Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Poles apart.

That seems to be the situation between those who generally accept that any, or part of, observed climate change is man made (or man worsened), and those who categorically do not believe mankind is having any impact on our planet's climate.

As an example, here are two articles, both from today's Belfast Telegraph.

Scientists prove that climate change IS man-made. Now that's a BIG claim, and it is one of the few occasions that I've actually seen the term 'prove' used. The article refers to new computer models that look at Arctic and Antarctic (which is now actually warming, contrary to some reports from recent years) temperature variations. The conclusion? "In both polar regions the observed warming can only be reproduced in our models by including human influences – natural forcings [increases] alone are not enough." (I have to admit that I find it difficult to accept 'proof' from a computer model; a plausible projection, another small piece of the evidential jigsaw, or a supporting statistical conclusion, yes, by all means; but 'proof'?)

Yet in the same publication, an article by Sammy Wilson (no less than N. Ireland's environment minister) who believes that man-made climate change is a con. “I think in 20 years’ time we will look back at this whole climate change debate and ask ourselves how on earth were we ever conned into spending the billions of pounds which are going into this without any kind of rigorous examination of the background, the science, the implications of it all. Because there is now a degree of hysteria about it, fairly unformed hysteria I’ve got to say as well."

I'll leave you, the reader, to examine the evidence for yourselves, and to draw your own conclusions. My wish for the new year is that we can get back to reasoned debate and away from the hysteria and spin that has consumed this (potentially devastating to mankind) topic over the last couple of years.

For those who do not understand the consequences of increasing amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere, the Economist provides a simple to understand article 'The Curse of Carbon' which describes what may happen if ocean acidification continues unchecked. It also suggests what the implications of sea-level rises might be. Well worth a read.

Will the argument ever be concluded? Time alone will tell.

A happy new year to one and all.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A contender for headline of the year?

"Ice rinks cancel sessions because of ice" ??!!!***

Brilliant! I'm full of cold and flu and feeling miserable but that put a big smile on my face.

Seems the parking lots were too icy and dangerous - full story from the South Bend Tribune.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Seasonal Stories

There are always a few odd-ball and unusual news stories at this time of year, and this year has been no exception. So, just to raise an eyebrow or two, or even to provoke a little smile, here are a few from around our little planet.

Reuters - Virgin Mary gives birth to Jesus - well, it was Christmas!

Daily News Brooklyn - Santa Claus gets parking ticket - seems that traffic enforcement officers anywhere in the world have no sense of humour and not an iota of seasonal goodwill.

Telegraph - I've seem some strange sights in my life - but a purple squirrel?!! - Now this just about takes the biscuit - a shop-lifting dog caught on video!

Yahoo News - Now I don't think I've ever found anything really useful in a Christmas cracker; and I really felt quite jealous of this particular family at first! Nice ending to the story, however, as the 'windfall' was kindly returned to its rightful owner.

Monday, December 22, 2008

An Ink Saving Font

This is one of those ideas that it so simple it makes you wish you'd thought of it first.

Ecofont, as reported on the EcoGeek site, can save up to 20% of the ink when printing a page of text compared with a normal font. There is a link on the page to where you can download it for free.

Like all the best ideas, simple yet very effective.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Solar Powered Ship Launches In Japan

When I saw that headline, I thought to myself, wow, way to go; on opening the article from CBCNews, I have to admit that I felt a little crestfallen. Seems that the photovoltaics used to provide supplementary power to the vessel's 440V electrical system are capable of providing just 0.2% of the ship's energy consumption.

Ahhh so, grasshopper, remember that big trees from little acorns grow.

Impacts of the smoking ban

These seem to be rather open to debate and interpretation at the moment, as NHS spokespeople claim it has helped significantly, especially in helping people to quit (though if you look at the numbers, I find it difficult to figure out how they substantiate this claim), whilst other evidence suggests, well, exactly the opposite, especially amongst younger people.

And as our Gov ponders the banning of display advertising for all tobacco products, essentially making them a 'hidden behind the shelf commodity' ('anything for the weekend, sir?'), I will pass on this amusing (well, I found it amusing) little story from our local evening paper the other night. The correspondent wrote that he no longer ever visits any of his local pubs and bars because 'bad body odours' (yes, I know exactly what he means, someone with BO is now extremely noticeable) from other people make it insufferable for him to enjoy a beer any more. He makes the point that smoke at least obscured a lot of what he considers to be far worse smells. (To reinforce the point, when asked why she had stopped going to local nightclubs, my eldest surprisingly opined - 'they just stink of stale sweat, puke, and foul farts now, they're horrible places'. )

The thing is, as almost all teenagers are inately rebellious, putting a ban in place on anything seems almost always to encourage them to go against it anyway, doesn't it? But nanny state knows best. Ho hum.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A nail in the coffin of old king coal?

That's what some new scientific research reported by SoftPedia suggests; that coal is far more damaging in terms of CO2 emissions than is burning petroleum or gas.

"by burning fossil fuel, power plants emit 40 percent more deadly CO2 than facilities using natural gas or crude to generate electricity."

by using oil and gas alone, humankind may be safe from the effects of global warming for a long time".

So we all have to give up burning coal. Hmmmm, I don't think it is going to be quite that simple, even though the evidence is slowly building up - see TreeHugger.

When targets achieve the opposite effect

Seems like the lack of thought behind setting targets has created yet another snafu where the exact opposite of what the target was required to do is happening.

In this particular case, as reported in the Telegraph, councils are rejecting more planning applications purely in order to guarantee that they win the maximum central government grants available.

"More local authorities were meeting the 13 week target set by Whitehall by simply rejecting an application or encouraging the developer to withdraw it. This meant that they qualified for the grant money."

At a time when the building development market has collapsed because of the recession, this is simply absolute madness!! And perhaps I now understand why a guy I know has had his application for a large wind turbine turned down, despite the fact that he lives high up in a remote spot, and none of his neighbours (a handful within a three mile radius) objected!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just coincidence?

Well, I'll let you judge for yourselves ...... here are a few cards [Explanation later]:-

The Arctic is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the world - Telegraph.

Global coral reefs in seriously bad states - facing mass extinction - SoftPedia.

Global methane levels on the rise again - ABC Science.

More than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003 - ABC News.

2008 has been the coolest year since 2000 (apparently due to La Nina), but the trend still shows warming and it was actually the 10th hottest year on record - Guardian.

I know we've had the coldest early winter for many years here in the UK, and they've had some horrendous ice storms in parts of the USA; but, to use an obtuse little analogy, if you were playing poker and these were your cards, wouldn't you begin to suspect that you'd got the makings of a pretty strong hand?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Telling it how it is?

This piece from Gwynne Dyer in Monday Morning is short, seemingly well and deeply researched, apparently factual (in as much as you have the right to believe what actually are, or maybe, facts; or not, as the case may be), and downright, well, to say the least, disturbing.

Read the "four harsh truths about climate change" and see if it depresses you as much as it did me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Talking of targets ........

..... isn't it odd to note that our Gov is still failing to meet its own emissions reduction and renewables targets?

Reported on

A case of a classic own goal? Or yet another example of 'don't do as I do, do as I say'?

Here's the Telegraph's take on the same story.

Twenty Twenty Twenty (Deal or No Deal?)

With all the targets under discussion over in Poland, the number twenty does seem to appear with amazing regularity, as noted in this piece from the FT.

Talking about how to get the message across about global warming, especially now we are officially in a bad recession, the author makes a lot of good points, and there is little that one can disagree with.

Just love the concluding statement .... "The way to mobilise the masses is to recast the argument. Opportunity sells a lot better than do hair shirts."

And from the same publication, an interesting comment on the future of electric cars, or, perhaps the lack of one!

The deal in Poznan is finally agreed - see the Indy.

Looking through just what has been agreed, I can't really see anything much different to what was 'agreed' before. But it is interesting to note that Ireland has been offered 'concessions' in order to swing a second referendum vote on the Lisbon Treaty in its favour. Hmmm, the Irish get a second chance to vote on it and we still can't have even one?

And the EU deal is not enough, and too watered down, says OxFam.

Update - 15/12/08:
Hmmm. The Poznan 'deal' seems to have rather wound up Caroline Lucas! From today's Guardian letters.

And it looks like the 'deal' isn't going to do much to save the planet's remaining rain forests - reported in eGovMonitor.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pick a pocket or two

DEFRA - The environment in your pocket

Looks fun... well if you're into that kind of thing. Hey, maybe there will be too many reapets on Tv to bear. Here's the blurb I got:

(DEFRA) The environment in your pocket 2008

The twelfth edition of The environment in your pocket is published today by Defra. This is an annual publication containing material on various environmental themes including climate change, air quality, waste and recycling, land, coastal and marine waters, radioactivity, wildlife and inland water. The main theme of this year's publication is climate change and a larger section has been devoted to topics relating to climate change.

It covers almost 60 key data series and focuses on providing trends over time, including performance against quantified targets and commitments set at the national and international level. It includes several environmental indicators of sustainable development.

Examples of facts and figures reported in the booklet include:

* 2007 was one of the warmest years on record with a mean Central England temperature 1.05degrees C above the1961-1990 average.

* In 2007 an average of 1,029 mm of rain fell across the UK, making it 12 per cent wetter than the 1961-1990 average.

* In 2007, 72 per cent of river lengths in England were of good biological quality and 76 per cent were of good chemical quality.

From those wonderful people who brought you...

Wrap defends bonuses for senior staff

Just wondering.

If public money is used for massive comms budgets that inevitably lead to increased public 'responses' (if this can be included in the term 'delivered the vast majority of its objectives' - is there a definition of what these were anywhere?) that in turn generate bonuses from the public purse for those who approved the expenditures in the first place, is there not a slight conflict of interest at work?

At the very least, the system would seem to 'encourage' anything the drives a bonus than what might actually serve our kids' futures on this planet a tad better.

Mind you, I simply can't comprehend any system that includes the concepts of 'bonuses' for public servants.

As it is seldom possible to 'make' anything, if it's based on financial performance the main way to effect 'savings' would seem to be through cuts, which is really not that tricky to do. And can prove less than satisfying to those public being 'served', as evidenced as here.

Targets, box-ticking and enviROIs

Kyoto is worthless (and you don't have to be a sceptic to believe that now)

I'm not a 'sceptic' (optimist). But I am not a total pessimist either.

Perhaps that's the problem. I still lack the conviction to get to the level of extremes that may be necessary.

However, those who would try to persuade the likes of me are a sorry bunch, as this piece suggests.

At least the activists are mostly sincere, if often frightening and, crucially, off putting in their self-belief.

But it is the highly paid pols and hangers on that really take the biscuit, and undermine any serious efforts to address the issue.

Kyoto was a rallying call, yet I read this: The EU has managed to claim success while increasing emissions by 13 per cent

Doesn't help, really.

Then we had Bali, when half the world flew to the other side of the world. That seemed to achieve little more than many of us noting how many went and how little they achieved.

Now we have Poznan.

And, as always these days, we seem to have a total belief in process over and above result.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

NEWS/Commercial PR - Kids and the crunch. Figuratively, at least.

If there is one thing that is up there on the inevitability list along with death and taxes, it's the not so small fact that for a significant chunk of junior's early years you will be dealing with the consequences of the human alimentary process every day, 24/7, 365/365, Christmas and Boxing Day included.

Sorry for that thought. And on top of the sheer joy of all that is involved dealing with it, there is the mind-bending 'kerching!' every couple of hours on top.

Now we really can't do too much to mitigate this bonding moment except empathise (Junkk Male had twins and still bears the mental scars of being a trendy new age 90's daddy), but at least we might be able to pass on a little something to help those green-minded to also save a bit of green as they deal with it (sorry:).

PR as received, E&EO...

From birth to potty – The Pop-In has arrived! Close Parent – makers of The Pop-in Nappy and Close Baby Carrier – has launched a new website and to spread the word they are giving away 1000 Pop-In reusable nappies. There’s no catch – all you have to do is register your details and a nappy will be yours. But hurry, the offer is limited to the first 1000. One nappy per household.

This clever reusable nappy takes the best bits from all-in-one and two party nappy systems to create a unique nappy that is great value and so easy to use.
The shaped nappy comes apart for easy washing and fast drying and simply poppers back together for speedy nappy changing. There’s no need for a waterproof wrap. It features double leg elastics, soft stretchy tabs and adjustable waistband for a snug fit and complete protection against leaks.

The Pop-In’s highly-absorbent and super slim inner soaker is made from naturally anti-bacterial and environmentally-friendly bamboo. That’s why it is so quick to dry. Also each nappy comes with an extra-absorbent nighttime booster pad for comfy, dry nights.

And the best bit about The Pop-In is that you only need to buy it once. The nappy has unique popper system that grows with your baby from birth to potty training, saving you time and money.

Available in five gorgeous colours – coconut, custard, pistachio, duck egg and pumpkin.

The Pop-In is priced at £15.00 for the starter pack of one Pop-In, one Dri-Night fitter booster and one liner. A multi-saver option costs £229.50 and consists of 20 nappies with six Dri-Night fitted boosters, two waterproof tote bags and 200 flushable liners.

Small tip to the wise.... very welcome to be sure, but best not make it an actual Xmas present. I speak from experience.


I usually these days avoid anything with the words 'climate change' or 'experts' in the headline,

Climate change experts 'lose faith' in renewable technology

...and this has both, but it also mentions renewables, so my interest was piqued.

On balance, I fear this rather makes my point that if one concedes the point that it is the public who at the end will make the difference (they decide on products and many vote, so that sorts out business and government), such lack of coherence and consistency from 'experts', especially those big upped and trashed daily within a very short period by the media and their activist story sources, is hardly likely to help much.

I read this piece.

However I couldn't be bothered to read, much less weigh in on the rest on the page... of a minority publication's blog, read and argued over by what I doubt is more than a few hundred.

However, the first might suggest some avenues of consideration..

Guardian - Nearly a billion people worldwide are starving, UN agency warns

Guardian - Cyberspace has buried its head in a cesspit of climate change gibberish

Guardian - Press the panic button

However, it does seem that some are making a good living out of their niche. I wonder what they spend it on? Well, other than flights to the USA 'while they can'.


Gaurdian - It's official: China is the world's bigger polluter

Gaurdian - How to take action on climate change

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

RE:VIEW - Weather

Actually, another in a long list of 'pre'-reviews.

Just to acknowledge we got the thing and record a few first impressions before devoting a bit more serious time and effort to digesting it in totality

Title: Weather
By: The Met Office
Publisher: DK


Actually, it looks like a nice little reference tome. Each page is a mix of text, photography and illustration, and the chapters suggest a nice read from history to the latest science.

RE:VIEW - The Environment Equation

Title: The Environment Equation
By: Alex Shimo-Barry
Publisher: New Holland Publishers

pRE:view: At first blush, it looks quite simple, which may be a good thing.

Split into categories, it's essentially a page per 'action', with a carbon number attached.

To what extent one really gets a handle on what one is doing, the consequences and how to effect any changes, remains to be seen.

But it looks an easy, light read.

Junkk Rating: tba

AWARD - Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneur Awards

WHEN: 23rd February 2009
WHAT: Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneur Awards
WHAT... MORE?: Check URL.
COMMENTS: Well, it seems worth a go. Lots to gain; little to lose.

Addendum - I did... plain forgot the deadline! Mind you, I was surprised they still had the money:)...;(

Plain foot in it?

Top anti-aviation activist secretly FLIES to airport protest in New York

A bit like the bowl of petunias in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, when this protest first broke, I thought: 'Oh no, here we go again'.

Frankly I think they achieve little more than giving the media a reason to get excited, those not involved breath a sigh of relief to have dodged a bullet, and those who very much are involved to err on being a tad miffed.

I was a little concerned when I heard this latest wheeze explained away by a senior activist (do they have 'ranks' like the military?) on the basis that they'd done a petition, had another protest and so it had become necessary to 'escalate'. Hmn. I wonder if there are any salaries, or at least donation-uses, that require a rather shorter timescale than in the past to satisfy the internal demands more than anything else?

So we come back to my eternal point about the right messengers for the message.

Not sure this has advanced the cause, really. A bit like causing vast disruption to a finely tuned system, which doubtless mainly resulted in many more emissions.

Hope she got some nice gifts in NY. It would have been a shame if the flight had been cancelled for such a critical trip.

Guardian - NEW - Lily savaged - The mouths of babes? A new media darling emerges. I just worry a tad about the allusions to taking things further if 'they' don't get 'their' way.

BBC - NEW - A distant climate - for a buffet of irony

From a blog (unconfirmed), to the news that the group is financed by the Lush founder: 'Yet, there is a Lush store at terminal 3, heathrow'.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Ancient technique helps with modern problem

It looks like our forebears knew a thing or two that we seem to have forgotten in modern times.

" Scientists have revealed that an ancient plowing technique can be successfully employed in the fight against global warming and climate change. Burying charred plants into the soil during plowing season virtually stores them indefinitely, while at the same time provides cultures with an abundant source of fertilizers that can maximize production."

The technique buries biochar into the ground, trapping carbon dioxide in the soil for potentially thousands of years; sort of an ancient form of carbon sequestration.

Full story from SoftPediaNews.

My one question is - how much CO2 is released as stuff is partly burnt to produce the biochar?

Support your local (second use) artists

Modern art, not rubbish

Whilst beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and 'awareness' always de rigueur, one can find it in art that also serves a function..

It also tends to send out a more second-useful message on reuse, too.

Built-in obsolescence - the irony years?

General Motors and Chrysler could save the industry with unreliable cars

My Volvo is ten years old and so long as I don't wrap it round a tree and keep up the regular maintenance see no reason for it not to do ten more.

The leather seats have coped with all twins (reason for buying) could throw at them, and aside from a few dings the bodywork has no sign (yet) of the first bubbles of rust that heralded the end of my previous cars.

The only issue is the mpg. So I'm looking at an LPG conversion.

So I'd like to thank the car industry for at last making them to last, though I am sorry how it seems to be working out for them now.

Here's hoping there is not a business lesson being learned (and not in a good way) that may come back to haunt the consumer... and planet... in time to come.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Messengers, messages and media

Green solutions to recession
The environment is more important than ever and its campaigners must ditch those fancy buzzwords

Couldn't agree more with most of the sentiments expressed (by author and posters).

But when dealing with a public whose plate is already quite full, and not that attractive, I'd also advocate (even though in many cases it may not be easy, if indeed possible) less bathing in guilt, scare, threat and nanny, especially from comfortably funded, well-travelled pedestals. Hence quoting the positive, proactive ideas such as the insulation aspect of the Green New Deal is more than welcome.

So long as it's appreciated that a wee bit of pragmatic honesty might also not go amiss, either.

Tough times can indeed require tough talk and maybe tougher solutions, but let's remember that not all that is green can or should be viewed only in black and white, and while much that is green is good, there are many areas where a degree of caution may still serve communications, establishment of trust with the public/consumer, and our kids' futures just as well as a more typical default 'ban this/build that' demand.

Very often the enviROI can be tricky one to assess. But when it's proven - without 'twiddly bits' (subsidies, idealised deliverables, impossible maintenance commitments, wistful international cooperations, etc) included or avoided to 'help' make things seem more attractive, but with clear advantages to planet and (hopefully, in time) pocket clearly spelled out - the sell to the individual facing everything from pay cuts to cost of living hikes might not be so tricky.

Or... keep on with what most have been doing 'til now. I'm sure it can be argued that it's all been good stuff, but I'm not sure that to date many are yet buying what's been tried so far. So maybe a change could indeed be in order. It might still take an impressive shift in mindset in some quarters, though.

"Any GM crops in this?"

"No sir, we don't use GM food sources at all in any of our products!"

Under breath, so as not to be heard - "we only use radiation modified crops".

Now I'd heard about radiation modification, but didn't realise just how widespread and what big business it had become. It seems that the use of mutagens can accelerate natural selection processes dramatically. And many of us have almost certainly being eating radiation modified foodstuffs for quite a while.

Some 30% of the Mekong Delta's one million hectares of rice-growing area is planted with VND95-20, a radiation modified species, which is resistant to saline conditions.

Despite some of the rather worrying terminology used (mutants, induced mutation, Gamma rays!) this technology has been around for donkey's years and yet seems to have eluded the radar of the world's NIMBYs.

Full story from IrinNews - very interesting stuff - looks like it could certainly help in a world with far too many mouths to feed.


Christmas is coming, the geese (well everyone making a green buck) are going to get fat...

I have decided to kick off a festive thread with things that pass my way that can spread the cheer... and lighten the load:

General Tips

Gaurdian - A-Z of tips for a green Christmas


Send an e-card this Christmas with Envirowise - not reviewed as yet

Campaign aims to recycle 100m Christmas cards
- still unsure what's wrong with the weekly kerbside recycle bin. But hey-ho, let's pop off to the supermarket then!

Gift tags - I'm doing/have done a separate blog on this to attempt to address the various other eco considerations. So this is just a home DIY link that does still use power, ink and paper.


Guardian - Avoiding unsustainable Christmas gifts - nice in theory. Do they have kids? Kids who do not watch TV? Who do not have friends? But some nice ideas as you 'de-tune'. I must say the poster who suggested they don't use the same paper to flog coffee makers that use individual plastic pots has a point.

Guardian - Should I send a cow this Christmas?


Guardian - Low-carbon Christmas lights


Recycling website offers free Christmas presents - No URL, but I'm sure it's track-downable


Recycle your Christmas tree
- our falsie has done us 15 years and counting, mind

Guardian - NEW - Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree

As always, if you'd like to share, let me know and I'll add 'em here too.

Ho, ho, ho.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Cars of the future?

An interesting look at vehicles of the future, from CNN.

Hmmmm. I didn't realise that Toyota was losing money on each Prius sold.

Rain stopped play, ironically?

Will you join London's climate march?

Mixed feelings on this one. No, I won't be there, as it's in London. But if any readers are around... I have shared.

Also she rather raises a key point. Versus X-Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and the financial crisis, is calling all to a march, whilst very people power, democratic and all, really going to motivate the masses?

Maybe effort might be better spent emulating these despised icons of modern day life and finding something like them that does get more people to care and enough to join together in making a difference? I also have a slight 'thing' about being 'against' climate change, which really is a rather sloppy rallying call. The climate changes. What is a possible problem is the way 'we' are not helping it do so, in severity and frequency. Such muddled articulations can compromise a lot of goodwill and start pushing into agenda-driven activist territory.

Kinda cute that a poster needs to help a dedicated environmental beat journalist with making more of the whole where and when thing. Almost like she lives in her own little bubble with all her green mates, eh?


Commercial schools

Small businesses do face very tough times (letters, 1 December). I am not the owner of a small business but a former teacher, and I strongly object to the large banners hanging on the walls or railings of innumerable junior schools, announcing that the school is collecting vouchers for one supermarket chain or another. Schools are demeaning themselves by allowing themselves to be used as advertising hoardings, and schools should not disadvantage parents who are the owners of small businesses, by giving the impression that supermarkets are the obvious place to shop.

Or, should I say... dilemmas.

Having just, with our Voucher Tree efforts, been complicit in such an effort, This has given me cause to ponder.

I must say that, when we were doing the publicity, we considered using just such a poster on a railing to highlight our collection efforts, and everyone agreed that they did not deserve the publicity. Interesting that such a 'poster site' would usually be subject to a lot of planning, and even more money if not 'in a good cause'. It seems I am not the only one who can be cynical.


A small piece on BBC Breakfast which typifies why I feel the whole sorry news, and especially science & tech.. er... environment* aspects are now less than worthless.

It was on.. corks.

In the (lightly nutty with a hint of spice) red corner we have a luvvie oenophile, for whom no bottle should cost less than £100 and be 'tainted'.

In the green corner, we have some bloke on about some bit of fauna being eradicated if the cork tree orchards are converted to other uses.

Now, I will leave out the majority of the 'debate', and my feelings on the matter, because my concern was with the conduct of the moderators.

Even when the two 'experts' were accusing each other of being plain wrong and/or being strangers to the truth, the response was 'oh, well, we're running out of time, you two sort it out later'.

No.... I was trying to arrive at a view and was left with an unresolved petty spat. This is supposed to be a news programme; not Jerry Springer.

* (there's been a name change, apparently. Why? While there are cross-overs they are distinct topics)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Greenhouse gas update

All this greenhouse gas argument; is it all a load of hot air?

Well, not according to this from NatureNews, which indicates that levels of greenhouse gases are continuing to rise, and are doing so in line with the IPCC's oft maligned forecasts.

And from the same source, an article on how Methane is released from areas of tundra even after the start of the winter re-freeze.

OK, we simply do not know what the future impacts might be, but does anyone else, like me, find such facts and figures rather disturbing?

Yet another species extinction....

....appears to have occurred. This time the Australian white lemuroid possum. Full story from the Telegraph.

Now (as I sit and freeze in my under-insulated office, with snow lying on the ground outside and a minimum of -4.5C last night) whether you believe in anthropogenic caused [or enhanced] global warming or not, it is clear that something is happening to our little lump of rock, and it don't seem to be too good.

Zero-carbon homes

These don't appear to be doing too well at the moment according to this from EDIE.

Just 15 new homes that meet the Gov's definition of zero-carbon have been built in the last 12 months, despite the backing of £15 Million of taxpayers money.

Hmmm, perhaps they need to think about redefining just what zero-carbon actually means?

Meanwhile, there are those (see this piece from who think that total decarbonisation is the only possible way forward. Sounds rather overtly radical to me, but what do I know?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


At what?

That the EU has backed down on the CO2 emission targets for new vehicles.

Well, I, for one, am not at all. It just shows what power big automotive industries still have over our Pols, elected or otherwise.

  • CO2 goals relaxed
  • Car makers now have until 2015 to hit 130g/km
  • Niche car makers such as Jaguar Land Rover exempt
Full story from What Car.

One man's myth...

Worth sharing... but I suggest with cranked eyebrows cocked if necessary.

The 10 big energy myths

Especially as there is a book available.

Some are well worth noting. But, as with all things, just becuase there are clear cases of a good enviROI, it does not mean one does not challenge all others to prove themselves first.

Fancy being one of the 3,000?

UK set to trial 'smart fridges' - 3,000 refrigerators, which adapt their power use to the ebb and flow of demand, are to be given away

Me too.

Thing is, there doesn't seem to be any mention of how 'we' apply.

Maybe it's 'in-house'... as in the houses of those sharing the burden along with 'us'?

We have a smart freezer already. It accumulates food way past safety dates, then frosts up and leaves the door ajar so it all spoils and we throw it away.

I can see tough. But why tougher than anyone else?

A first test for the other Miliband

Not sure that the rest of the piece's optimism is justified.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Logic Free?

Or, at least consistency.

As domestic sales are trying to be boosted, and with an in theory commitment to the environment, I am unsure as to why the government and BBC is promoting flying overseas to buy iPods and bring back 16 litres of extra weight, duty free, in a plane.

Indy - Duty-free allowances double, thanks to Brown


I'm still getting to grips with the logic of trumpeting encouragement to fly overseas to bring back an extra 16 kilos as an assist to economy and environment....

"Bing bong! We will shortly be bringing around the Duty Free bowser. Please have your credit cards ready. An additional irony-free amount may be deducted for lugging all this extra on board to satisfy newly-created demand, and then pad a few carbon credit schemes concocted between Brussels, Westminster and the City. Thank yew! Bing bong"

It must all add up somewhere.

I was an engineer once. Then I became an ad man (sadly no qualifications that get you in or on TV news commenting on 'stuff' in any form).

But I do have an ability to be inspired by substance, and also sniff out when the smoke and mirrors are being deployed (and not to focus the power of illumination).

At the moment... erring on the latter.

My poor kids.

Gaurdian - End of the party
This a brave, bold step and Gordon Brown is to be congratulated for taking it

Well, some might still see it that way.

Much like this glowing report, from another Friend of Gordon:

Duty-free allowances double, thanks to Brown

Now, remind me. How does flying to another country, buying their stuff and lugging an extra 16 kilos back here help our economy and the planet?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh Lor, summit all up

Faiths in climate change summit

I guess they have to meet somewhere to discuss and (They aim to set a manifesto to encourage..). But really, I'd love to know the carbon consequence of all these 'summits'.

I wonder if Aunty has sent a team, too?

Thinking of boxes... another way

It's been a dodgy week at the end of a dodgy month. Time for some levity.

'Thinking outside the box' is most despised business jargon

Of course, some us spend more time thinking about the box.

Pushing the envelope is evil

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Or.... reuse?

Getting a bit frustrating banging on about other alternatives, but as Aunty has investigated...

Throw-away Britain

Service? Or meeting a target?

Addendum (from a thread):

'...this "empowerment" is a growing trend. Doing it yourself whilst the people that you pay to deliver a 'service' spend all their time "incentivising you" with chip and bin fines, cameras and ASBOS..'

[This] horrifying bin scheme is a manifestation of this "empowerment" - bullshit of course and the worst of all worlds. You pay for the service, do it yourself and have to endure bullying from the state.'

As pithy a summary as I have seen of how these new 'initiatives' are concocted, mis-promoted and, if history is judge, will be more effective at generating money then helping my kids' planetary futures.

I have to put my hand up and say I am a believer in some sort of incentive-based schemes that are, effectively, pay as you go/throw. But only if this contribution by the consumer/rate payer in money and effort is rewarded with consequent reductions in related areas.

Mind you, I was a young home owner who though the Poll Tax seemed relatively fair. But I guess that was 'different'.

How times have changed, and changed views.

Newsnight - An exchange that seems pertinent for now.

Waste not, want not.

Well put.

Reduce: don't buy so much tat in the first place - Agree, though being told to spend like there's no tomorrow is a wee bit contradictory at the 'mo.

Recycle: encourage easier and more widespread recycling facilities - Agree. Plus much better national connectivity, from logistics to communications. It doesn't help that I am hearing that recyclate is deemed to still count on EU targets as 'recycling' even if its quality is useless to those seeking to make something of it. Or see budgets of multimillion £'s being sunk in Charlotte St or SoHo to create 'awareness' levels that tick boxes and add to the bonuses of the quango directors and Ministers who commission them. This seems a direct conflict of interest.

Re-use: think of ways in which the packaging etc. can be re-used about your home. Agree. Especially if it can be designed-in to be second used. I might suggest that one, a namesake, exists already:

There are others of course, though mainly in the area of redirecting away from the landfill. Hence well of value. These are linked here

Alas, we seem to be losing that Blue Peter spirit that was so much a part of my childhood.

FWIW, has been described as 'Blue Peter on steroids'

With luck, by getting back to fun and reward over guilt, thread, nanny and fine, the general public may yet see merit, and profit, in getting back to make and mend. Especially in these crunchier, more eco-concerned times.

And maybe business will follow too. Who knows, the government and its various organs of efficiency might get on board, too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crisis, what...

Financial crisis? That's nothing

It's a shame The Grauniad seems to close comments early when they know what may follow.

As here...

Is Gordon Brown ready for this one?

I may have been moved to ask if he has been ready for anything so far.

CATEGORY - The Two E's

I think this deserves its own category now.

For those who have seen it before, this refers to discussions or debates where the needs of the Environment might end up at odds with Economic drivers (I have often called this the two 'Ecos' before, but actually environment and ecology are distinct and, sadly if ironically, can also compete).

Greenbuzz - Taking Care of Business

Guardian - It's the economists, stupid - I'd have to say that, while opinions are fine, if I were not an economist, I'd tread a wee bit cautiously, especially on an open blog, telling those who are their business.

Indy - The eco-crunch: Can Britain still afford to go green? - And in case you wonder who is an eco-expert, they are in here, too. Apparently.

The Guardian - The green squeeze - Do read the comments.... they're free.

Times - Trade minister Lord Jones hits out at green tax on flights

Guardian - Will the Green New Deal deliver? - There are an awful lot of folk on an awful lot of pedestals telling those below what's good for 'em these days. Glad to be spending more time on doing stuff to help most of my day. Might help when the revolution comes.

The Register - The FDRs of Green explain the gentle art of planet saving

Real Climate - A worthwhile read: Bridging the divides

Guardian - Free trade breakdown

The Register - What's the cost of global warming?

Gaurdian - Green routes to growth

BBC - Climate law 'could cost billions' - Of course, it 'might' not.

Guardian - NEW - The green revolution postponed

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Two E's - an example

Darling wants 'shopocalypse' now, pay later

Wot 'e sed


Sadly, quite a lot of the time one can discern the siren call of a target, with process rather than result being more important.

Recycling is OK (or not, if you check one of the sister articles here), but I'd still wave a small flag for reuse.


On the main site we are starting to see more and more ideas spun from waste product data.

Many are simple, some are not. All are great, because if just one bit of stuff ends up being reused that's one bit less in the bin and hence landfill.

A Junkketeer has just uploaded this very simple but nonetheless sensible suggestion*:

Liquid soap container

However, I am using this opportunity to create this new category, to see if a piece of waste product data with no idea.... at least yet, can be pondered for other applications by the collective imaginations out there.

In this case I am thinking the siphon pump component.

Think about it. You have a device that moves 1-2" with relatively little effort, and moves a small amount of fluid around. What could this device be introduced into, even in multiples, to 'make something useful rather than throwing them out?

You never know, it may be good enough that we end up arranging collections in towns around the country just for these pumps so an enterprising soul can make them into a whizzo device.

*Note to self: must make clearer/remind posters that there is a wealth of extra info that can be added under the Advanced Details, with "colour' unfortunately set to default to Black at present.

So good, we created it twice...

Nothing like job creation schemes. Is Trust the new quango?

Two energy trusts is a doubling of bureaucracy

I can think of some more if anyone's interested...

Sadly, one can intone, Yoda-like, 'There are more'.

Many more.

Process has now become more important than product.

Just think of the tangible good that could be DONE with all the comms budgets alone splurged on 'awareness'.

Talk is certainly not cheap anymore, but it ticks many target boxes.

If only all this could 'effort' be harnessed.

Dreams and realities

Green scheme scrapped as household recycling is sent to landfill

It is introduced with that most dubious of disclaimers...'could', but I wonder why this is not more in the media domain.

I must say, my frustration with the focus on recycling, and all the sexy tonnages and ticked boxes and targets that involves, looks quite vindicated.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lights, camera, celebs.. hypocrisy!

The film festival that wants to save the planet

I feel more 'aware' even as I write...

There were moments where I felt that maybe a little introspection was having a salutary effect, but my irony alert meter eventually did break its needle.

But for poetry in prose, this cannot be equalled...

Here we are, 150 film-makers and journalists from all over the world, congregated in a luxurious hotel, fed succulent fruits with impossibly beautiful names – the cupuacu, caju, abacaxi, the pupunha and the jambo – and connected to intravenous drips of caipirinha, looking across the inky-black waters of the aptly named Rio Negro, the river that will take us into the Amazon. Here we are, ostensibly, to discuss the end of the world.

Of course, to some '"The best way to convince people today is through film, through the image".

To others, perhaps, a better way is by example.

Make do and mend

Saw this report on the news this morning: 'Green Grannies' web lessons

Not a great start that what I call reuse was described as recycling, but I persevered.

In fact, so much that, as per host invitation, I wrote in with a suggestion on some tips.

Sadly mine did not make it. As, I imagine, many other did not.

What did make it was 'making soup out of chicken bones' and 'darning your own socks'. Inspiring. Not. Ain't gonna happen with such as this.

Much as there is much to laud in such an initiative, I fear the way Aunty decided to pitch in was hardly the best help Granny might have hoped for.

I will have a rummage and see if more can be made of this (Not much yet on the Oxfam site), for all concerned to benefit rather than filling a box-tick 'green' slot on national broadcasting.

Renewable Energy By Imitating Fish?

Sound a little far fetched? Well, not so, according to the VIVACE research project from the University of Michigan.

It seems that schools of fish swim highly efficiently by riding the vortexes created in the water as those in front of them push their tail fins from side to side. The research looked at this principle and came up with the concept of utilising vortex induced vibrations (generally something that civil engineers spend most of their time trying to eliminate or minimise in bridges and in any project where structures sit in water) to create a potential renewable energy source that will operate even in slow moving currents.

Interesting. Maybe a technology to keep half an eye on?

May the force be with you?

Controversial food scraps bin scheme for all households

Hmnn. Not sure I like the sound of that word 'force'.

With 3 (and counting... we have a biggish garden, unlike some) compost bins it really is no problem dealing with the veg.

Still struggling with the Green Cone for the other organics (meat, bones, etc), especially as the sun has dipped and there is no place at all where it would cop enough sun to brew.

So I rather fear there may be a bit of a clash in the offing between those who set policy and those who have to live through the often 'idealistic' notions of those who set them... backed by threat.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Pepsi to get new-look packaging in 2009

A new 'look', eh? That'll sort things.

I'd like to pitch a substantive design evolution (for one range at least) that will cost them nothing if they are changing packaging anyway, that will confer not only only tangible end-benefits to their customers (and hence a competitive USP), but also genuine CSR and hence PR advantages, too.

Anyone know someone in that organisation who might care about green (planet) as well as green (profits) and has the authority to make a difference if it also makes commercial sense?

A nice way to end the week

Remember the Voucher Tree idea we had? Well, it all came to an end and, I'm glad to say, also to fruition. Also, with a great sigh of relief, it all worked out pretty well and so no egg on yours truly's face.

Bearing in mind we had really only had a month of the programme left, the two stores with trees in them collected a pretty fair amount, and so we decided on a bit of PR to thank all concerned.

And that worked out nicely too. The local media were very interested and supportive, and I think we gave them a nice shot, thanks to a whole bunch of nice folk pitching in (see above - several schools were kind enough to send representatives). Even the weather cooperated.

Here's an edit of the Press Release that went out, and we'll hopefully see the story appear* in various forms next week.

I'd just like to thank all concerned for making it the inspirational success it has become, especially the townsfolk who made the effort to drop off their vouchers.

Give that Town A Coconut!

Local schools benefit from Ross-on-Wye shoppers and businesses teaming up to make the most of national retail chain promotional opportunity

Not too long ago, a locally-organised community initiative was launched to try and make the most of the Morrison’s supermarket 'Let's Grow' promo, whereby purchases can generate free vouchers that schools can use to buy gardening equipment.
'Voucher Tree' palms were made specially by local re:use business from old packaging, with 'coconuts' made with the name of every participating school.

The original plan was to put these in the local Morrison’s supermarket foyer but unfortunately it proved to difficult for them to get head office permission in time. But a quick call to local stalwarts bore fruit, and the trees sprouted at Terry’s Digital and the EnviroAbility Book Swap shop in town.

Terry Thomas of Terry’s was happy to oblige. He remarks:
‘It was no problem having a tree in the store, and worked out well for everyone. Being right next door to the supermarket we were convenient to drop off vouchers, and it made us some new friends in passing too. A real win-win all round!’.

Dennis Humble of EnviroAbility agrees, adding:
‘We were more than happy to offer all those kind enough to pop in a way to make sure as many vouchers as possible would get to where they can to the most good. In fact we had visitors from other towns come by and say what a good idea it was, and how they wished their community was as responsive and had done the same too.’

Now the promotion is over, the organisers will be handing over all the vouchers collected to the designated schools who asked to be part. Says Peter Martin of ‘It was nice to see every part of the town pull together to make the most of the opportunity, though it’s a pity we couldn’t have had a tree in the actual supermarket foyer as a reminder to shoppers to collect and drop off on the spot. But the bulging bottles we have ended up with show just what can be done when the public, businesses and local media pull together.

It cost next to nothing to set up, but we are very appreciative of the time and effort of all concerned to help make it work. With luck we can think of more such mutually-rewarding community initiatives again in the future!”

*Addendum: It has. Nice one, all

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Do good. But don't spend it all at once

Gordon Brown's social enterprise vision

They do sound nice, don't they?

So I am relieved at the notes of caution being voiced, though concerned that they are being voiced up to a person for whom vision has not proven a strong suit to date, and who is not noted for his talent for listening, or indeed grasp of realities. But he does seem to know a good soundbite when he hears one.

As one who has been involved with, for sure benefitted but also suffered from 'commitments' to social enterprise, I wish more reflected the notion that 'the result is a reasonable salary and a sense that they are making a difference'. To which I might add 'delivering a healthy ROI to all involved'.

If customers don't like the product/service, and hence buy/into it, then sadly all these enterprises will become is money pits sucking funding from elsewhere. Or they will go bust.

Peter Jones' comments, rather colourfully expressed at the beginning ('do gooders' can rather set an unfortunate tone, and frankly passion for doing good can be a potent part... of the mix. See later) but more considered on reading later on, get closer to it.

Any twerp can have an idea. I know, I have. Lob in a bit of money you can, if relevant, protect the IP.

But none of this is much use if you don't flog it on. And keep on doing so.

And here is where I see a stonking great gap between stated aims, useful support and actuality. Government doesn't understand sales.

I have lost count of the number of Third Sector funds, forums, quangos and whoever, with natty offices and staffed to the gunnels, who are out there to invite you to submit, assess your plan and slip you the readies. Business Links, Chambers, Trusts, you name it. Awash with cash, seemingly concerned with the bottom line, but almost all designed to launch a box-ticking scheme, often with a pot of EU/taxpayer money, and then... get you to 'sign off' quicker than you can say 'match-funding'. And often the funding pot is pretty bare of actual serious dosh to dole out once the empires, especially often overlapping ones, have taken their cut first. It's like being bought an F-16, helped to take off and then bang, the guys in the back seat eject as 'their job is done'. You either crash and burn or get addicted to in-flight refuelling just to stay airborne.

Some do delve into the P&Ls and all the rest, but as it's an enterprise you are usually dealing in the future, with forecast guesstimates at best. And visionary thinkers are not usually too great at the numbers. So they will say what is required to be heard, and if it's at all social enough will get the launch money. As to what happens down the road...? Case closed. The caravan will have moved on.

Why can there not be more emphasis on matchmaking talents, bringing together the ones with ideas and assisting them by the introduction of a sensible complement (for every Trevor Baylis there has to be a Peter Jones whose introduction to each other will benefit both...the project... and the country), with more funding going into forging those business relationships such that a team is created to ensure that both the social and the enterprise aspects can be delivered, with returns, quickly and... sustainably. Once in profit, everyone can be happy, left to it, and support can move on to new, good works.

Or, the whole thing can be driven by targets and PR opps...

Gaurdian - Social Innovation Camp: finalists announced

More, and better?

In my idle trawl of funding news today I noticed this:

Website Will Show A Better Way To Recycle

A new website that will make it easier for people to recycle has scooped the top prize in a Government-sponsored competition. The Can I Recycle It portal was judged the overall winner of the Show Us A Better Way contest, which asked members of the public to devise a website that would provide a useful service using some of the non-personal data held by the Government.

This competition was one I noted, but then promptly forget, partly because I'm old, partly because I don't trust the government to credit inventors properly, and hence suspected that any ideas would soon become a very public/bureaucrat domain and not much to do with the creator, and partly because in my experience such things are often judged on agenda rather merit.

Interesting that many have noted another gov/quango site, Recycle Now, seems to have roughly the same thing. Also mentioned is Sort it. Can't have enough of a good thing, I guess. Slight duplication of effort on the public purse, mind.

Fortunately, perhaps due to lack of targets and boxes to tick, reuse again gets missed.

Now, if they had a site for that! Ahead of our time still?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pay peanuts, get what you deserve?

Who's paying for our junk habit?

With a title like that, how could I not?

NEWS/Commercial PR - Bringing the sun inside, even in winter

One of our good friends on the site and especially this blog is Solarventi

Seems they are moving up in the world and have gone all posh with a PR agency, from whom we have had a release on their behalf.

Happy to share, E&EO...

New Report Shows Amount of Free Energy Available from UK's Most Advanced Solar-powered Air Heating System

The report data shows that a single SV30 generates up to 2kW per hour of free energy, even in external temperatures below the annual UK average of 14 Celsius. During daylight hours, a this will warm incoming air to between 30 and 40 Celsius higher than the outside temperature.

The report also highlights the unit's dehumidification capability. During daylight hours, the average relative humidity of incoming air was reduced by 80% compared with ambient. This further reduces heating bills, as heating a dry home requires less energy than heating a damp, humid property.

The SolarVenti units are powered by a highly efficient solar cell. In sunlight, the units activate to provide interior space heating by warming large volumes of incoming air. This also safely dehumidifies all types of property that may suffer from airborne damp by displacing and replacing the damp air with warmed dry air.

The SV30, which provides heated airflow of up to 150 cubic metres per hour, costs £1272 +VAT including wall mounting brackets and fittings. Roof mounting kits are also available for all larger SolarVenti units.

The 'SV30H Plus' model heats both Air and Water in one unit. This gives heated airflow of up to 100 cubic metres per hour, and heating incoming air by up to 40 Celsius above ambient. It also produces hot water at temperatures up to 55 - 65 Celsius and is supplied as a complete self-install package including hot water cylinder, heat exchanger, solar-powered pump, pipework and fittings, at £2532 + VAT. The unit can be switched between heating the air or water or a mix of both. Airflow from SolarVenti units is controlled with the supplied regulator. Thermostats are also supplied with all SV30 models.

SolarVenti units are designed and made in Denmark. Over 26,000 have been sold worldwide to date, with the majority used in houses and holiday homes and a growing number of municipal buildings.

NEWS/Commercial PR - POOH CORNER gets its latest update

Now, in true Michael Caine style, 'norralorra people know this, but...' does have a little place called... POOH CORNER.

It got created to 'address' matters of a more effluvial nature that are nonetheless environmentally valuable, and copped the moniker when my boys heard my talking about the topic, made a very odd connection with Christopher Robin whilst giggling 'He said poo!'. It was a while ago, but even at 12 they still fall about. Like I say... boys.

Nothing there yet, of course, because for now all goes here on the blog, but I really must get busy loading it up as, over the years, a lot has come in that would be ideal to go here.

Anyhoo... to the point.

Those nice folks at ecover, who already dominate the 'E' section of the Ideas pages, have sent us a freebie to go with a bit of worthy PR. The pack is now here and here. No ideas yet, but the cap is promising. Maybe ecover can get busy here as they have before.

The PR is here. The first bit is well worth noting. And as they are mates I've left in the 'product blurb', too (too much to pun it a shamless plug..hole?):


40% of the world's population, 2.5 billion people, don't have access to a toilet. To raise awareness of this global sanitation crisis, and to celebrate the humble yet essential Ecover bathroom cleaner [now that's something I have never seen celebrated before! - Ed], November 19th has been designated World Toilet Day.

We’re excited about World Toilet Day because it complements our three year partnership with WaterAid to provide access to safe water and sanitation in the Hintalo Wajerat area of rural Ethiopia.

For further information on Ecover’s partnership with WaterAid visit

About Ecover Ocean Waves Toilet Cleaner

As with all Ecover products, the Ocean Waves Toilet Cleaner is formulated from plant and mineral-based ingredients, biodegrading quickly and completely to ensure it has a minimal impact on aquatic life.

Telegraph - NEW - Why we shouldn't sneer at World Toilet Day

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Efficiency games

New Solar Balloon Creates 400 Times More Energy Than The Average Solar Cell

I'll share because it looks and sounds fun, but the claims may need an eyebrow crank.

When switching off just won't do

7-Eleven Getting Big Gulp-Sized LED Upgrade

'in order to do its part to reduce GHG emissions'

I am glad that they have 'seen the light', but let us not get too carried away with echoing the PR.
'The savings will be worth it as the lights will use about 75% less energy than fluorescents.' '..after they see what kind of savings 7-11 reaps.'

Not to mention the kudos... oh... they can see that already.

Please, let there not be vast acres of print media issued to tell one and all about this measure.

Actually I'd be keen to know exactly how long the $1B investment will take to get to payback... and then accrue major operational savings; not really for the eco-cred but just to stamp on some beancounters' foreheads to show that green can make green.

It needn't be an 'either/or'.

Nice motors, shame aboutthe colour

Leonardo DiCaprio, the star who helped turn Hollywood green

'As well as his Toyota Prius, his latest car is equally in tune with the times - a BMW H7, which runs on hydrogen.'

Must be tricky driving both at once.

'may look like a fuel-hungry executive saloon - but it burns hydrogen, not petrol'

And just because the fuel is not petrol that makes it less hungry... how? And what is the enviROI of hydrogen at the moment?


It's a grower! (sorry:)

Energy Source

Telegraph - Cost of living: some good news for once - I had some dabte on the right category here. Should it have been more under 'Energy' or even 'Alt. Energy'? Still, with two wind-fallen trees' worth out back...


Gaurdian - Rainforests

Looking at the above, that suggest 'Deforestation' as a category, too. Ho -hum.


Times - NEW - New ways to make use of any old wood

Peak Oil

Two words that cause major disagreement every time they are used; so any article that provides a sensible and logically argued explanation of the Peak Oil concept is worth a few minutes reading.

This is one such by investor Praveen Jaiswal in Seeking Alpha. Enjoy.

Water, water, everywhere....

..... and not a drop to drink.

According to this from the International Herald Tribune, that is the prospect facing billions of people, especially in Asia, over the coming decades, as climate change alters rainfall patterns and increases areas that already suffer from droughts.

"global climate change takes many forms, causing droughts in some areas while increasing flooding and the severity of cyclones in others. Droughts reduce water supply, and floods destroy the quality of water. Rising sea levels, for instance, increase the salt content at the mouths of many rivers, from which many Asians draw their drinking water."

By 2080, they reckon that as many as 3.2 Billion people (that's almost half the planet's current population) could face a shortage of clean water.

Yes, I know they use that horrible word 'could', but it doesn't sound too good if true, does it?

Oh, and if you want something topical to actually drink from, how about one of these 'global warming mugs' from

Nothing ventured

Obama to skip UN climate talks

Probably he and his entourage not going is doing more to reduce carbon emissions than any conversations held there will achieve.