Monday, February 18, 2008

A worthy answer. Odd how there are so few questions.

Or anything. Not one comment at time of posting. Why environmental treaties don't work

Thank you for sharing this.

I am a little amazed, and not a little depressed, to find so few taking an interest in what I'd have thought was a very key, major aspect of the whole PMWCC (Probably man-worsened climate change) issue and our global attempts to address it.

But I guess we need to fret the big stuff first, like bottled water.

Government Incompetence?

Or deliberate policy?

The second question is mine, the first is from an interesting article in today's Guardian.

I've questioned the ridiculous state of government grants for renewables before, but somehow it seems to have got even worse than it was!

Whilst the DBERR is set to under spend the £18m low carbon buildings programme by £10m over the three years to March 2009, we get this!

"Last May BERR simply slashed the grants and made them more difficult to get. The result, entirely predictably, was a collapse. ............ Throughout much of 2006, for example, it was making 30-40 grants a month for ground source heat pumps. In the last three months of 2007, no such grants were made. There is a similar decline for solar thermal (hot water) and micro wind turbines. Not a single grant was allocated for a domestic solar PV system last month while the Germans installed about 12,000 systems."

And the DBERR is making no energy contingency plans for the eventuality of peak oil in case it causes panic! This no longer sounds like a bit of a shambles - it IS a bloody shambles!

Had to be done

Richard Branson ‘has a lot of making up to do’

But he does give the media lots to gush.. er.. write about. Which is really all that matters.

How are all those nifty ideas going, actually?

There's also the small matter of that mighty column of something probably less than climatically benign that pops out of Virgin Galactic, to enable a few mega-rich punters have their Kodak moment before availing themselves of the wee bag in the seat back.

But then if we don't have stuff like this we can't explore new worlds, and boldy go and propagate and pollute where no ma... er.. person has before.

Beam me up, Scotty! (I believe his ashes are on the tour).

Serving interests

Grinch time.

I have no real problem with a lot in the business that is charity, but all too often I stumble on 'efficiencies'... perhaps it could be termed 'chaROI', namely what is involved in getting a pound from the public to 'how much?' and in what useful form to the most worthy beneficiaries.

Without naming names, and without knowing the back-story, this was prompted by a fairly hefty news item about a not small group who went to South America to paraglide off a mountain, and raised... £3k. About the cost of the flight of one, plus gear, I'd hazard.

Now if they paid for all and this was just a nice little donation via sponsorship on top, then fine. But having been asked more than a few times to chip in on such things these can often be 'after expenses', meaning the charity goes a long way to paying for a lot of other stuff that doesn't really help those most in need.

So before I donate, or put these up on the site to encourage others, forgive me if I tend delve a bit more into the the provenance chain a bit more.

Doing the Necessary, Priority-wise

It's a rare situation when I can put hand on heart and comment on something from the remote position that not being too fussed about it all confers.

And so I listen to the BBC breakfast news, with an interesting series, and sequence of items.

So we have them quoting a government minister (I think one of our 'several' enviro grade ones) pondering the morality of bottled water. Yup, pretty bonkers flying stuff in from Fiji, and now shipping water over water to a place with water is also... odd.

Thing is, I then ponder the messengers. The BBC obviously fessed up to their internal complicity* (I think to the tune of £300k. No mention of what they'll do about it). I also need to check if the Panorama programme in question really did need to fly* round the planet to make their case (though doubtless offset; lord knows where and to what effect). And beyond what gets served up in the Commons Bar. I do also have to crank an eye at how this stands, enviROI-wise vs. blowing £110 billion propping up a dodgy financial business using our money.

Then we skip to a piece about the new trend of having baby showers, with gifts of £1000 exchanged.

It all rather goes into what is... necessary. And in what priority.

I also crank an eyebrow at how long this will be flavour of the month between the government/media cabal that seems to exist to focus the public's attention on one set of things, often at the expense of, how to say, 'bigger' issues.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There are of course those who will suffer any reduction/ban rather more tangibly and immediately, namely all involved in the industry. I have to concern myself whether those with worthy, mitigating aspects, such as Belu or Frank, will weather this. I guess it's possible they may even do better out of it.

As, of course, will all fizzy pops (if I do ever opt for bottled water I like it sparkling to feel liek it is 'special', so maybe I'll still get Perrier for artist Jason B to turn into lamps) and booze.

Funny old world.

Addendum 1 - You are either part of the solution, or part of the problem. I just watched a live feed from a helicopter of Mr. Al Fayed's car trip to the Diana inquest. The world has gone mad.

Addendum 2 - Bottled water industry faces growing eco pressures - I quote this because I have to question the adequacy of the industry response, at least as reported and, I presume, as intended.

For a start, when I read upfront “simplistic comments such as ‘oil from the Middle East is turned into plastic and ‘many of the bottles that are thrown away end up in our rivers and canals.’” I have to cock an eyebrow. The first needs amplification (where do the raw materials come from?) and the second, well, seems pretty clearly right.

The thing is, why, what, how... etc? In this cases reasons can serve in place of excuses.

Good luck with the campaign they intend, but it's all coming across, to this consumer at least, as a little bit 'from on high' and unnecessarily defensive.

It's not fair and they have been singled out in flagrant diregard to other, possibly equally worse 'culprits' of our conucmer choice society, but I'm not sure what I read here is going to cut it.