Why fuel prices are getting higher

If you live in the United Kingdom you will almost certainly be driving less in the near future because it will cost you more to drive than ever before. Petrol prices are rising and will soon be close to £1.20 a litre and there are several reasons for this. Continue reading

Emission reduction targets in the USA and UK

In the United States just before Thanksgiving President Obama set a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17% (from 2005 levels) by 2020. It is a very easy target. If you compare it on a like for like basis with the United Kingdom’s target of 20% cuts from 1999 levels it translates to about 3% cuts. However, while Mr Obama’s target will be easily achieved and no doubt improved upon, the United Kingdom’s target is unlikely to be met. Continue reading

Willie Walsh’s airline emissions

When an important member of a highly polluting industry suggests that the industry should be taxed on its carbon emissions it is not usually because that there has been a conversion, similar to that on the road to Damascus. It is usually about damage limitation or spin. Continue reading

Do not breathe too deeply in the city

I was brought up in Poplar, which is in the East End of London and is now part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. My school was separated from a main road by a very narrow pavement. The road was dirty and dusty because it carried mainly lorries and commercial vehicles going to and from London’s docks, around the Isle of Dogs and further east at Tilbury. The noise from the traffic was such that being taught in some rooms was a trying experience and it was disturbing, mildly so, when we took examinations, but the traffic dirt was the worst problem. Tower Hamlets has not changed much, in terms of traffic since then; I suppose that there is now more traffic but the traffic is less polluting with higher emission standards and catalytic converters. Continue reading

The environmental policies of the US Presidential candidates

The election of the President of the United States of America is the most important event that will take place this year. The United States is the world’s most powerful and influential country. Its leader, subject to the checks and balances of the United States Constitution provides leadership. Although the President cannot put all of his ideas into law, he (or she) will be able to direct policy which will not only affect Americans but also affect the whole world. Continue reading

Fighting nature- what will happen when the fossil fuel and uranium runs out?

What will we do when the fossil fuel runs out? We seem to have no strategy for this. Obviously energy is the essential enabler for the way we now live. It provides heat and power for ourselves and our work, our homes our industries. Can anyone working in an office today imagine doing so without the electricity to power their computer or without what we have become used to as sufficient heating. Who now washes in cold water? Continue reading

The greenhouse gas produced by meat and cattle

Those of us in the developed world eat too much meat and eating less meat is good for you and good for the climate, according to Dr Rajendra Pachauri. Dr Pachauri is the person who brought the concept of sustainability into common vocabulary and he now chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to United Nations calculations, meat production accounts for 18% of our greenhouse gas emissions. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation produce this estimate by accounting for every stage of meat production and they accordingly rate meat production as producing more greenhouse gas than transport. Continue reading

Biofuels and solar energy decisions that are hard to understand

Politicians are always talking about “hard decisions”. Mr Blair and Mr Brown criticised their political opponents for what they claimed was an inability to take “hard” decisions. By “hard” decisions they usually meant “unpopular” decisions, sometimes those where innocent people in the world outside the United Kingdom would lose their lives.

  Continue reading

How high energy prices will change business and Google’s electricty bill

High energy prices will change the way we do business. It is inevitable. Although there has been much excitement about the oil price dropping by 21% in the past 45 days, the price is still 60% higher than it was 365 days ago and for business that means higher energy costs that directly relate to the prices that businesses charge for their goods and services. 

Business knows that particularly in recession with governments all over the world determined to avoid inflation in order to survive they have to price their goods and services at levels that enable consumers to purchase them in a recession. If they do not do this the merry go round stops and businesses fail.

What measures will business take in the face of these events which can cripple them if they do not handle them appropriately? Continue reading

What behaviour is best for the enviroment; don’t be busy fool

You can spend a lot of time being a busy fool, speculating about the number of angels that can dance on a pin head, or on the point of a needle, and you can waste a lot of thermal printing toner as well a much ink and bandwidth in trying to formulate rules of environmentally correct behaviour. Doing this will make you miss the big picture.

In the papers this week I read about environmental holidays, and about such tortuous decisions as to whether it is better to use your dish washing machine or wash the dishes by hand, or whether you should use returnable milk bottles or decomposable cardboard milk cartons. The answer is… Continue reading