Friday, April 25, 2008

NEWS/GO3 PR - 12 Lords a... tilting at windwills

Bit heavy for a Friday afternoon, but as I have been banging on about it for long enough... this just in:


PR as received, E&EO*. Some top lordly names in there. Only one I recognise, and he is out and about at the moment not seeing what all this climate fuss is about.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee are today launching a new
into the economics of renewable energy.

The Committee will look in detail at the prospects for the increased use
of renewable energy which under EU targets should make up 15% of the
UK's total energy use by 2020. Figures show that only 1.8% of Britain's
energy came from renewable sources in 2006.

The inquiry aims to set out the costs and benefits of renewable energy
and compare those with other sources of energy. The Committee will
deliver an objective analysis that provides an economic assessment of
the Government's policy towards the increased use of renewable energy.

Commenting, Lord Vallance, Chairman of the House of Lords Economic
Affairs Committee, said:

"Renewable energy is expected to play an important role in reducing
carbon emissions but we know comparatively little about the possible
costs and benefits.

"Our Committee will analyse in detail the potential costs and benefits
of an increased use of renewable energy sources and how they stack up
against non-renewable sources.

"We would welcome evidence from any interested parties to what will be a
thorough and detailed inquiry."

Some of the issues the Committee will examine are:

* How does and should renewable energy fit into Britain's overall
energy policy? How does the UK's policy compare with that of other

* What are the barriers to the greater use of renewable energy?
Are there technical limits to the amount of renewable energy the UK can
absorb? Will technological changes make renewable energy cheaper and
more viable?

* What can the government do to promote the greater use of
renewable energy and encourage more investment in the associated

* How much investment in Britain's electricity transmission and
distribution networks will be necessary to enable a significant increase
in the use of renewables?

* What are the external costs associated with different forms of
renewable energy, such as the impact on rural areas of an increase in
wind farms?

* How do the costs of generating electricity from renewable
sources compare with fossil fuels and nuclear power? What are the
estimated costs of carbon capture and storage technologies in future and
how do these compare to renewable generation? What impact do these
various forms of generation have on carbon emissions?

* What are the costs and benefits of the current generation of
bio-fuels? Will there be a second generation of bio-fuels and, if so,
how will its costs and benefits differ?

The Committee welcome written evidence from any interested parties.
Evidence should reach the Committee by the 16 June 2008.

The current membership of the Committee is:

Lord Vallance of Tummel (Chairman) Lord Macdonald of Tradeston
Lord Best
Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market

Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach
Lord Moonie

Lord Kingsdown
Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

Lord Lamont of Lerwick
Lord Paul

Lord Lawson of Blaby
Lord Turner of Ecchinswell

Lord Layard

*See label links for explanation(s)

AWARDS - Resource Awards 2008

WHEN: Nominations close 19 May 2008.
WHAT: Resource Awards 2008
WHAT... MORE?: From site - Do you know of a community recycling project that deserves recognition? Think the scheme where you work is the most innovative of its kind? Are you putting real value back into the community and diverting an impressive tonnage of material from landfill?

If the answer to any of these question is ‘YES!’ then you should nominate your local community recycling project for the Resource Awards 2008 and give yourselves the chance to win £2,500!

Jennie Chapman of the Vine Project, winner of the Community Recycling Project of the Year 2006, said: “I would encourage people to nominate an organisation that they know, even if you think that the organisation is too small or new for such awards.
HOW MUCH: Not clear... might be free!
COMMENTS: Another we'll be gunning for (well, first we need to get nominated, nudeg, nudge), and were tempted not to share. Ah, what the hey... may the best... and us... win!

EVENT - UK Aware show 2008

- May

STOP PRESS!!!! - 2 for 1 online booking offer - use code IT241

FIELD: Enviro-related
WHEN: 10-11 May
WHAT:UK Aware show 2008
WHAT... MORE?: Green ideas for everyday living
WHERE: Barbican... London... again
WHO: Co-blogger Dave of Solarventi is exhibiting there!
HOW: £5
COMMENTS: Looks like another nice day out!

Quote of the day - Don't build it, and we'll just come and take over

A nice chap in an earlier discussion about our woeful national coordination of anything to prevent waste sent me a discussion piece.

I just want to share this from its midst, as I'd heard of it before and now see it in all it's... unfortunate... glory:

"Toyota are now using the knowledge gained through their production system to deliver more sustainable(higher quality) corporate facilities at zero extra cost.

In 1984 the DTI arranged a ‘mission to Japan’ and asked why they let us look at their factories, the Japanese said “because you are already ten years behind and anyway we know you won’t do it!’

Just how did this country get Great again?

Just how much does it cost to be smart enough to save... well anything, really

Study says smart meters will cost £16.1bn

I just had a water meter put in. Cost me zippy. And now I am watching our consumption like a hawk. So I am in principle in favour of any measure that measures to help us lead more thrifty lifestyles.

On such a basis, this ain't one.

Our house, is a very very fine house..?

House of Commons Debates 24 April 2008 - Topical Debate - Supermarkets

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Joan Ruddock): I beg to move, That this House has considered the matter of supermarkets.

Lumme, I am going to have to give up the day job at this rate just to keep up with all this! Very interesting insights into the knowledge base and interest of our elected representatives.

I saw Ms. Ruddock in action when in was Sainsbury's turn to play on the BBC (I think it was Newsnight). Possibly some effective divide and rule being attempted by someone, as this was pitched as a counter to the M&S/Daily Mail PR effort of a few weeks previously, but we do seem to be getting a lot of lengthy commercials for brands dressed up as green concern these days on our national broadcaster.

The only constant is the waffle from the followship, who seem pretty keen on any distraction from what seems a total lack of national, coordinated, complementary ground back to ground (dig it up, make it, ship it, store it, sell it, use it, ditch it, dispose of it) waste policy and logistics. Certainly putting systems in place to cope before fining for not using those that are currently so woeful, confusing and contradictory might get the public on side a wee bit better.

I notice today the big news is an OFT probe in price fixing. Hope it works out a wee bit better than the one that resulted in a stonking great compo payment to Morrisons. Donated to charity, it was billed as 'made by the government/department'. Now, where did that money come from I wonder? And were there any tangible consequences borne by those responsible?

Talk is proving very cheap these days. And even some actions pretty free of worthwhile accountability.

Throw enough mud

And you may eventually end up with a... very expensive... hut.

This from a blog:

The Environment Agency - Science Report - The economic and environmental benefits of resource efficiency in construction

Resource efficiency could save construction industry millions

Ten million tonnes of new construction products are wasted every year, at a cost of over £1.5 billion. This is the result of a study by the Environment Agency to evaluate the potential economic and environmental benefits of the UK construction sector improving resource efficiency. This is equivalent to about two per cent of the overall construction sector output. Reducing the amount of waste by one per cent would mean annual savings of £15 million and 104,000 tonnes of product.

The report estimates that 6.1 million tonnes of construction waste, mainly paints and finishes, floor coverings and light fittings, are sent to land fill every year, at a cost of £917 million. It also estimates that 3.9 million tonnes of construction waste such as ceramics, concrete and cement, worth £583 million are recycled.

The construction sector is hugely resource intensive, using an estimated 400 million tonnes of resources each year. This makes it the single biggest user in the UK economy, accounting for about nine per cent of gross domestic product. In addition, the sector also produces over 30 per cent of England's total waste along with 32 per cent of its hazardous waste.

As Site Waste Management Plans become mandatory for larger projects from April 2008, it is becoming increasingly important that the sector efficiently manages the resources and waste products from all processes during construction projects.

During this project the EA developed scorecards that can be used as a quick and easy tool for identifying opportunities and improvements for site waste management. Separate scorecards have been developed for new build, refurbishment and demolition projects. They are designed to be used by clients, contractors, waste management companies and the Environment Agency to benchmark the performance of on-site waste management.

The report recommends that the construction sector works together with a common goal of resource efficiency*. For this to happen, each part of the sector needs to understand its role in terms of the resources it buys that are subsequently wasted and apply appropriate solutions. Better data is required at a product level for this to happen effectively.

I haven't read the report, nor do I have time to, but from the summary it surprises me that we are still today seeing such as this, and the stark warnings on waste being issued, when the likes of WRAP, NISP , Knowledge Transfer Network and I am sure many other well-funded and often overlapping bodies/quangos (who must have been mentioned) have surely been on this case* for a long time now? Heck, I am on so many lists now I am sure this may be from one of them!

Is national coordination so fragmented/poor and, possibly answering my own question before, is progress really this slow?

*'The report recommends that the construction sector works together with a common goal of resource efficiency.' - So... are they saying that they currently are not then? I really am flummoxed. There is tons going on with this aim/target already!

I am still not sure I can believe this**

Darvaz: The Door to Hell

I've always wondered/worried about the waste/consequences of the burn-off flares on oil rigs and refineries, but this seems grotesque.

Equate it to a few seemingly much more pressing AGW issues in the media.

I wonder if it counts to their Kyoto commitment? And which is better (relatively), the pure gas or the consequences of its combustion?

Surely it is not beyond the whit of man to pop a lid on and harvest this as a resource?

*via a link from a very surf-savvy Singapore Aunty. I had never heard of it until now.

**One slight concern is neither this entity, nor its location (Darvas) is picked up by Wikipedia

Quote of the day - Publican service broadcasting

Let no one excuse the BBC of lack of balance.

Thing is, I do sometimes wonder if they think things through. Following weeks... months... years... of nanny state preaching (with some good reason, and value) on the ills of youth alcohol abuse, we have another Declan commercial break (I know the line between fair PR sharing as news and blatant free exposure for a brand is a fine, and hence difficult one, but really, this isn't some retail boss flogging their latest fluff under the pretext of a news item), this time at the Bushmills distillery. Something along the lines of:

"How do we/you (didn't catch it properly) improve its appeal to younger drinkers..."

...followed by a few minutes free commercial, including mixes (with cranberry juice!) for the younger palate. Nice.

This was, irony free, followed by a piece on kickboxing , introduced along the lines of 'how we improve our kids' behaviour?'.

I have one small suggestion... don't glorify and promote hard liquor cocktails in this manner on the national broadcaster, especially one that has been sanctimoniously trotting out youth binge drinking messages at the same time, when my 11-year-olds are having breakfast. Just a thought.

As with things environmental, if the media can't get consistent with their messages, there is little chance of our youth getting it. I think of AGW scare stories and consumer tut-tutting in complement, followed immediately by some celebs excesses on a far-flung beach. It is inconsistent and divisive. And not a little hypocritical. There's a surprise.