Ethical Investment

I met several people in the finance-with-conscience crowd the other week, when I went for a spot of champers and Marmite soldiers at the House of Commons for National Ethical Investment Week.

I learned about various views on social and positive impact investment, and about elements of the Coalition Government’s “Big Society” and the proposed Green Investment Bank.

Ethical Investment appears to have come a long way since I put some money into a Fair Trade company many moons ago, where I knew I would never see a dividend, or even be able to sell the shares at some point.

Grown up people in sharp suits and big name frocks now do moral banking, and often reap a healthy return on their investment – “doing well” as well as “doing good”, as Adam Ognall of UK Sustainable Investment and Finance says.

I was challenged to think about what faith communities do with their money around a month ago, all precipitated by a conversation I had with Martin Palmer of the Alliance of Conservation and Religions, and then I heard something at a recent meeting that caused me to investigate a little… Continue reading Ethical Investment

The Independent “in association with Shell”

I rubbed my eyes, but the logo didn’t disappear. The Independent newspaper article had a graphic explaining that the article was “in association with Shell” :-

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/newenergyfuture/a-climate-for-european-action-2068570.html

Further clue : the author was Tom Burke, “Mr Clean Coal” to those of us that know of him.

The article was great, up until the paragraph :-

“Without deploying carbon capture and storage technologies for coal and gas, Europe has no workable climate policy…”

Well, we knew Tom Burke was going to say that, didn’t we ?

But why was the article “in association with Shell” ? Is this the start of advertising masquerading as opinion articles ?

What could possibly link Royal Dutch Shell to Carbon Capture and Storage ? The “Enhanced Oil Recovery” (EOR) angle, possibly – Shell offering to pump Carbon Dioxide down into its depleting oil and gas wells in an attempt to raise the pressure on the remaining hydrocarbon, to squeeze it out.

Continue reading The Independent “in association with Shell”

BP Tony Hayward’s Marching Orders

Did he jump, or was he swamped ?

And is he really leaving, or is he being hounded out by propaganda ?

The reports of his demise may be premature, but the clock is probably ticking on his tenure anyway.

You know as soon as the board of a company, or a central government expresses “full support” for an executive or a minister, their job is at risk.

At least BP didn’t have to invent a scandal about his private life to get shot of him, like the (I think, despicable) way they ousted John Browne, the “sun king”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10753573

“25 July 2010 : BP chief Tony Hayward ‘negotiating exit deal’ : Mr Hayward has been with the company for 28 years BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward has been negotiating the terms of his exit, with a formal announcement likely within 24 hours, the BBC has learned. Mr Hayward has been widely criticised over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. An official statement issued by BP in response said he had the “full support of the board and senior management”. BBC business editor Robert Peston says Mr Hayward is likely to be replaced by his American colleague, Bob Dudley, who is in charge of the clean-up operation…”

Is Bob Dudley a fan of solar and wind power ? Only asking…

And will a change of figurehead on the prow stop the BP vessel sinking ?

Renewable Synergy

The news is that there is continuing progress towards a fully Renewable Europe. It is, after all, the only means to ensure a sustainable Economy into the future, given the twin blended threats of Climate Change Carbon Mitigation and Peak Fossil Fuels.

Dr Gregor Czisch’s meisterwerk is being translated into English for publication this Summer :-

Scenarios for a Future Electricity Supply: Cost-Optimised Variations on Supplying Europe and Its Neighbours with Electricity from Renewable Energies

You would never know from the plainspeaking title just how exciting this is : seriously cheap Energy and peacemaking collaboration all in one shot !

The management consultants PriceWaterhouseCooper (couldn’t they think of a more speakable name ?), have just published their own view on Europe and North Africa combining to provide a one hundred percent renewable Energy solution :-

http://www.pwc.co.uk/sustainability/

http://www.pwc.co.uk/eng/publications/100_percent_renewable_electricity.html

Continue reading Renewable Synergy

Hot Start

Hot Start
by Jo Abbess
04 February 2010
An assessment of the technology and policy for de-Carbonising the Energy systems of developed societies

1. The Aligned and Related Risks from Climate Change and Peak Fossil Fuels

1a. Key Conclusions
The Low Carbon Transition in Energy in developed countries is inevitable (Climate Change Act, 2008; EU Package, 2008; UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol, 1997); yet policy thinking and decision-making seems to still focus on the debateable “how to do it” rather than the more essential “how long do we have ?” If the window of opportunity for industrialised society to de-Carbonise proves to foreshorten rapidly, then the next few decades could be a story of economic collapse, unless there is concentrated, concerted endeavour (Sustainable Business, 2010).

Continue reading Hot Start

The Future of Flight

For decades we have been spoonfed Science Fiction about the future of flight and space exploration as if it were fact.

Richard Branson (“Sir”, if you insist) has drawn us to his vision for commercial passenger space flight :-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8400353.stm

Yet his participation in the Industry Taskforce for Peak Oil and Energy Security leads him back down to Earth :-

Continue reading The Future of Flight

Little Chicken

Now’s the right time to talk about gardening. Not just any old gardening, no. I mean food gardening, urban farming, home cropping, edible landscape-type gardening.

Now is the time to be thinking about enriching your soil for your next bumper harvest.

Get your resilience genes working !

http://www.londonwaste.co.uk/media/Compost%20Bag%20Leaflet_May09.pdf

OR

http://www.islington.gov.uk/Environment/RubbishAndRecycling/recycling_new/hrrc/compost_offer_HRRC.asp

Get into Transition mode !

In Transition 1.0 from Transition Towns on Vimeo.

In The Belly Of The BP

I was warned. And it’s true. BP are so protective of their company image that they live in denial. I should know. I’ve been inside the belly of the beast and spoken to one of their head sustainability honchos. Who had a total disconnect about the risks of Fossil Fuel depletion.

“Oil and gas will remain the mainstay of the “Energy mix”. We’ve said that publicly…”

So they’re telling the world what to believe, are they ?

Continue reading In The Belly Of The BP

Copenhagen : “Meaningful Agreement”

As the world leaders start to slip away back to the airport, some commentators are hailing a “meaningful agreement” has been reached at the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change talks. Others say that no deal of any significant kind has been struck.

Reaction from the Developing countries is general dismay. The Non-Governmental Organisations, “civil society”, feel they have been blocked from taking part. It’s been a complete shambles.

The time has come to start spelling out the future in graphic, technical detail – not just about the damages that Climate Change will bring – but about the only real solutions.

Real solutions do not include Carbon Trading, nor Carbon Taxation. They don’t include technofixes and technofudges like Carbon Capture and Storage and New Nuclear Power. They certainly don’t include partial commitment on Avoided Deforestation.

We have to say it and say it again : whether the leaders and corporations agree or not, the future is Carbon Emissions Reductions. The Consumer Economy is being eroded by the minute. Peak Oil, Coal, Natural Gas and Uranium are just around the corner.

Continue reading Copenhagen : “Meaningful Agreement”

No Country for Old Men

Heaven knows what Aubrey Meyer must feel like some days.

For every ounce of frustration I feel about the sloth-like pace of the international Climate negotiations, he must feel a pound of nerve-wrecking agitational sweating stress.

The United States of America has been trumpeting its progressive politics again this week, asserting itself as the world’s Climate Change leader at the G8 talks in L’Aquila in Italy.
Continue reading No Country for Old Men