Death by Hot Tub

It’s been a bad month or so for ignominious ends in unusually hot and sticky conditions : drunk Russians drowning as they try to cool off from a once-in-a-thousand-year heatwave centred on Moscow; hundreds of Chinese swept away; a Darwin award surely going to the man who died whilst participating in the World Sauna Championships, thousands of Pakistanis snatched by flood waters, and then there’s poor Matthew Simmons, leader of the Peak Oilers, bursting his aorta in a private spa :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/7891040/Drunk-Russians-drowning-due-to-heat-wave.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/08/10/sauna-championships-tragedy-the-weird-and-frankly-lethal-lengths-people-go-just-to-win-a-contest-115875-22476900/

http://blogs.ft.com/energy-source/2010/08/09/controversial-peak-oilist-matthew-simmons-dies/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-09/matthew-simmons-investment-banker-peak-oil-theory-advocate-dies-at-67.html

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2010/08/09/without-matt-simmons-has-peak-oil-well-peaked/

“AUGUST 9, 2010 : Without Matt Simmons: Has Peak Oil, Well, Peaked? : By Michael Corkery : Matt Simmons, the maverick investment banker who championed the concept of peak oil, died of a heart attack in a hot tub in Maine. He was 67. Simmons is best known for raising the alarm, in books, in lectures, television interviews and to anyone who would listen, that the world’s oil reserves had peaked. The concept of “peak oil” wasn’t new when Simmons wrote Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, in 2005. In fact, peak oil was first posited by a geophysicist named M. King Hubbert in the 1950s who predicted that world oil supply would peak in 1995. But Simmons helped to being the theory to the mass media, after traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2003 to research that nation’s secretive data on oil reserves, or the amount of oil able to be pumped out of the ground. His book became an instant classic among conspiracy theorists…”

Hey ! Don’t disrespect the dead ! He made a very valid contribution to the world’s understanding that the Fossil Fuel free ride won’t last forever, and is, in fact, stopping short as I write…

Continue reading Death by Hot Tub

Unpicking Kyoto (6) : Black Carbon

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/july/soot-emissions-ice-072810.html

Unpicking Kyoto
Jo Abbess
20 June 2010
Updated

PART 6

CONTINUED FROM PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4 AND PART 5

Linking Climate Change to Health

During the first few years of my childhood education, I used to walk to and from the school alongside the road that was originally the main highway between London and Cambridge, England.

At that time, the density of cars in that part of town rose dramatically, as did the number of vehicles idling in long traffic jams, and I remember just how much of an impact it had on the air quality, particularly in summer.

This was despite the fact that the road was flanked by a large number of trees, areas of grass and bushes, and even ponds.

My recollection is that what had originally been a pleasant walking route became unbearable and toxic.

One day, I hope that the internal combustion engine is virtually outlawed, so that urban people can start to get some clean air.

At a recent UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) conference, the Claverton Energy Research Group invited Dr Mark A. Delucchi of the University of California at Davis to speak on the “Transportation in a World Based 100% on Wind, Water and Solar Power”, a piece of work that he did in collaboration with Professor Mark Z. Jacobson at Stanford University :-

http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/tiki-index.php?page_ref_id=2662

http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=766

This chart from the presentation gives a comparison between BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) with the electricity coming from a variety of sources; against internal combustion engine vehicles, either running on two kinds of BioEthanol (E85) or standard Gasoline.

Continue reading Unpicking Kyoto (6) : Black Carbon

Save Oxfam

In an unguarded moment, I allowed myself to watch television, and found myself watching this campaign advertisement from Oxfam.

The first thing I felt was empathy with the unhappy woman shown in the opening sequence, as the narrator told us that her baby had just been washed away by floodwaters. How dreadful for her. How awful for her child.

The second thing I thought was how shocking it was for an aid and development agency to use this person’s grief as a marketing tool.

The third thing I thought was to ask myself why the makers of the appeal didn’t mention the aggravation to the environment caused by Climate Change, but instead just refered to “more people than ever are dying because of floods, drought and lack of clean water”.

Continue reading Save Oxfam

The Population Question (2)

Image Credit : Lauren Manning under Creative Commons Licence : “World Population Growth From 2008 to 2050”

Who could have guessed that my previous post would not be the final word on “The Population Question” ?

As anybody who has ever looked at this question and its surrounding myths will know, there is layer upon layer of mis-fact, swirl around swirl of supposition and conjecture on the topic of human-to-land density in the imaginings of the newspaper-reading populace.

Continue reading The Population Question (2)

Gasland

Holy hydrocarbons !

Seems like BP America’s favourite unconventional fossil fuel is out of control.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/22/josh-fox-gasland-filmmake_n_621341.html

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2010/06/23/gasland-filmmaker-josh-fox-ignites-conversation-on-the-daily-show/

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/gasland-documentary-film-trailer-natural-gas-fracking.php

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Gasland

Don’t Believe The Heat ?

Don’t believe that the globe is warming up ? Not even after scanning the available sources ? Well, that’s probably down to the failure of your public and private Media, who are, for the most part, seemingly institutionally incapable of telling the full unexpurgated facts :-

http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=5505

“19 June 2010 : Contrary to the impression you might have gained from the media, the global climate is NOT cooling. In fact, the last twelve months, June 2009 – May 2010, has been the hottest June-May period on record, in both the 31-year satellite record of lower atmosphere global temperature and the 131-year surface global temperature record. In both data series the last 12 months have been more than 0.4C hotter than the average temperature of the last two decades of the 20th century…”

And why just stop at the evidence from the temperatures ? Don’t believe the oceans are deteriorating ? Why not look at the full range of research ?

Continue reading Don’t Believe The Heat ?

Climate Union : Sharing Principles

Image Credit : Gilbert & George, “Nettle Dance”, White Cube

I’m in the Climate Union. Are You ?

Soon we could all be, if the expansionist plans of a group of social campaigners come to fruition.

Taking in the unions, faith communities and the usual rag-tag bunch of issues activists, the Climate Union aims to establish itself as a political force for Low Carbon.

First of all, however, it has to tackle the uneasy and prickly problem of the exact name of the movement, and the principles under which it will operate.

The flag has been flown : a set of principles has been circulated for discussion amongst the “Climate Forum”. I cannot show you the finalised document yet, but I can offer you my comments (see below).

If you want to comment on the development of this emerging entity, please contact : Peter Robinson, Campaign against Climate Change, mobile/cell telephone in the UK : 07876595993.


Comments on the Climate Forum Principles
Jo Abbess
28 June 2010

I am aware that my comments are going to be a little challenging. I made similar comments during the review of the ClimateSafety briefing, which were highly criticised.

I expect you to be negative in response to what I say, but I think it is necessary to make sure the Climate Forum does not become watered-down, sectorally imprisoned and politically neutered, like so many other campaigns.

Continue reading Climate Union : Sharing Principles

Burning Things Is Wasteful

Centre for Alternative Technology

Burning things wastes a lot of energy – even burning waste.

1. Plain Old Inefficiency

The systems and infrastructure for the generation and distribution of electricity in the United Kingdom is extremely poor, nigh on immorally wasteful. See the diagram above from the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report :-

http://www.zcb2030.org/

There are so many things that could be done to improve on that enormous loss of energy, and save on Carbon Dioxide Emissions at the same time.

Continue reading Burning Things Is Wasteful

Fossil Fuels versus Corn Ethanol

So, digging up dirty old decaying fish causes massive coastland and marine pollution. Would bioethanol from corn be better ?

http://blogs.ft.com/energy-source/2010/06/14/is-bps-oil-spill-an-opportunity-for-the-ethanol-lobby/

Not really. First there’s the amount of land required to grow all that corn to burn in all those tanks (see diagram at top of page).

Continue reading Fossil Fuels versus Corn Ethanol

Blackout Asia : Crispy Baking

While Europe has been enjoying an early Summer, elsewhere in the world high air temperatures have been record-breaking.

When the heat gets this bad, public services need to provide air-conditioned community shelters as a key adaptational strategy.

But any plans of this nature are being thwarted by power shortages, for example, in India and Pakistan :-

http://www.ecanadanow.com/world/2010/06/01/200-dead-in-india-heatwave/

“200 Dead In India Heatwave”, 01 June 2010

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/07/pakistan-energy-policy-proving-deadly

“Pakistan’s heatwave and a deadly lack of energy policy : The blackout-blighted country should be free to accept development help from China, and not rely on US financial aid : Nosheen Iqbal”, 07 June 2010

Clearly, the time has never been more right for clean, renewable energy.

Life Energy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQEEfsOrAEQ

[ Nota Bene : The following was written for all those tragically lost to natural disasters aggravated by Climate Change since last Easter. May you rest in peace. We owe it to your memory to take courage, tell the truth and continue to strive to prevent further, increasing calamity from wild weather, failed rains and poor harvests. ]

Dying is hard work.
The arched back, the retching, the scrambling,
screaming in agony,
the gasp,
the panic
to keep body and soul together.

From first breath, first sore gum,
through grazed knees, peer humiliation,
learnings and forgettings,
broken bones and broken hearts.

The work of living,
pain, just a signpost on the road to flourishing.
The force for better things.

Continue reading Life Energy

Sharing Energy

At our best, we humans, when faced with crisis, we club together and act collectively. We invent new shared ways of doing, being and providing for ourselves. We pay attention to the needs of others. We give. We receive. We share. We eat together.
Continue reading Sharing Energy

A Big Gear Change – Going Road-Electric Could Save Your Child’s Life

In my family, the children were always warned, “Don’t eat the blackberries growing near the road on your walk to school.” What they didn’t tell us, and we didn’t properly know until recently, was that the air pollution was much more dangerous to us than lead deposits in the dust on wayside foraging.
Continue reading A Big Gear Change – Going Road-Electric Could Save Your Child’s Life