Despite the promise to reverse their insane ban on on-shore wind turbines, there are fears that this what is going to happen

On-shore wind-turbines are far and away the cheapest (currently) and easiest form of renewable power to roll out. The UK is targeting net zero emissions by 2050 (as well as a 68% reduction on 1990 levels by 2030), so any rejection of the cheapest and one of the simplest means of power generation goes against all this. More urgent, the aim is to have a power grid that is 100% green by 2035 – just 12 years away.

Why should a very noisy minority be able to stop the countries efforts to cut our carbon footprint.

The simple fact is, that farmers up and down the country can make good extra money by hosting turbines. Whether crops or grazing is the primary use of the land, wind turbines take up a tiny proportion of the land, and have no discernible effect on output.

Continue reading “Despite the promise to reverse their insane ban on on-shore wind turbines, there are fears that this what is going to happen”

UK government sued over decision to to give the go ahead for a large new gas powered power plant

The UK government is being sued after it gave permission for a large new gas powered power plant despite the fact that local planning refuse permission due to the carbon emissions it would produce.

Andrea Ledson overruled the local decision-making process. Drax the power producer, talked about adding carbon capture processes in the future, but not while building. If completed, this power station will emit 75% of the carbon dioxide emissions set aside for power generation in the government’s plans.  Added to the plans to increase the size of the coal power plant in county Durham, it suggests a total lack of seriousness over Global warming with the UK government. Given our hosting of the next carbon cutting conference later this year, the governments behaviour is highly embarrassing and thoroughly foolish.

Their supposedly world-leading decision to make the country carbon neutral by 2050 is undone by their continued decisions that go against this aim. On the one hand they demand praise for an aim they have put in law, but on the other hand continue on with business as usual decisions that makes that aim impossible to meet.

UK claims to lead the world on the global warming fight yet permission has just given to plans for a large expansion of a coal mine

One of the recognition’s worldwide is that if we are to avoid the worst of global warming the majority of carbon left in the earth must remain there. This particularly applies to coal.

Durham county council has given permission to hugely expand the amount of coal they are going to dig out
Continue reading “UK claims to lead the world on the global warming fight yet permission has just given to plans for a large expansion of a coal mine”

What should the government do about hybrid cars

I believe hybrids should be banned alongside pure petrol and diesel engine vehicles: they generally only have a range of 20 or 30 miles at most before you need petrol or diesel and as such even on a standard commute usually they cannot run purely on electricity. Furthermore unless the buyer is a person who for instance is elderly and only used it to go to the shop once a week this setup means the majority of the use will be in a fossil fuel mode. Hybrids are away for fossil fuel cars to make themselves look cleaner. However, this requires you to have a full working fossil fuel engine and a fully working electrical propulsion which means the vehicle is more complicated and more likely to break down as well as not doing either job particularly well. 

At the moment the plan is to ban hybrid as well which is good. A hybrid that does not allow more than 90 % of travel miles to be done on electricity is not good enough.

However other countries are being more ambitious on when they banned the sale of new new fossil fuel cars, and it is being suggested actually bringing this date forward further 2030 would save UK consumers a considerable amount of money. One of the reason that government set targets so far in the future is so that all the Industries involved can be sure of where they stand, the UK may have been one of the first countries to say that they were going to ban fossil fuel cars but their date was so on an ambitious that one year later they are already moving it 5 years sooner still,  and there is a potential to need to move it soon as still- which would suggest that the government has failed miserably to to give a clear framework for what is going to happen in the future.

News in brief – articles from last few weeks

Owl in Christmas tree

A Georgia family cut down a tree and took it home, decorated it and left it in their house. Only a week after they had bought it did they noticed that there was an owl still living within the branches. It wouldn’t leave on its own so they had to call a rescue centre to help.

Australian Prime Minister continues climate change denial

Scott Morrison the Australian Prime Minister continues his climate change denial despite the unprecedented heat waves hitting Australia. They have recently made climate protest punishable by up to 21 years in jail ( more than most get for murder). He suggested that as as Australia only emits 1.3% of the Worlds carbon dioxide they are irrelevant. This is despite the fact that coal extraction will have increased by 95% between 2005 and 2030. Australia may be a Small Part of the world’s economy but it is similar to Russia and is certainly not irrelevant and must pull its weight.

 At the same conference there were worst fights with the Australian delegation as Scott Morrison is keen to use a loophole by using their are extra carbon reductions in the past to offset their lack of carbon reduction in the future. The extra cuts are from the Kyoto agreement, and most people argue that these were euro unduly lenient and so should not give Australia future credit to not meet their targets now.

UK fossil fuel electricity generation Has Fallen to its lowest level ever

In the last year the amount of electricity generated by why renewable sources has risen above that generated by gas for the first time. Renewable sources generated 38.9% of the country’s electricity while gas only generated 38.8%. Coal which is more dirty than gas it’s been reduced to only 1% in the third Quarter and only 2.5% over the year. Wind generated so much electricity the thousands of people were paid plug in their electric cars or run their dishwashers overnight to use the excess power.

Despite Trump’s attack on reducing carbon emissions, America is doing so

Despite Trump’s stupid behaviour pulling America out of the Paris agreement, such a large portion of America’s economy has said they are still in the carbon emissions have fallen anyway. At the recent global meeting in Madrid, although trump did not feel it was important enough to be there there were many other representatives from America outside the government and they are determined to fulfill America’s pledges despite Trump’s behaviour.

The population of jaguars living on a Small Island off the coast of Brazil has learnt to catch fish from the sea

A small island about 3 miles off the coast of Brazil appears to have almost become a nursery for jaguars. However what was a standing is that they have been seen jumping into the sea to catch fish. They have been observed catching fish in the Brazilian pantanal but this is totally different swimming out in open water. It is wonderful to see these large predators are able to be this adaptable in the face of lack of food on land. They have been found both fishing in in rock pools and mangrove pools on the coast, but also leaping into the water and catching them free swimming. Fish appears to form a large portion of their diet.

Andrew Wheeler and the American EPA has not been able to continue it’s foolish move to reduce CO2 emission standards on cars

One of the first things that the trump administration did when coming to power is to reverse tightening rules on the amount of carbon emissions cars are allowed to create. It was a stupid move in many respects: any parts of the world of demanding these cuts and car companies are not going to make hiring missing cars just for America. The fact that the government is also suing California for having more stringent requirements seems a bit contradictory. They sued on the 17th of September, this change in stance may be partly down to the countersuit filed by California and 23 are the states. 

The main argument from Andrew Wheeler and the EPA is that the changes the Obama administration  in reducing carbon emissions, would require expensive further work my car manufacturers and that therefore they would charge more. This has been proved to be rubbish, competition keeps prices relatively low- so the move actually saves people money as they have to pay less to fuel their car during it’s life.

Fighting to save the tapanuli orangutan is becoming dangerous

A dam has been planned that will submerge around 90% of their habitat. Critics of the dam, bizarrely earning carbon credits, ( it will be a carbon polluter given the large amounts of methane it will give off because of the forest it will submerge) have faced defamation charges, had visits from intelligence officers and had their right to work in Indonesia removed. Several other high-profile activists have died in suspicious circumstances, and the government’s explanation has usually left a lot to be desired. One hopes that the Indonesian government will change direction: it is possible to greatly increase the economy without destroying the environment. Furthermore with careful work money from can be greatly increased giving an income to people living in remote areas which will not benefit from much of the economic changes the government are wanting to bring in.

Trump kills EV tax credit scheme

Trump was determined to end the tax credits given to people who buy electric cars. Despite the fact that this helps America cut it’s carbon emissions and therefore likely saved some money in the long run Trump is determined to end it. This is despite an attempt by the other parties to give him some of the other things he wants in return for saving the program. Apparently the Republican view is that this program only benefits rich Californians (California is relatively strongly democrat). 

Firstly,  they should remember that these people are Americans too. Furthermore closing the program now means that other less rich Americans will have to pay more to de-carbonise.

Secondly, they should realise that generally reducing carbon emissions has such a large impact on health in the populations that even in a situation where people have to pay for their health care privately it’s still benefits the entire economy.

The tax credits have allowed companies like Tesla to get going and have given companies like GM a boost to keep going through difficult times. Also given that these credits are only for the first couple of 100000 cars they have a clear end. This is not true for the roughly 20 billion dollars worth of fossil fuel subsidies each year. Complaints that the EV subsidies are too high or should have ended years ago forget that the fossil fuel industry still takes huge subsidies 200 years after it was formed. How can this double standard not be noticed by more politicians.

A recent study in the UK has shown that cattle are at least twice as likely to catch TB from other cattle than from badgers

A study has shown  that while badgers are 10 times more likely to give TB to Cattle that cattle are too badges, cattle are more than 2 times as likely to get the illness from other cattle. While this study has only been done in one area, and so more research is needed to make sure that this finding is repeated elsewhere. However if this research is true we need to change how we are trying to deal with TB in cattle.

There has been a great deal of fight against control of where and how cattle are moved or bought and sold. That would have to end. If this finding is found to be the same in other areas, biosecurity when moving animals between different places will become the Llikely main point of infection.

45000 cattle were killed last year ear to halt the spread of TB, a figure 50% higher than in 2005. Half a billion pounds has been spent fighting TB since 1996.

The study looked at over 100 badges and over 100 cattle in an area in Gloucestershire, testing for the illness and looking at when and how they could have interacted.

The lead author stated that the study did not look at how killing badgers would impact the spread of the illness, however given the quantity of infection species to species rather than cross species it was clear that the first priority should be stopping cattle giving the illness to other cattle, as this should be simpler and quicker how to solve and will have a far bigger impact.

As the UK fights another election neither leading party will commit on aviation strategy

As with many countries in the world, one of the biggest parts of our carbon footprint is air travel. I am not someone who thinks that all people should be grounded for life, not least because the majority of the wild places on the planet rely on tourism to bring in the money to pay for their upkeep. Without a tourism income how can we say to a country in Africa” you may not shoot the Lions that keep eating your cattle”.

Continue reading “As the UK fights another election neither leading party will commit on aviation strategy”

Party leaders had a climate debate, what should we think

It is still frustrating that often climate issues are one of the lowest priorities for a government. Sure, we want clean air air and clean water but even Donald Trump talks about this. As such it was fantastic to see that one of the main debates was on the climate.

As such it was fantastic that the majority of political parties in the UK sent their leaders to sell their climate policies to the British public.

What should we make of the fact that 2 of the parties failed to turn up. It is true that the Conservatives sent Michael Gove in Boris Johnson’s place, however what does it say about the most likely candidate for Prime Minister that he did not think it was worth turning up and debating with other leaders on climate change.

We live on an island, if as we are currently heading we hit the temperature rises that are predicted by the end of the century then significant parts of the United Kingdom will be underwater. A collapse of the the ice shelves in the Antarctic that hold the ice in the middle, could mean Rises in sea level above 10 m worldwide.

I have been thoroughly frustrated by the conservative party’s record over the last decade in power. For those who read here regularly you have seen occasional articles on this subject in question. From scrapping the the solar subsidies ( apparently because they were too expensive) to continue to give subsidies to fossil fuel companies, for instance by only charging 5% VAT on gas for heating, amounting to over 10 billion pound a year ( I hope I the people see the contradiction here as well).

In my opinion, Boris Johnson’s cowardice yesterday evening in failing to turn up and have his parties environmental policies debated, simply says that he is not a suitable Prime Minister. It is unfortunate with the current standing of the Labour Party that the Conservative Party are a long way in the lead. 

I myself live in one of the safest conservative seats in the country. I have proved to be a bit of a political butterfly, unwilling to Settle on one particular party for the simple reason that no party is satisfactory when it comes to the environment ( the greens may indeed come closest but they have some odd views on other areas such as the monarchy, which relegates them in the majority of the country to protest vote).

Given the incredible importance of making dramatic improvements to to our carbon emissions over the course of the next Parliament or two,  Brexit is a distraction we’re dont need- when we should be concentrating on making sure that the environment we leave for our children and grandchildren is hospitable, we’re going to spend the majority of the next decade trying to sort out the mess caused by brexit.

I know some would argue therefore for that we should all vote conservative give them a huge majority and allow them to push through whatever they like like leaving us a clean slate to get to work on the environment. However there are still other problems with their position. They are extremely keen to do a trade deal with America, and while it is certainly important for our future prosperity as a country this should not come at any cost. Trump’s government are demanding extraordinary things when it comes to climate and environmental protections: we run the risk of being on the wrong side of History.

It was good to see those leaders who bothered to turn up having a serious debate about climate change and the environment. I certainly hope that some of their policies are able to be put in place whoever wins. My own feeling is that on this occasion both over the climate and Europe we cannot afford a conservative government. With a Coalition of some sort they will have to work together, as such it is worth looking at voting tactically to deny them the ability to go off on their own.

If you wish to have your say either way, and live in the uk the election is today.

See Animals Wild