to global warming.
* Air: Buncefield oil depot fire, but pollution not as bad as might have been. Worries abt air pollution in EU – cost £400bn pa by 2020? Proposed increases in air traffic: noise, pollution. Industry opposing tightening of air pollution legislation.
* Waste: local authorities
scared into action by threat of fines – 23% of household waste recycled (more
than previous year). But much waste going to
* Energy: oil prices rising because of rising demand, esp from China et al – oil peak approaching. Nuclear industry being supported by govt in Btn - another energy review commissioned for three yrs time. Growing public support for wind power, but opposition in some areas. 19 new stations = 500 megawatts commissioned – inclg large offshore windfarm. Microgeneration getting support from business, but not wave/tidal, and govt halted start-up money for solar and other devts.
June 2014 report on neonicotinoids:
Latest report on neonics (BBC): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27980344
Neonics – Damian Carrington (Guardian):
European Food Safety
Authority report says neonics are a danger to bees (
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/sep/18/bees-pesticides-neonicitinoids Sep. statement includes: ‘The govt has already put new research in place to explore further the impacts of neonicotinoids on bumble (sic!) bees in field conditions and to understand what levels of pesticide residues and disease in honey bees are normal. This work is due to finish in spring 2013.’
FoE call for National Bee Action Plan http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/bees_report_briefing.pdf
Population: global growth: predictions for world population, from 6.5 bn in 2010
to 9.2 bn in 2050; consequences: 50 m new mouths to feed each year (= popn of
Population Ten Billion, by Danny Dorling, (Constable) professor of human
‘Rational optimist’ - Science writer Matt Ridley - The Rational Optimist 4th Estate May 2010 L20 – also author of : The Red Queen, about the evolution of sexual reproduction; The Origins of Virtue, 1996, on evolution of society in genes, animals and humans; The Genome: the autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, 2000 (just before human genome was mapped); Nature via Nurture….
In the Rational Optimist he argues that it is exchange of ideas, as well as artifacts etc that has made humans able to progress (animals don’t do it). Culture is the result of exchange, and this is what makes it evolve (while biological evolution depends on sex – bringing together different genes). (‘Sex is to biology as exchange is to culture’.) Consequently argues we have become better off over time, and doesn’t like ‘doom-mongering’ – yes there are limits to resources, but we can find ways round this if we exchange ideas. Is against regulation of commerce (things, services, etc) because it stifles progress; but admits that exchange of capital and assets is different and can cause bubbles. Shopkeeper has no interest in short-changing you if he wants you as a customer – this effect doesn’t happen in a market of capital and assets. Prosperity is a bottom-up thing – governments tend to see it as top-down.
Tends to rub e.g. Monbiot up the wrong way, presumably because of his optimism. Government has a responsibility to ensure redistribution, as the system is bound to produce inequalities.
Note: he was a non-executive
chairman of Northern Rock, and got into trouble for not preventing the crisis…
(people without expertise were wanted on the boards at the time…) but started
off as a naturalist, then science editor for the Economist, then its Washington
correspondent; is nephew of Thatcher’s cabinet member Nicholas Ridley, and owns
Blagdon Hall… Also set up Centre for Life (life sciences centre) at
J Freedland, Gdn 05.12.07:
need a war on carbon as fierce as WWII on fascism. Two altv views: capm itself
is problem, as for growth, whilst envt is ltd; or: capm fights back, e.g. CBI
syas will do its part, 150 cies issued pre-Bali communiqué calling for binding
UN framework. Can be cynical,: “green”
image is good; still push for more roads etc; only cutting their 370m tonnes of
emissions by 1m tonnes over next three yrs. Some, do agree with 2006 Stern
report, that bus will lose more from inaction than from action, one corp leader
adding “we mustn’t kill our customers”… Also is much cash now in carbon
cap-and-trade market: grew x 3 last year, now worth at least $30bn. On
Re-usable water bottles – www.sigg.com – Swiss company sustainably made, and free from phthalates and Bisphenol-A, which can leach out in landfills.
Mother Earth: 11th April from the Guardian – by John Vidal:
A wonderful development, I think – using native beliefs, and building a law which gives rights to the natural environment…
“She is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organisation.”
The 3.5 million-strong CSUTC de Bolivia (Confederacion Sindical Unica de Trabajadores) helped to draft the law – the biggest social movement in the country.
The indigenous Andean spiritual view is that Pachamama (Earth Mother) is at the centre of all life.
However, Vidal comments that the Amazon is still being destroyed by oil companies and others.
Dangers of encroachment into
On trial in
Bringing gas ashore in County
Mayo (article, Observer290511) Shell bought major stake after gas discovered by
Enterprise Energy Ireland (1996); will bring raw gas ashore (new process0 to be
refined at Ballinboy, 6 miles south; pipe will come ashore at Broadhaven bay,
and will cross farmers’ land (could have gone across bogs?); gas will be at
high pressure; Bay and nearby Carrowmore lake are EU-designated Special
Protection Areas. At first, planning permission was denied, but then Shell and
Opponents have served jail sentences – ‘Rossport Five’; a film has been made: The Pipe (getting awards around the world). Some fishermen gave up their rights in return for money from Shell, others fought against losing their livelihood – one was prevented from fishing by the Irish navy!!!
Soviet Union and the environment: Steven Rose
(G 21.08.10) reviewing Red Plenty by Francis Spufford:
Points out how the ‘science’ of Marxism (esp. from Engels’s The Dialectics of nature, 1883, rediscovered in 1930s) was combined with ‘cybernetics’ (Norbert Wiener, 1948) – the ‘fourth law of dialectics’. Cybernetics – ‘circular causation’ – showed how systems could exhibit apparently goal-directed behaviour without consciousness.
Key figures in soviet system:
Abel Aganbegyan (economist), Raissa Berg (molecular geneticist), Leonid
Kantorovich (Nobel winner, mathematician – calculated how to improve plywood
production and then this method spread), Sergei Lebedev (designer of first
generation of soviet computers). Example of problem: a machine breaks down at a
viscose plant and it needs to be replaced, but that means the target for the
factory that produces the machine has to be changed, and that requires
re-planning the inputs into the machine tool factory… and so on, as everything
is inter-connected. Only the semi-criminal ‘fixer’ can sort it out…
What is the true position in regard to leaving computers etc on standby? Sust-it.net and ecotricity sources for G 061007: average PC (desktop): 17p per day = £45 per year. (Lowest: £15, highest £84) ? for 24 hrs… Light bulbs: standard 100W = £34 per yr, energy saving: £ 6 (approx figures).
Stern Report – Oct 2006: cheaper to tackle issue than wait to deal with consequences – Global warming cld swallow up 20% of world’s GDP whereas cost of preventing cld be limited to 1% provided starts seriously in next 10 – 20 yrs. Critics e.g. Richard Tol of Ec and Soc Res Inst Dublin, and William Nordhaus prof of ecs at Yale, say warnings are alarmist (and wrong…). Main issue is effects of current policy decisions on future generations. Took into account small probabilities of effects being much worse than most likely – e.g. temp rise could be 3 degrees or 6… and positive feedback: mechanisms are poorly understood…
See also on values below.
Comments on report by Sustainable Development Commission at:
Transport: govt plans 2,500 more miles trunk rds, double capacity airports, has deregulated planning law.. At same time govt says will reduce need for oil! Relying on views of over-optimistic, and old, report from Int Energy Agency, set up by OECD after 1974! Monbiot, G 290507.
Valuing life and the environment: the problem of externalities in economics, and the limitations of cost/benefit analysis: George Monbiot (G 190208) the Stern Report uses a formula where he attaches a price “equivalent to a reduction in consumption” to measure the costs of climate change (some of which are quantifiable e.g. food prices, flood damage; but what about destruction of ecosystems, loss of life, refugees, disease?). Consumption is not just of material goods, food etc but education, health and the environment, which he admits “raises profound difficulties”. Still, he comes up with a figure of between 5% and 20% “equivalent reduction in consumption” should global temperature rise by 5 – 6 degrees. Apart from the absurdity of putting a money value on health and wellbeing in this way, it also follows from all this that the poor are less valued than the rich, since the “equivalent reduction in consumption” is lower!!!
Stern then calculates a “social cost of carbon” – but the government has simply turned this into a price, currently £25 a tonne: it then weighs up the savings from a new airport runway, by calculating passengers’ time saved, against the cost of damage to the environment in terms of CO2 at £25 a tonne. But we have to note that it is the poor, especially in the third world, who are most likely to be damaged as a result of climate change – and against their “value” the government puts the savings to wealthy travellers’ time!!!
In ‘Putting a price on the rivers...’ etc, 7th August, Monbiot takes the argument further. Link:
Reply from Alastair McCapra, Chief Exec, Landscape Institute, (letters 10th Aug) makes crucial point: ‘Valuing assets is one thing, but trading them is another.’
Vidal, John – Guardian environmental correspondent: http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/johnvidal
The average Briton throws away own body weight in rubbish every seven weeks acc. Wrap (govt-funded recycling agency). Estimated 30% cld be composted. [“Change” (Co-op) Spring 2007]
28th May 2007: David Miliband on waste:
Letters in today’s Guardian criticise Miliband for proposing to charge residents who produce a lot of waste.
Points made include:
- most waste is material the manufacturers produce, that we don’t want;
- the amount of food waste we throw away has not changed much over the decades and is nearer a fifth of household waste (as it was in the
- the bulk of the 100 tonnes of waste produced comes from industry and commerce;
- many people want to recycle but don’t believe that what the council collects will actually be recycled;
by the city for what they recycle, the co-ops pay collectors to provide them with recyclable material – result clean city and less unemployment as
well as saving energy and resources.
Why does this government insist on blaming the individual instead of dealing with the failings of business and industry? What has this kind of approach got to do with a “Labour” government?
24/9/2006: Waste food, and sell-by dates: from Lucy Siegle, Observer
Of this, 60% is food (6m
70% of produce is dumped by producers and retailers before it even gets to the stores.
Each adult throws away £420 of food a year (plus a further £470 in packaging).
A quarter of the food waste that goes into British landfill is reckoned to be edible.
The Charity Fareshare (www.fareshare.org.uk) aims to feed some 4m Britons suffering from food poverty – and some retailers (M & S,
Sainsbury, Pret a Manger) donate food that is just within use-by date.
So, a question: are “use-by” dates a way of getting us to buy more (because we throw away food that reaches its use-by date, when maybe it’s still OK)?
And what does BOGOF really mean? Is it “buy one get one free” or “buy one throw one in the bin”?
More figures on waste, especially related to computers:
People get a new mobile phone on average every 18 months
Last Christmas more than 6 million PCs were left on standby in empty offices
1.5 million computers are thrown away each year, of which 99% work perfectly
Water: (Guardian 8th May 2012, Damian Carrington) water companies are not being asked to reduce leakage – the entire industry will only be asked to reduce leakage by 1.5% by 2015, and 11 companies have zero targets. Every day 4.3 billion litres of water leaks from the system.
The average water bill is now £376. Water companies made £2 bn in pre-tax profits and paid shareholders £1.5 bn in dividends in 2010 – 11.
Need for new kind of
solutions to problem of excess rainwater/flooding:
Chris Baines: need to look at whole
rural landscape, find ways of slowing rainwater when it hits ground, holding
it, delaying its release. Increase broadleaf woodlands on slopes, fewer
animals, reinstatement of hedges, re-creation of reedbeds etc. Likely increase
in rainfall: Autumn 2000 was wettest for 270 yrs, floods affecting thousands of
properties, 1.3 m hectares of agr land on floodplanes in Eng and
Mark Dowie: Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between global conservation and native peoples, MIT
Paul Farley, Michael S Roberts: Edgelands... (see Woolfson)
Tim Flannery: Here on Earth: a new beginning,
Al Gore: The Future, WH Allen, 25. Reviewed John Gray Guardian 02.02.13: - ‘a tour de force that no government can afford to ignore’. Starts with 6 drivers making the world a different place – more globalised economy, planet-wide electronic communication and robotics, new political economy shifting to the east, unsustainable population growth and resource depletion, biological and biochemical advances that allow us to shape the fabric of life, unstable relationship between human civilisation and the environment (climate change etc). Can we keep up with these changes? Warns against a mechanistic understanding of science and reductionism.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jan/31/the-future-al-gore-review (Though does argue for
Richard Heinberg: Peak Everything
Kathleen Jamie: Findings... (see Woolfson)
Tony Jupiter: What has Nature Ever Done for Us? Profile, 9.99. Reviewed by Robin McKie, Observer 20.01.13. Nature underpins our productivity and our fecundity – it is not true that if we take care of nature we will have to slow down our development. Shows value and usefulness of e.g. vultures in Inda, peat bogs, mangroves, soil itself.
Brian Leslie, editor: Sustainable Economics, and author: The Party’s Over (2003)
Richard Mabey: The Common Ground... (see Woolfson)
Fred Pearce: The Last Generation: how nature will take her revenge for climate change
Matt Ridley - The Rational Optimist 4th Estate May 2010 £20
Roger Scruton: Green Philosophy: how to think seriously about the planet, Atlantic 12.99. Many ecological externalities e.g. river pollution can be sorted by a combination of free markets and common law. Opposes international organisations and state power. Tries to blame the loony left for any inconsistencies etc. (Jonathan Ree, Guardian 12.01.13
Andrew Simms and David Boyle: The New Economics
Jean Sprackland: Strands... (see Woolfson)
Esther Woolfson: Field Notes from a