Monday, December 12, 2005

Going underground

Don't know how long the URL will last, but this is as good a time as any to have a ponder on the 'next big thing', planet-saving-wise.,2782,69711,00.html

And in case the URL drops here's the salient bit:

The energy industry has found a new way to dispose of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide: pump it back into the underground oil reservoirs from whence much of it came.

Now I'm all for innovative solutions, but I have watched Total Recall. So there's something about vast reservoirs of a totally different gas in solid state lying latent in the earth, ready to swap itself with the current atmosphere, which makes me a tad anxious. 

However, there is some reassurance that some mighty minds are aware of that:

However, not all oil fields can be used for CO2 injection and storage, so there is a need for other gas-storage sites. CO2 storage has been tried only in sedimentary rock, but the Northwestern and Southeastern United States are made mainly of basalt rock

And a bit of pragmatic caution as well:

However, the technology is no "silver bullet" in the fight to dramatically reduce greenhouse gases, says Matthew Bramley of The Pembina Institute, a Canadian environmental organization: "Energy conservation and efficiency and investments in renewable energy should come before expensive carbon-capture and storage technologies," Bramley said.

So for now I'm still favouring using a lot less of the stuff on top of producing none at all when we do. So solar, waves and a few other get my vote for now. 

This is more the way to do it... sort of

It has all been a bit unseasonably heavy on matters of protest lately, so here's one on a more appropriately lighter note:

Basically environmentalists handed out 150 plastic ducks at international climate conference in Montreal on Friday in a joking stab at U.S. opposition to new U.N.-led talks on global warming.

Beats death threats. But guys... plastic ducks? I guess it was reuse if the recipients had a sense of humour and/or kids, and/or still take baths (a whole other direction we shower-takers could take). If not, I wonder how they got disposed of? Are ducks a PET (#1)... ok, ok, I'll leave it there.


Sticks, stones, pies and eco-fatwas

It may seem like I have something of an obsession with J. Clarkson, Esq. He certainly crops up in this blog a lot.

But there are some reasons for this, if not excuses. For a start he writes in the Sunday Times, which is a paper I read. And currently that exerience is then topped off with Top Gear in the evening.

Plus it's a pretty safe bet that some aspect of one or other of these will involve his relationship with the 'mentalists'. Them with kickers in twist; him mocking. And as I noted a while ago, if the other did not exist, each would have to invent him/them.

I also just plain find our Jezza an entertaining read/presenter, with a fine and funny turn of phrase, complemented by some pretty good journlaism if you strip away the ratings-required bull-baiting.

So it was with a meaure of sympathy I read his article this week:

(remember the link is only good for a week)

It started with a bit of joshing about his recent pie-inspired escapades. So far, so silly. He flames; they flambe.

But then, as he pointed out, things took a more sinister turn. To quote the piece: "a Labour MP called Colin Challen made a speech in which he said he wanted me to be killed. No more pies. No more early days motions. Executed. Maybe he was joking, maybe he wasn’t."

Um. No. Not even. If this is true (and I see no reason to suspect otherwise, despite JC's many flights of hyperbole) not from anyone is this valid. Especially from an elected member of parliament. With all the PC stuff we have flying about that is nonsense, this is... deadly... serious. 

JC goes on: "I believe in freedom of speech. Plainly the honourable member for Morley & Rothwell does not. And nor does Tom Brake from the Liberal Democrats, and nor does that girl with the big bum who pushed a pie in my face. In fact no one from the environmental bandwagon has even half an inkling about the concept of debate."

Which by the evidence of my eyes and ears is sadly all too true. A large proportion of the self-appointed guardians of the planet seem to view persuasion as not really worth bothering about in favour of coercion. And they seem to be tacitly supported by a bunch of folk who I'm sure would be horrified if they really got their heads around where this can lead... or indeed has arrived. And by not remaining silent, but tacitly condoning such excesses of expression, they are allowing things only to get worse.

I agree with much of JC's opinions, but on matters environmental disagree on many more. I still don't know if man is or isn't responsible for global warming, but I figure whatever we're doing sure isn't helping. And on balance I feel his hedonistic extremes, whilst great fun, should be tempered with some sort of caution (easier to require than define, of course) for the more impressionable to grasp the consequences and shape their lifestyles accordingly. But it's a free world, he's just doing his job and can say and do what he likes. 

For instance, as he says: "I believe that western governments are in the process of spending billions of pounds trying to stem something over which we have no control. I believe that this money could be used to make the world a fairer, more peaceful place. I would much rather bring clean drinking water to an impoverished village in Sudan than bring a wind farm to the shores of Scotland. You might not agree, but surely you can see it is a reasonable argument."

Yes, I can. But I do have other options I'd like to look at and raise. Only it's difficult when the side I'm pitching from seems to be dominated by  the Colin Challens of this world.

Which makes getting's brand of positive, proactive, choice-based, fun, money and time-saving persuasion all the more important to get out there.... and working.