Friday, 25 September 2009

More action on climate change from councils - give them power and responsibility

Very happy to support this Friends of the Earth campaign to get the Government to give councils the power and responsibility to do more about climate change. I sent off their suggested email to John Denham MP, the current Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

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The UK is committed to achieving CO2 emissions reductions of 34% by 2020. To do so will require radical action by local authorities in their areas.

I support the Government's view that local authorities should have a greater role in tackling climate change.

But I believe that this greater role means that all local authorities should have more responsibility for tackling climate change in their area. At the moment, only a few local authorities are taking real action, and most local authorities are doing very little.

The Government must set the bottom line for councils. There must be a mechanism ensuring a minimum standard of action on climate change for every local authority - so each has short term targets, or local carbon budgets, to reduce the emissions in its area in line with the latest science.

Each council should produce a plan of how to make the emissions cuts, and they should not be achieved through offsetting - either trading between councils and businesses, or buying international carbon credits.

Not acting can no longer be an option for any council if we are to meet the UK's climate targets and avoid dangerous climate change.

Local authorities need more support from national government as well. I support the following proposals:

- A requirement for all local authorities to prepare a plan setting out how they will reduce the carbon emissions in their local area (in line with the Climate Change Act targets and carbon budgets)

- A new regional technical advice body on Climate Change to help provide the information-base for action on climate change at local level.

- Giving councils the flexibilty to use innovative mechanisms for positive climate solutions.

- A strong role for local authorities in coordinating funding streams e.g. more jurisdiction in working with energy suppliers, and for energy suppliers to supply data to local authorities on energy use.

- More community engagement in developing local climate solutions The best councils moving ahead isn't enough. We don't have time for partial measures. According to the IPCC, world emissions have to peak by 2015 to give any chance of avoiding a 2 degree temperature rise. All the latest science suggests even this may be too optimistic.

This is a shared responsibility. All local authorities need to act, not just the minority that are currently seriously prioritising the issue.

21 comments:

  1. 34% by 2020! Not only do i not believe they or we can do it, i don't believe they or we have a clue how to do it. As far as i've heard our emissions are still going up as we speak. The only thing that has made them look like they're coming down at all has been the dash to gas on one hand and outsourcing vast quantities of our consumption to China and other developing economies and then blaming them for their increased emissions on the other.

    It's all bullshit. They're in a panic.

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  2. When you review the scientific papers out there you find that nothing has done more to "GREEN" the planet over the past few decades than elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 together with moderate sun-driven warming of the planet. If you should doubt this assertion, simply Google "Biological Effects of Carbon Dioxide Enrichment" and "Solar Inertial Motion (SIM) model of global warming". Then review the basic documents and a sampling of the scientific bibliographic references. One has to ask the question, "Why have environmental groups and our government turned this obvious gift of nature on its head and buried us in propaganda designed to convince us of just the opposite reality?" As a consequence, I have stopped all donations to environmental organizations and to their favored political party. I highly encourage you to do the same. All my financial donations now stay within 25 miles of my home, where I can keep an eye on their intended use.

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  3. This single issue of climate change has had a fog of confusion cast over it recently, as it has risen up the political agenda.

    So to try and clarify what you are saying jjaregui, three simple questions.

    Firstly, you seem to think that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing, yes?

    Secondly, do you think that this is as a result of human activities?

    Thirdly, do you think that increasing CO2 will cause an increase in mean temperature globally?

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  4. jjauregui - the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reviewed all the science and looked at all the effects, positive and negative, that we know of, in a range of future scenarios. They conclude the we are in very serious trouble and heading for far worse trouble very rapidly!

    I find it astounding that you have not weighed any positives these against the tremendous negatives - patterns of more: floods in some places, droughts in others, forest fires, dust storms, heat waves, rapid coastal erosion....Why have you considered only a tiny bit of the whole picture??

    You appear to think there is some sort of conspiracy to hide the wondrous bounty (!!) that climatic change will, in your view, bring - do you also believe that we've never walked on the Moon and that JFK was killed by aliens from Mars??
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    In response to the first anonymous comment here I'd say that in my work I'm looking at the figures all the time. Tough carbon reduction targets can be met using fairly straightforward existing technologies, behaviour change and social organisation [accounts to demonstrate this are easily produced] - but currently the individual and political will for the required action is seriously lacking. You are right in your assertion that UK emissions in total are still rising, if you take into account both the direct and indirect sources - maybe will will be stupid enough to leave serious action to the rapidly approaching point of no return...

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  5. Have to agree with anon above.

    The IPCC UN stuff is trotted out as if it means something. Personally I wouldn't trust the UN as far as I can throw them. Was the politbeuaro propoganda machine full of truth or mass propoganda? Were Hitler's eugenic "scientists" right? Is the EU a fountain of justice or a centralised powerbase with it's own agenda?

    Every single centralised power structure has always ended in corruption and lies, as demonstrated throughout history, but apparently now we have angels in high office in government and the UN with only our best interests at heart!

    Even recently we went to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians because the BBC said there were WMDs - low and behold it was bollocks....bollocks sold to the public through the threat of violence (suicide bombers, nukes etc). Now we are being coerced into agreement once again through the threat of violence (the end of the world as we know it) into accepting a lower standard of living which, funnily enough, solves the problem of diminishing oil resources, allows state intrusion on a vast scale, and prepares us for the drop in world status (and therefore resource consumption) a resurgent India and China will surely impose on us, while giving us good reason to sanction/tariff/accuse economies wishing to expand.

    To do this, they need only to control the media (already done - free hits on climate change, no debate allowed, no dissent in print) and recruit an army of scientists (as effective guarantors of reality for the rest of us) to assist, by diverting public wealth and status in return for compliant behaviour. It's so subtle that many of the greenwashed don't even realise it, but as the threat of eternal damnation encouraged a wealthy lifestyle for the clergy, the threat of imminent destruction will create a similar niche for the compliant climate scientist.

    Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, it's a tag I'm proud to wear. Hitler's dissenters were called the same, as were those who opposed soviet plans for European domination.

    It's a shame that those who claim to be anything such actually work for the establishment now, and no end of goaties and hemp clothing will disguise it for too long.

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  6. I see, so you gather all the evidence from hundreds of scientists working in thousands of institutions all over the globe and facts that are established mean nothing!!

    In the last 100 yrs human population is up x4 (x13 in cities), industrial output is up x40, energy use is up x13 (including coal up x7), cattle population is up x4, and carbon dooxide emission up x17!! Yet you think all this is not impacting our climate system !?!?

    Perhaps you'd like to offer an alternative explanation for the patterns of increased frquency and intensity of flooding, droughts, forest fires, dust storms, heat waves...??

    Dont walk too far in a straight line - you may walk of the edge of the flat Earth you live on!!

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  7. Thank-you for your agreement 3rd Anon, but my point was that we in the West will have to change, whether we like it or not - as you clearly do not. Tough!

    We are getting rubbish leadership from those at the top because they are frightened of the backlash from those, like yourself, who are in denial about reality.

    I don't believe that most Westerners are prepared for the massive changes that we will have to make over the next decades, as harsh reality dawns after our little fantasy dreamworld of mass consumption and waste.

    It's going to be one hell of a hangover!

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  8. I agree we will have to change, but let's be honest and explain it has nothing to do with "The day after tomorrow" and everything to do with not being located on a substantial supply of oil.

    Glen - What about Global cooling - what happened there? That was the consensus in the 70's, no? Were scientists then walking over a flat earth, only to find the spherical one they inhabit today?

    Are there scientists who disagree with the UN, or are they non-existant? Do they get any funding?

    All the increases you describe are nothing to do with the UK. Our population hasn't expanded at this rate, and even our relative consumption is tiny compared to world output.

    Surely your beef isn't with people here who choose not to recycle, drive a car and refuse to peel their potato peelings, but with the irresponsible attitudes of men in developing countries who refuse to use contraception, and China and India's attempts to modernise.

    The population boom is nothing to do with us in the west, so we shouldn't feel guilt for things we haven't done. If the rest of the world want to sh4g their way to starvation that's fine, we just need to ensure our resources are taken care of.

    So, while Mr Mohamed in Somalia is adding as many hungry mouths to the world as his testicles will allow, I think it's pointless to make a case for us all to live on rations.

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  9. 'All the increases you describe are nothing to do with the UK.'

    Anon (above) - dont you realise that 150/200 yrs ago the UK lead the world in industrialising and that our population, coal and other energy use boomed?? If you add up all the cumulative carbon emissions since then you find that the UK is responsible for more than any other country!

    I could take issue with you on every single point you raise - but your mind seems to be fixed on a mix of total denial of the facts and yet blaming others depending on the time of day!

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  10. "If the rest of the world want to sh4g their way to starvation that's fine, we just need to ensure our resources are taken care of."

    This really is a piece of hilarity though. Anono, are you still living in the world where we can just send another gunboat to pacify the natives?

    Europeans are not God's gift to the world you know. The last few centuries our rulers have acted more like God's curse. Now we're on the downwards path and Chindia is coming up. We'll be lucky if they don't fry our balls for breakfast!

    I've got news for you. Europe is the world's largest importer of goods, so if we hack the rest of the world off too bad, and refuse to share stuff out so it's fair, we're gonna be screwed. They don't owe us a living.

    The average Brit probably consumes about 10 or 15 times what an average Chinese or an Indian does, so start learning to economise now.

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  11. Just like to pick up on the point made in the excellent comment above that the 'average Brit probably consumes about 10 or 15 times what an average Chinese or an Indian does' with a few numbers from a new Open Univ course I'm a tutor on. The average UK individual carbon footprint is: 2.5 times the world average; 2.6 times the Chinese average; 8 times the Indian average; 33 times the Sudanese average; and 151 times the Ugandan average. Note that these figures are an underestimate of the differences because they are based on direct carbon only!! Puts things in a bit of perspective doesn't it!!

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  12. - Yes, but their consumption is increasing, and that is what all your predictions are based on.

    The point is that we clearly have a battle for resources, and if you think we are all going to share, you are mistaken.

    That's a great reason for getting off the oil habit - so in a way I support the idea of self-sufficiency, just in a much more cynical way. Also, if we can demonise those who use oil, you can stop the rest of the world expanding to our standard, and keep them churning out trainers and TVs for us.

    You're all part of the plan, guys!

    Anon - Talk of gunboats and natives clearly shows a mis-interpretation of history. Just as the Romans took a brutal, stupid and stoneage British Isles forward with their technology, law and a generally much further advanced society, we also helped bring people kicking and screaming into the modern world. It's funny how those who demonise past British rule from abroad seem not to reject the medicine, TVs and technology.

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  13. '... but their consumption is increasing, and that is what all your predictions are based on...'

    Increasing consumption in some cases from a very low base and in others not so low but still not even close to the developed world levels. The predictions are not based purely on the increasing consumption in developing countries they are based all totals from across the globe -and these will remain far higher per person in the rich, developed countries (that's us!) for many decades to come!! You also dont seem to realise that the climate change we have have seen and will see in the coming decades is caused by carbon emissions already emitted in the past - there is a time lag in the carbon cycle...

    What we need to do is properly enact the policy of contraction and covergence, so that we all move closer and closer to the same level of emissions per person across the globe.

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  14. Climate change has happened for millenia.

    I'd rather keep with a higher emission, if that means I can enjoy a better standard of living than average. If we all consume the same resources we are heading towards communism.

    You have got to be joking if you think I have a debt to pay for what my ancestors did. If this is the case with morality, you are opening a very large can of worms. if the GW thing is true, then you can't judge someone living today on the actions of his ancestors, especially if they had no idea the harm they were causing, and with the added fact that our CURRENT generation identified the problem and alerted the world to it.

    The developing world, on the other hand, were fully aware of the problem, and continued to overpopulate and increase rate of consumption.

    I don't believe in ancestral guilt - people can't be held responsible based on race, which is what this logic is suggesting.

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  15. The very large scale and rapid rate of climate change is the issue, not the fatc that the climate is changing as it always has.

    Go look at the IPCC reports and the Stern report and you will see that our standard of living is massively threatened by climate change!!

    What is all this rubbish you are talking about ancestors - YOU enjoy the benefits of an urban, industrialised, rich country that has been built up, consuming much more then your fair share of resources, day in day out. You should know by now, because of the evidence, the harm this rate of consumption is leaving for future generations - so I ask you what you are willing to do about it!! This generation has yet to take any significant action to solve or reduce the problem!!

    The people in the developing world are very unlikely to have as much information and education about the causes and effects of climate change as you and I - their information and education systems are not like ours to say the least! The devloped world is not responsible for high levels of consumption or the current world economic model - we in the rich and powerful industrialised nations are in control of that!

    What level of responsibility for consuming at several times the sustainable level are you prepared to admit - both personally and for our society?? Are you prepared to face the facts?

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  16. The reason why we consume more resources is because simply, other countries have nothing to offer us but resources, whereas we have intellectual capital and technology to export - we get more resources, and in return they get medicine, culture, democracy and so on.

    This european guilt thing doesn't work with me, you don't criticise a team top of the premiership because they upset those in the 3rd division - it's their rightful position, as is ours in the "world league"! Things like democracy, social justice, lack of despotism and lack of antiquated theological rule means we are light years ahead, and the only way the others can get hands on our vastly superior achievements is to rip out their resources and give them to us! So we end up consuming more.

    I am willing to:

    - Use the brown bin
    - Walk short distances
    - Oppose the CAP

    I am not willing to:

    - Equalise my standard of living with primitive societies, which I presume is the green goal.
    - Take the blame for a world problem, just like we take the blame for lots of other things which everyone is guilty of.
    - Hand over descision making to idiots in local councils.

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  17. Anon - I love your line ...'other countries have nothing to offer us but resources...' - absolutlely priceless! You have a, well, lets say unique theory on why rich countries overconsume so much. I suggest you make your views as widely known as possible - you're an excellent advert for why we need to take green action!!

    Resources are just the basis of all economic activity that's all! What happens if we cant get these resources and have not developed sustainable resources of our own (also the best way to fight climate change by the way!)? Are you opposed to the UK building up its own food and energy security??

    You are very much an advocate of imperialism and Empire. Your general attitude and use of terms like 'primitive societies' is ignorant and racist. The idea that we in the rich world are somehow better is pretty laughable. It not like we have exploited and continue to exploit the poor countries, making damn sure we keep them poor is it?? We haven't got an economic and military lock upon them at all have we? We dont have a history of violent oppression against poor countries at all do we??

    No-one is suggesting that standards of living are equalised by the way - just cutting carbon emissions to the same per person level. Living standards cannot remain dependent on carbon emissions - we will all be better off if we kick this habit.

    I take it that you feel you could do a better job running the council from what you say - so go on and take some responsibility! Put yourself forward and see if you can get elected!

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  18. Why are we able to exploit them Glen? You yourself are a total racist, as are all you liberal white guiltists!

    If they had the power and technology to exploit US they blo0dy well would do, and have done in the past. Human nature is such. We have the fortune of being able to be the exploiter, is just reward for the way we run our society. You and others believe we white British are a nasty, exploitative bunch and if it wasn't for us the world would be all smiles and holding hands under a rainbow. If we weren't assertive in the international arena, guess what we'd be doing Glen? Making trainers.

    Im not arguing that exploitation is good - but it's part of life. I exploit my support team to make me more money, you exploit new technology to scientific endevour. It doesnt have to mean, and currently doesn't mean a western emporor with a whip. The Chineese exploit cheap labour as do the Indians, otherwise they have no market to make money from.

    Also, we could be a hell of a lot more imperial, couldn't we? We were the first major power to abolish slavery for one - a fact conveniantly forgotton by those spineless enough to see only fault in ones own society.

    Imperialist - No! Liberal - Yes! All I am saying is we need to defend our way of life, and ensure we don't get left with nothing, because we have no resources of our own. Trade is the best way to bring people together.

    "primitive societies" - Glen, open your eyes mate! You're supposed to be a scientist! You and I know that racism means prejudice based on ones race. I in no way believe this is linked to race. Where above did I mention race? You are like the majority of modern left wingers - you hear any criticism of anything which isn't white middle class and call it racist - you have devalued the term so much the BNP are getting popular, much to my own dispair, because you have made the term useless through overuse!

    Primitive societies are societies that, for example, are based on theological rule and feature beatings, beheadings, hangings etc. They subjugate women as property. They are rife with corruption, and treat advancement with suspiscion.

    I know it's hard to use these words these days, but there is no way I will ever see a society which advocates middle-age punishments and stone age patriacy with anything but "primitive", and this has everything to do with culture and nothing to do with race.

    Im sorry to tangent so much Glen, but my mission is to expose the politics of the Green agenda, other than the science. I believe it's just outright failed socialism trying to make a new case to tell us all how to think, and live.

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  19. I have no desire to run the Council - I have a real job to do!

    I just like calling those that do to account. Most of them don't like it, because they don't like democracy, unless there is an election on. Then they are OK for a few years and can go on ignoring people who disagree with them.

    I am glad having a sensible discussion about the reasons behind the current world economic model brought forth the standard "racist" and "ignorant" line, for daring to suggest anything but "it's all our fault and we need to pay pennance!"

    It's a shame how naive the world is. I don't think we are "better", just more advanced, much, as I said before, as the Romans were more advanced than we were. What did we have to offer the Romans, Glen?

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  20. A Different Anonymous2 October 2009 at 16:42

    Ye gods, is this still going on!

    Sorry, no time to go into all the wild assertions being made here, but I caught a few phrases.

    Just to reassure Anono, I'm not a leftist, nor a liberal, nor a white guilter, nor a wannabe cave-dweller, and, far from being naive, I'm afraid that I pride myself in my cynicism as to the human condition.

    Thank goodness our negotiators in world forums don't take the culturally chauvinistic, high-handed, we-invented-everything attitude you appear to take, or we'd be in world war 10 by now. It's all very well taking the dog eat dog approach until you are the one being eaten. Personally I prefer the rule of law. Much more civilised.

    Britain is falling way behind countries like India and China in education, science and technology these days. We are also a tiddly lttle overcrowded island with very few resources. It is very much in our interests to get on with other nations. If we refuse to co-operate we will be the losers.

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  21. Yes, but we are tiny island with few resources who until recently controlled 1/4 of the globe, and still are very influential! I believe this is because we have got something right, and I'm proud of it, and we should use our advancements to remain a player on the world stage, not resign ourselves to the fact we will be overtaken.

    it's the Churchilian spirit which once made Britain great (now there was a Briton with backbone!)

    Very simply, we'd be dumb to give up a position of advantage. I'm not saying we should deliberately and cruelly imperialise the world, just take part in the great game of life - competition!

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Genuine, constructive, relevant comments are most welcome.