Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bag Lads

Like I say, this morning's Breakfast was a rich seam.

So along with all the other vastly crucial environmental issues covered of late, our Declan does an expose of... plastic bags. There's a novelty.

I simply don't get it. And have still to find out just what amount of plastic the 290 a year 'we' 'use' actually amounts to as a block when compared to say, the half dozen Fairy Liquid bottles we get through each year. Or if it really matters vs., well, most other things, really.

Anyway, the target was online deliveries, and it was actually quite surprising that these bozos use plastic bags, and just how many they do use, with Declan's best buds ASDA swinging in at 50% above the rest (15 for a normal 3-bag shop).

What was not surprising was that, good golly, they are all 'looking at' new ways. Now, let's see, home delivery have been going on how long? And NOW they decide to get all proactive. Sad.

And then we get a two-for-one deal on spokespersons, with the classic retail clone of sharp-suit, shaved-head and monotone mantra from a couple of high-power (in their minds) 'executives'. I bet a brace of 318 Beemers were being waxed in the underground garage as we watched. And 'make some noise' parties to Ibiza with Linda in accounts getting finalised on the Bluetooth as they headed back to shopping-central.

Their families must be so proud. I'm sure they are worth every penny. As is my licence fee.

Sun to blame for global warming. Not.

Some new evidence from eminent British & Swiss researchers concludes that variability in the sun's energy output cannot be responsible for recent global warming. Full report from Reuters, though I'm certain it will be all over the press like a rash later today; it's already been mentioned by Wogan on Radio 2.

"There is little doubt that solar variability has influenced the Earth's climate in the past and may well have been a factor in the first half of the last century, but British and Swiss researchers said it could not explain recent warming. "

"Over the past 20 years, all the trends in the sun that could have had an influence on Earth's climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures".

That rather takes one of the major planks out from the BOFDis' none AGW case.

I wonder just how many will take any notice? And what's the betting that some other eminent solar scientists will come up with data that indicates just the opposite within a few days?

This debate will still run and run and run and run ..................

Want to reassess this and other evidence for yourself? Probably the best start point can be found in the New Scientist - Environment section: "Climate change: A guide for the perplexed".

Some other takes on the same research.

"the temperature increase should be slowing down but in fact it is speeding up." The Guardian
"This should settle the debate," -
"All quiet on the solar front" -
The Register.
"measurements of solar activity show it has been declining since the mid-1980s and cannot account for recent rises in global temperatures" -
New Scientist.
"At present there is a small minority which is seeking to deliberately confuse the public on the causes of climate change. They are often misrepresenting the science, when the reality is that the evidence is getting stronger every day. We have reached a point where a failure to take action to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions would be irresponsible and dangerous." Royal Society spokesman - as quoted in The Telegraph.
"Find another culprit" - Guardian CIF - some interesting debate in the many comments already, the majority coming from the 'deniers' side already.

ADDENDUM (from Junkk Male) - Real Climate

Damage Limitation

A rich seam on Breakfast News this morning.

Only getting around to it now as I have found out I have an actual ad job tomorrow. No money, but a speaking gig for the local Chamber. Still all promo and no dinero!

I am prompted to comment having watched a piece about the new government's commitment... or indeed obsession (simply put, they need to house Labour voters quick or they won't vote Labour any more) with 'affordable' home building. But what made me actually get pondering in depth was connecting it with another piece later on about youth services, highlighted by kids this summer apparently being at a loss what to do in the new built-up areas, and finding less than productive activities to occupy themselves as a consequence.

I guess I should own up to being a wiMOANby - which is 'Why in my, or anyone's back yard?' - here, as we look to be facing such issues even in rural Herefordshire.

A town of 10,000 is being required to bolt on a ton (make that several) more dwellings on the outskirts. Frankly, the area can probably afford it without great impact on the look of the place, but I'm not so sure about the ability of the land to cope with the loss of rainfall run-off (concrete drives do not soak up as well as farmland), or the infrastructure with all those extra loos flushing, hoses watering, etc.

And then there are the kids. As the guest in the show wisely commented, Mr. Brown is throwing all these efforts at sticking up ever more boxes, but what about the social networks to cope with the needs of those who live in them? Even he, bless him, had to slap down one of his already unruly underlings for getting waaaay to ahead of the game in this regard (with, I am sure, a nice big pad of her own to retreat to, on full pension, when the time comes).

It's such a tricky one, but I can't see how the end point, even locally, in rich Western 'here', is being so ignored in favour of short-term fixes. Where does one draw the line? Or don't we? Do we just keep expanding and expanding until all the towns and cities are joined up, and then we start to point to the sky, like some Blade Runneresque nightmare. Ridley Scott's genius vision was not far off the mark, even down to the climatic consequences.

Of course there needs to be some consideration for 'key workers', but on the other hand I can't see why, or indeed how the solution to people's expectations of living can be accommodated by simply sticking on more, especially in places that simply may not be suitable. And while our population may not be growing as fast as some other places, it patently still seems to be placing a burden on the finite land area that exists to support us. So, along with a few other things, maybe now is the time to look at achieving a balance, and/or managing expectations of what we can now afford. Maybe my kids will need to dwell in my cave with their families after all. Not like they'll be going far. And then the little sods can look after me in my dotage as well. Ain't nature... er, nurture wonderful?



Would someone who knows, or cares, like to inform me (and anyone else interested) at what point this country cannot absorb any more concrete before its green and pleasant land area can sustain habitable living no further?

I just ask because there has to be such a point. As Mark Twain said about investing in land (if defied by Hong Kong and Singapore), they are not making any more of it. Now we've expanded to pretty much score every viable bit, with some left over to live off as opposed to on, I'd say a rethink may be in order.

But if ever-expanding populations are not to be addressed, and it's all a bit iffy on the re-election front to not ensure every man, woman, child and their dog get guaranteed their own abode in wilful defiance of logic if not market forces, I can only be reassured that I won't be around when it sinks in that maybe you don't get what you want, have to learn to expect less than you're used to, and that three into two may well have to go.... again.