photo credit : jo
11th March 2009
Death by Hot Fizz
It started with a clink. As the ice cube hit the side of the soft drinks glass, I realised that what I was looking at was the Arctic Ocean in miniature. The two biggie problems Up North are Global Meltdown and Acid Ocean - caused by excess Carbon Dioxide being soaked up by the Ocean from the Atmosphere. Yes, the seas are becoming soda water. And the ice sheets and glaciers are dropping chunks of ice in it...

photo credit : jo
4th March 2009
The Unavoidable Economic Truth
Lord Drayson has discovered what many people have already found out : "It's difficult to get a man to understand something, if his salary depends on his not understanding it." The whole of the Capitalist Economy rests on the unsure foundation of the dirt cheap and readily available supply of Fossil Fuels. Economic Growth is founded almost entirely on this underpriced Energy. For product-inventing, profit-making, profit-taking corporate bodies, those who have imposed their systems of trade and exchange on the rest of us; they cannot be made to see the problem of Energy...

photo credit : jo
19th January 2009
The Most Depressing Day
It really has been a most depressing day, lacking in verve, colour or any sign of encouragement. Psychologists have declared this to be "Blue Monday", the most depressing day of the year...

photo credit : jo
8th January 2009
Snowball Earth, Baked Alaska
Sometimes, the daily newspapers, even the most well-respected ones, get their Science in a twist. The Daily Telegraph started early this year, with an awful and inaccurate summary of some startling results from the geology of ancient rocks. Despite several informative Press Releases, and several write-ups by the academic world, the Daily Telegraph correspondent got it muddled...

photo credit : jo
1st January 2009
In With The New
By far the largest mistake of the Media throughout 2008 was to place a magnifying glass on very small fragments of the Climate Change story. Global Warming ? Well, yes, this is the nub of the big problem, but by focussing on the complexities of temperature data, and giving contrarian and denialist views a platform, the Media have prevented real public debate on the observed data of Climate Change...

photo credit : jo
24th December 2008
Strictly In Lockstep
If anyone needed proof that Energy and Economy are tightly coupled, one would need look no further than the December 2008 Energy Trends from the BERR. The charts show that in the latter part of the year, as the Economy goes into freefall, Energy consumption dips away as well...

photo credit : NASA GISS
23rd December 2008
The Squelch Effect
No, it's true. Even to the most uninformed cursory observer of the records, 2008 has been a cooler year. In parts, that is...

photo credit : jo
21st December 2008
Too Painful To Watch
"They still do that ?" asked my osteopath, mid-crack. "Yes", I lamented, "We're still burning coal to make power, in remote plants, the most wasteful and dirty thing you can do." Coal, Nature's own once permanent and tidy sequestration of Carbon, being raked up and torched...

photo credit : jo
19th December 2008
Our New Green Hero
After the first flush of the cool promise of Obama Heaven, I bring you our new green hero : The Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State for the UK Government Department of Energy and Climate Change, or DECC. Apparently, Ed considers the outrageous slings and unfortunate arrows of criticism, (and I presume he means negative criticism), as part of his job description...

photo credit : jo
6th September 2008
Gordon Brown's Lightbulb Moment
While we're waiting with excitement and trepidation for the Renewables Consultation to close on 26th September, we have the Fuel Poverty Windfall Bonanza Saga to focus our minds on... If nothing can be hammered out between the Government and Big Energy pretty soon, Gordon Brown will be reduced to having a "lightbulb moment" : vague promises and petty cash for Energy Efficiency measures, Insulation, Insulation, Insulation and switching to compact fluorescents...

photo credit : jo
28th June 2008
Funding The New Generation (2)
For me, it is obvious that all the current plans to deal with Carbon will amount to mere tinkering, and not achieve real and lasting emissions reductions, unless the whole of life is de-Carbonised, including power generation, transport, agriculture, manufacture and construction...

photo credit : jo
27th June 2008
Funding The New Generation
The British Government is slowly cranking the starter motor handle on the policymaking machine, showing a genuine willingness to squeeze out a decent Renewable Energy plan. But there remains the Rather Large Question of our time : who's going to pay for the Government plans for new Renewable Energy ? ...

photo credit : jo
29th May 2008
Why Mark Lynas Is Still Wrong
Requiring the Energy and Fuel companies to buy Carbon Quotas through auction will add to inflationary pressure in the Economy, will not promote de-Carbonisation, and cannot guarantee global Carbon Emissions reductions...Mark Lynas has today published his support for the premises behind the Kyoto2 framework, as proposed by Oliver Tickell, in the New Statesman magazine "Why I was wrong about rationing". Sadly, although his thinking has moved on, he's travelling down the wrong road. Auctioning of Carbon Quotas to Energy and Fuel companies cannot, of themselves, be effective as a Carbon Emissions Reduction policy...

photo credit : erin designr
27th May 2008
Manifesto for the Little People
Feeling the Carbon Crunch yet ? Like the Protesting Anarchic Lorry Drivers of Great Britain, I bet you are. New Labour top-rankers would do well not to grimace or curl their lips back. The poor and desperate are always slightly disgusting, but they are fellow citizens, and voters as well. Now would be a good time to seize a huge advantage from the Conservative Party by advancing both the cause of the increasingly impoverished and the State of the Environment, in a tax reform so bold it would shine your boots before breakfast. Yes, New Labour can offer tax cuts and Climate Change policy, all rolled into one fat cigar, stealing back support at a most pertinent moment...

photo credit : jo
24th May 2008
Of Flying And Lying (Part 1)
It's rather grand upstairs at the RSA. All that weight of history, very old oil paintings on panels, a frieze on the wall, Jupitan in heaviness. We're waiting for the start of the debate. Late, already. I glance at the free copy of the Evening Standard newspaper with it's frontpage headline "PETROL CRISIS ? YES, MINISTER"...

photo credit : Andrew Boswell, Biofuelwatch
22nd May 2008
Kelly Don't Get Carbon
I've just come back home from the Evening Standard's London Influentials Debate "DOES LONDON NEED A BIGGER HEATHROW ?" I'm in need of a stiff drink, in fact, a very hot cup of tea...

photo credit :
22nd May 2008
The War For Oil
The Metro newspaper, delivered for free to commuters in London carried this astonishing news report today : "Burma rejects US aid offer over fears for oil : Burma has shunned a proposal for US ships to deliver aid for its cyclone survivors over fears America may steal oil reserves. The country's ruling junta claims the offer 'comes with strings attached' that are 'not acceptable' to Burmese people, according to reports..."

photo credit : jo
22nd May 2008
The USA Versus OPEC
This is 2008, International Polar Year. But if you thought all those scientific trips to the Arctic were purely about the Environment, think again. According to the American publication Foreign Affairs, the melting ice on the Arctic Ocean is noted with glee by Big Energy, who view the seabed Up North as prime prospecting territory...

photo credit : jo
21st May 2008
Carbon Chaos : Economic Stagnation
I stopped reading the Financial Times before I was 21, sick to the core with its completely falsifiable theories on the operation of Economy and Trade, continually stunned by the misinterpretation of natural resource exploitation as a corporate right, and the mantra that cheap labour was good. I started to read the Financial Times again in 2003, to try to follow the emerging markets in Renewable Energy. There are still times when I put the pink pages down in disgust. Yet there are days when my visceral relationship with this newspaper is more jubliant...

photo credit : jo
9th May 2008
Congested Thinking
Here is the problem : the growth of the British Economy is based on five holy pillars : transport, property, finance, engineering and energy. And each one of these pillars is crumbling and under threat from rising and violent storm surge. The property bubble has almost certainly burst as people are starting to realise that debt is for life and not just for First-Time-Buys...Let's focus on transport, shall we ? More to the point : cars. Well, in order to stimulate the Economy, the selling of cars is so well encouraged, you'd think there was a law against walking or taking the bus...But what about the implications of more and more cars on the roads ? It impacts negatively on the functioning of the Economy as a whole. And what about the targets on congestion ? ...

photo credit : jo
8th May 2008
Wendy Wot Won It
My, my, Wendy Alexander is having fun at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood just now. Wendy's regular implosional-explosional style at First Minister's Questions has been burning a fire with increasingly higher ire as time goes by. This week she ratcheted up the stakes by seeming to join the call from the ruling Scottish National Party for an early Referendum on Scottish Independence. When asked about a vote, she said in broad daylight on a public television broadcast : "Bring it on."...

photo credit : James Hansen, NASA GISS
25th April 2008
Climate Smash & Climate Squish
In the last few minutes I have heard a handbell being rung outside in the street. A large white open-backed van has thrumbled and purred past, chock-full of large metal equipment, wiring and furniture, and the passenger was shaking his hand up and down to clang and clang...It's not "Bring out your dead !", it's "Bring out your dead white goods !" as this is the Big Trash service of the Local Authority... It's suddenly fashionable once more to be interested in rocks and things that died many years ago. Astonishing facts, figures and theoretical projections have been presented, and although journalists have not always understood the implications of what is being said, they have understood the general tone...

photo credit : jo
24th April 2008
Take It From Me
You should listen to the experts. If all decisions made by our governments were made on the sole basis of public debate, this country would collapse. Honest. I don't claim to be an expert on Climate Change. I'm not a Climate Scientist. Although I cannot spell out the whole story, I do want you to take it from me : Climate Change is real, it's happening now, and mankind's activities are the largest factor in causing it...

photo credit : jo
23rd April 2008
Putting It In Context
Intelligent young people fail to acknowledge risks because of relativism while a Government Minister gets called a "murderer" to his face...I noticed that as the young, professional, well-paid, well-trained people got off the train, they left their food and drink rubbish on the table instead of putting it in the waste bins. That, my friends, is the context in which we are all living. A world of waste and relative values...

photo credit : Hadley Centre, UK Meteological Office
17th April 2008
Catatonis Petrificatum : Paralysing Fear
Sir Nicholas Stern's opinions as reported today in the British and Australian Press : The Financial Times, The Independent and others could genuinely shock you rigid if you understood their implications. Is it right for the Media to print this kind of disastrous truth ? Is it right to alarm people with news of catastrophe ? Should we be alarmed by the Press ? Since by all reasonable accounts we're staring into the jaws of a massive crisis monster, yes, I think we should be allowed to read the facts and feel the fear. Self-preservation is only possible when you have awareness of your environment. Look at the Environment now, and think through the implied risks...

photo credit : pixel boy
16th April 2008
Down Poole Harbour Way
A report on rising sea levels has been presented today at the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, showing that improved models have been able to accurately mimic sea level rises that have been reliably observed by tide gauges over the last 300 years...

photo credit : jo (NASA data)
15th April 2008
Global Warming Carries On
Today, Oisin from Climate Change News Digest pointed me in the direction of the NASA data for all the years 1880 to the present... So, Global Warming did not stop in 1998, then. So, why is Gordon Brown following the money crisis, when the Climate Change is so critical ? Why does he think that any intervention can keep the Economy growing, given the global problems with food, Climate and Energy ? And why does he think that OPEC can increase oil production, when they have most likely hit peak production ? ...

photo credit : jo
10th April 2008
Finding A Balance
Today is the second time I have started to read James Hansen's report "Target Atmospheric CO2 : Where Should Humanity Aim ?" From the Abstract alone, I can tell that this is report is going to be very hard for some people to comprehend...

photo credit : jo
8th April 2008
Let Them Eat Carbon
Let them eat Carbon. After all, that's all they'll be able to afford after Carbon Pricing takes hold, whether from Carbon Trading or straight Carbon Taxation...

photo credit : jo
8th April 2008
The Great American Pipedream
How Carbon Pricing Will Deepen Social Inequality And Harm National Security : The Great American Dream - a well-paid job and a house in the suburbs and a nice, big throaty automobile - is rapidly becoming unattainable by even professional middle class (medium salaried) people. It's all going up in smoke - puffed away by some rich men's pipes. Big Energy wants to retain control of profitmaking enterprises - and for that they're prepared to sacrifice the American Dream by insisting on setting a Price for Carbon - a strategy that will not only burn the Economy - but also threaten Social breakdown...

photo credit : jo
7th April 2008
Let the Poor Pay for Climate Change
In a most extraordinary turn of events, John Hutton, the UK's Minister of State for Business, has insisted that there should be no turning back from a change in the tax regulations, to wipe out a zero-tax income band at the bottom of the range, likely to impact negatively on the earnings of the poorest of Society. It is a most callous regulatory change, given that John Hutton sits on top of a stack of briefs that he knows will deliver outcomes that make the poor pay for Climate Change...

photo credit : jo
26th March 2008
Energy Banquet : Glittering Prize
While Britain's Business Secretary, John Hutton, declares a Nuclear Power new-build bonanza, and "Nuclear Nicolas" Sarkozy of France gets a fat pact handshake from Gordon Brown at a glittering banquet, the reality for Energy in Britain is that new Nuclear will mean a skills shortage for Renewable Energy technologies, and massive delays in delivering new electricity supplies to top up the National Grid...

photo credit : jo
7th March 2008
Carbon Underground : Stealth Tax
The British Government are finding it hard to come out and say it. But they can't go on holding their tongues forever. We need effective Carbon Control legislation : rules and regulations are the only way to seriously bite into Climate Change. It's no good relying on hide-and-seek rearguard coverage protection, boys (and the overwhelming majority of you are boys), you have to start pushing forward and lead from the front...

photo credit : jo
1st February 2008
CCS : Dropping The Fig Leaf
In the beginning was a grand engineering dream. We could carry on burning coal if we could safely and cheaply pump the waste gas into a deep dark hole in the ground, never to return. Big Energy companies paid lots of researchers to tell them it could be done, and done cost-effectively. Governments overcame their suspicions of manipulation. Engineers overcame their incredulity at such a stupid idea...

photo credit : coconino
15th January 2008
CCS Is Not An Energy Policy
Carbon Capture and Storage can never be a Big Hitter in the efforts to mitigate Climate Change. It's always going to remain costly relative to other technologies and geoengineering projects and it poses a significant risk of failure. It may end up as a niche pursuit. It might not be possible to scale it up. It looks like it could be yet another Big White Elephant - a lemon - a money pit...

photo credit : jo
8th January 2008
Greening Houses : Slashing Domestic Emissions in a Decade of Recession
Despite the national obsession with the Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Electricity Generation, it only constitutes a fifth of the problem. How do you solve a problem like Heat ? Direct household Greenhouse Gas Emissions from space and water heating and cooling are roughly a third of the UK total, roughly neck and neck with Transport emissions...

photo credit : jo
7th January 2008
Nuclear Bung : Nuclear Bungle
The tiny little story is finally out and proud : the little town of Drigg in Cumbria will accept all forms of nasty Nuclear Waste in return for a bung of humungous proportions - a regular tidbit of public funding. So, when will that allowance be terminated ? At the average half-life of the radionucleides ? Like, ten thousand years or something ?...

photo credit : jo
6th January 2008
Dead End UK : Killing Time instead of Cracking Carbon
Illuminating conversation at a New Year's party this week : I found out that the British Government is killing time over Climate Change, by chasing dead-end technologies. Instead of concentrating on delivering significant Carbon cuts, the United Kingdom is following up low-value, low-performance options because they can be made attractive to private investment...

photo credit : Will Rose
12th December 2007
Who's Dangerous ?
This week, angry protesters have threatened to close down the whole UK economy by blockading energy supplies. And where's the official response ? Where are the vanloads of police with dogs and legal warrants to stop these people ? These anarchists did this in 2000, and nobody stopped them then, either. Aren't these people dangerous ?...

photo credit : jo
11th November 2007
Lending Interest
Having had the benefit of an Evangelical Christian upbringing, I have always been aware that the Jewish Scriptures contain an injunction against lending money for profit...

photo credit : jo
9th November 2007
Carbon Intervention
The UK Government's draft Climate Change Bill proposes a 60% cut in national net Carbon Dioxide emissions by the year 2050. The big question is : how are we going to do that... ?

photo credit : jo
30th September 2007
Whose Economy ?
By talking about energy efficiency and new technology, the President of the United States is denying the science - that we must not merely have better machines : actually we must run less of them...

photo credit : jo
26th September 2007
Blindingly Obvious
The Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth has assured us that the top dogs are on the case and fixing Climate Change : but their knowledge of the science is poor and they are still treating this like a policy issue instead of a crisis...

photo credit : jo
23rd September 2007
Writing on the Wall
The signs and wonders that the Biosphere is presenting to us this year are larger than life clues. They are not merely vague hints, fuzzy logic or non-specific diffuse threats. They are proverbial "writing on the wall"...

photo credit : jo
1st July 2007
Recipes for Change
Here at the Climate Kitchen, there are many recipes for Global Change. We invite you to read, choose a recipe style and contribute. Just e-mail us : change dot college at google mail dot com...

The College of Global Change was formed to provide a platform for thinkers and writers on Energy, Environmental and Economic Change. The Change College aims to encourage information and opinion exchange in the science, policy and education communities, and to offer commentary to the media about Global Change news. The College hopes to promote sound systems thinking for policymakers at all levels of government, and practical action for social structures and corporate organisations. The Change College is a private, non-partisan, non-profit network and is free to join. The online resources are offered at no charge to readers, and contributors are not paid. Contact us by e-mail at change dot college at google mail dot com.