The Royal Society and fantastic and dangerous ideas of reducing climate change

There are many ways to slow down the rate of climate change by reducing emissions. We can have solar panels on every home, cover the shores of the seas with very large wind turbines, save energy use, prevent unnecessary energy use and even ration fossil fuel energy. These are the simple ways, simple but they come at a cost.

There are other ways which might reduce the rate of climate change which do not involve energy. Some of these ways are proven but little used. For example many buildings in Greece and Cyprus are painted white, including the roofs, which reflects back energy into the atmosphere, instead of absorbing it. Very few buildings in Southern California, which has a very similar climate to that of Greece, are either painted white or have white roofs. These buildings absorb energy as heat, making the use of more air conditioning than necessary. They warm the planet. Continue reading

Shipping and aviation emissions and why the climate change bill will not work

The Climate Change Bill will count count emissions from aviation and shipping; what does this mean in reality? Emissions from aviation count for around 5.5% of the United Kingdom’s overall carbon emissions. Emissions from shipping are around 4.5% of the total. Both figures are inevitable estimates because you have to allocate emissions fairly between the departure port and the destination, which may be in different countries. Continue reading

BP’s profits warm the ice in the Arctic

Yesterday day when BP announced its latest quarterly profits to have doubled to over ten billion US dollars based on current replacement costs. BP marketed itself as and environmentally friendly eco company -“Beyond Petroleum” at one time but these profits are all about petroleum and are very much money won by BP on the lottery that is the international oil market. It is a lottery, but companies like BP bought the ticket years ago and find their profits rise and fall according to an oil price that is partially related to demand and partially related to a market perception of future demand. Continue reading

The woodlands that are under threat and why this is important

England was once virtually covered in trees, mainly hardwood trees like the oak and the elm. There were once large forests, like that at Sherwood, where Robin Hood became famous, that were almost impenetrable. Now Sherwood is a sad series of truncated pieces of woodland. The mighty oaks were felled to build a navies, and to make way for the intrusion of humans who now inhabit cities and towns and farms where once were trees. There are still woodlands in England which provide us with biodiversity and the benefits of trees and forests, which I have written about quite a lot in recent posts. Continue reading

The way in which trees degrade heat

As a planet we are running out of trees. Many people regard trees as a sustainable resource, because having cut one down you can grow another tree, or several trees to replace it. This, of course is true, but having cut down trees and used them, even if you replace the old trees with new growth there is one thing that you lose when the old forests go, and that cannot be readily replace – the way in which trees degrade heat. Continue reading

The Noble Lords and Climate Change

The House of Lords is the United Kingdom’s upper chamber charged with the task of reviewing and amending legislation introduced in the House of Commons. It is an undemocratic body, largely appointed for the rest of their lives by the political parties. It arises out of the British taste for compromise and evolution of its institutions of which the House of Lords is integral. Continue reading

Getting less carbon ou of energy – decentralising energy in towns and cities

Some interesting work has been commissioned by Michael King of the Combined Heat & Power Association and Robert Shaw formerly of the Town & Country Planning Association but now at Faber Maunsell about how urban communities may be better supplied with energy for a lower carbon future. It is interesting because it shows how various renewable and low carbon energy devices can be used within the existing mix of communities that we have, ranging from large city centres to rural and semi-urban places. Continue reading