Climate Change News

I feel like I grumble a lot about some of the positive things that are going on with fighting climate change.  I suppose my frustration comes from the fact that I see little bits of progress, but no one’s really willing to go out on a limb and make the big commitment, to say “Actually, this is REALLY important so lets make some sacrifices and do what we have to do to really tackle it”.

So,two little bits of climate change news which have struck me in the last few days.  But first, a revelation.

Fossil Fuels

You know, it never occurred to me that the term “fossil fuels” contained the word “fossil” and that this is hugely significant.  Our fuels are the ancient remains of dead trees and plants.  All that carbon was once living matter.  And what gives fossil fuels their potency is that this is carbon that has accumulated over millions of years.

And we’re releasing all that carbon by burning it.  Millions of years worth of carbon taken out of the air, suddenly being put back into the air in a (relatively) VERY short space of time.

And it will take millions of years to sink it all back into the ground again.

I’ll let you make up your own mind whether this is a good idea or not.

I don’t know why I’ve not tied these things together before, but it reinforces in my mind lots of things about our energy sources.

Energy Price Fears

This article‘s headline and opening paragraph caught my attention because the answer seems to simple.  Energy prices rise?  Well invest in energy efficiency!  I don’t understand why people don’t get this.

We import gas and oil, both of which will, eventually, run out, or become difficult to get hold of.  Our supply of these things is by no means guaranteed, so if we wish to sustain any sort of economy, we must invest in becoming a self-sustaining nation.  If we reduce consumption now we will be able to pay more per-energy unit to fund investment in sustainable solutions.  If we have growing sustainable energy production then we both fight climate change and become more energy-secure. It’s win-win, if not win-win-win.   So why aren’t we getting on a doing it?

The Copenhagen Communiqué

When I first read the Copenhagen Communiqué I was incensed at the seeming hypocrisy of it.  More than 500 big companies, many multi-nationals, signing a request for the UN to put in place a climate change framework.  Companies including BAA, BA, Air France, EasyJet, BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

I mean, seriously?

I can see what they’re trying to do.  They’re saying “we’ve got the money and power to make big change, but we’ll only do it if the UN make conditions favourable for us to do it” (at least, that’s my reading of it).

I like the Communiqué’s holistic approach: developing and developed countries; adaptation frameworks for the poorest countries; halting deforestation.  But it lacks something!

Yes…it lacks any sort of commitment from the companies themselves.  It looks, to me, too much like these companies are putting the onus on the governments and the developing countries without wanting to do much themselves.  They want conditions that make it easy for them to survive.

Of course I agree with the call for “an ambitions, robust and equitable global deal on climate change”, but it’s just something else that’s not enough…the big companies have to do their bit too and I don’t see that happening.  If they think it’s so important, if they think it’s needed for the future why aren’t they leading the way?  What right do they have to be lobbying the UN if their own house isn’t in, or getting in, order?  And what are they going to when the UN turn around and ask for their help?

Yes, I feel like a grumble guts.  I like seeing progress on climate change, but I want MORE.  More from our governments, more from the UN, more from big businesses, more from developed and developing countries, more aid, more targets, more investment.

I don’t see a future without it.


There’s one other little thing I wanted to mention on this topic.

We were down in Devon lately and we visited a working water mill that powered tools used in a blacksmiths (Finch Foundry, if you’re wondering).

It was incredible when the demonstrator pulled a leaver, the water was released, the wheel turned and this huge machinery came to life.

We’ll never get all of our power from water, but seeing this simple, free, sustainable, green form of energy in use just got me thinking about how microgeneration could contribute.  Perhaps it would do us all some good if we knew exactly where our energy came from!