“NOT ME”

It is now officially recognised throughout the developed world that we must do something about climate change.

Farmers in the Netherlands have been protesting because, as I understand it, they are blamed for most of the Dutch nitrous oxide emissions and they believe there is a threat to their livelihoods fearing there are plans to cut pig, beef and chicken production by half for environmental reasons. These threats are not made by the Dutch Government but by opposition parties anxious to be seem to do something about climate change; such is the sensitivity of people in the climate change debate that traffic was badly disrupted by the tractors (which in turn must have created excess emissions) that the farmers took to the street protesting about the possibility of their incomes being slashed in the name of climate change. Climate change is serious, as all farmers know and have experienced, but when it comes to doing something about it “not me” is the cry.

It is a feature of modern life that almost everyone agrees that climate change is a threat and should be mitigated in some way, but almost everyone thinks that the mitigation should be at the cost of somebody else. “Not me!” Blame China for climate change, blame India, blame the USA, blame Brazil, blame the government, blame industry, blame capitalism, blame socialism, blame the wealthy, blame the poor, blame whoever, but don’t blame me.

Wealthy people who fly around in private jets and lead lifestyles that create far more emissions than the average person in their community feel qualified to lecture us on the dangers of climate change. “Someone should do something about it, but not me” is the message, “not me”.

“Not me” has become the real response to climate change by humanity, and such a response is inadequate, as humanity will learn to its cost.

The Effect on Climate of coal, diesel and wood burning

I have written a great deal about my views that particulates are a significant contribution to the changes that our climate are experiencing than we understand, and my instincts seem to be borne out by research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.  If the research has drawn the correct conclusions, then particulates from wood burning, diesel engines and coal burning (which create pure carbon in the form of soot) have twice more impact on our climate than previously estimated. Continue reading

Fracking earthquakes and fracking underground water supplies

In terms of emissions and particulates produced by actual burning natural gas is the least polluting of all fossil fuels by a good distance. However, when it comes to environmental protection we must consider the effects of everything that is done to extract the fossil fuel and use it, not just the last step in the energy chain. If we use oil taken from Canadian oil tar sands then the overall effect of its pollution is very high – probably higher than coal mined from open cast pits. When we look at using natural gas extracted from shale rock we must, before we decide on its environmental effect, look at the first steps in the production of the gas, not just the last step, when it burns in our condensing boiler. Continue reading

Muddled Thinking: preventing wasting energy is just as important as clean renewable energy

I have devoted several essays on this web log to my views on what is a clean renewable source of energy and what is a dirty renewable energy source. A clean source is one that creates very few emissions and pollutants in its life cycle and a dirty source is one that creates many pollutants in its lifecycle and use. Continue reading

Have you seen the Butterflies of Snowdon?

It must have been in 1965 that my geography teacher and another school teacher took about thirty of us children to Barmouth in what was then called Merionethshire in North Wales. We went to study geography, with clip boards and strong shoes, out of Poplar into the Welsh countryside. As part of the fun we climbed up (or rather I should say strolled up) Wales’ second largest mountain, Cader Idris, and from there and from other parts of our journey around the county we saw Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon which in Welsh is called Yr Wyddfa and which means “tumulus”. Continue reading

Road Works in London – a new Olympic Event?

If you live in London and have to travel around the city to get to and from work or on business or to see friends you will have noticed that travel is becoming longer slower and less pleasant, whether you go by bus, car, underground or taxi, particularly if you live north of the river. The reason is that there has been a plethora of road and tube works which has seen many roads being closed, many tube lines being disrupted by engineering works and many roads having temporary traffic lights to divert traffic around road works. It is not very pleasant. Continue reading

The Aviation Stand-off

China has announced that its airlines will not be allowed to pay the EU tax on airline carbon emissions that applies to aircraft flying to or from the European Union without the specific approval of relevant government departments. The airlines of China will not be allowed to participate in the Emissions Savings Scheme without similar clearance. Continue reading