This is such a horror

The green belt is disappearing at an “alarming rate” with the equivalent of 5,000 football pitches lost because of a relaxation of planning laws, a report warns today.

Developers are being allowed to “gobble up” green belt land as local authorities release it for house building to meet Government targets for new homes, the report says.

The situation is set to get worse, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) with 460,000 homes currently planned for land which will be released from the green belt.

5,000 football fields is usually said to be 10,000 acres.

Green belt is 1.6 million hectares, some 3.8 million acres. A while 0.25% ha been gobbled up.

Tragedy, eh?

As opposed to the idea that people now get to build homes where people would like to live……

Greenpeace are experts now, eh?

Campaigners have called for action after the maritime regulator ruled that foreign ships can continue to dump palm oil in British waters for three years.

In February, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) approved regulation that will require tankers carrying palm oil and other food oils to pump the tank residue into purpose-built disposal facilities, instead of washing it out in open water.

But the new rules will not come into force until July 1, 2021, a timeframe the IMO says will give states and industry time to increase capacity at shore-based oil disposal facilities.

Britain already has the infrastructure required to deal with oil residue and experts say it should ban the dumping of food oils in British waters ahead of the 2021 deadline.

“UK ports have oily water reception facilities that were put in place to process crude oil waste,” said Paul Johnston, an honorary research fellow at the University of Exeter and principal scientist at Greenpeace’s research laboratories.

Campaigner, yes, expert? Well, not exactly an unbiased observer, is he?

So it’s the RSPB’s fault, is it?

The facts, however, are simple: our managed grouse moors represent some of the most important areas for wildlife in Britain. I do not shoot — only rabbits in our vegetable garden — but a properly managed grouse/heather moor creates a mosaic of habitats with young heather, longer heather, patches of upland flora and areas deliberately dampened to create wet flushes for insects.

Fire breaks are created too, which seem to have been missing on the thousands of acres of Saddleworth Moor managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Altogether the RSPB manages about 150,000 acres of moorland and blanket bog, much in partnership with United Utilities, and its methods mean we’re likely to see many more fires this summer.

Note it’s Robin Page, so careful with this news. But still…..

Yes, well done, this is how evolution works

Bees must become city dwellers to in order to survive, according to a new study which found the insects now fare better in towns.

Scientists compared the progress of colonies in urban, village and rural environments and found numbers are roughly three times healthier in built-up areas than in the country.

The researchers at Holloway University believe predators, agricultural pesticides and a reduction of food in rural areas mean city gardens and other green spaces have now become safer and more nutritious for bees than their traditional habitats.

The crucial pollinators are under significant strain, partly due to the intensification of arable farming.

Environment changes, certain parts of previous species thrive, others don’t. That’s how that evolution thing does work.

But the really interesting part here is – well, we should be having more suburban sprawl, shouldn’t we? Because that’s where biodiversity exists, isn’t it?

The latest enviro project

Pioneering ‘liquid air’ project can help store excess electricity
Scheme in north-west England could aid grids as wind and solar power grows

OK, sounds interesting. Use of peak ‘leccie to liquefy and compress air, releasing it at peak demand times to drive a turbine. Worth trying, why not?

Brett admitted the liquid air process is less efficient than storing electricity in batteries

Ah, that’s why not, because it’s a crap method.

So, a normal part of childhood and growing up then, eh?

Pupils caught drinking from plastic bottles will be treated like smokers behind the bike sheds, the headmaster of a leading private schools has said.

Any students or teachers who brings plastic straws and non-biodegradable cups onto school premises could be punished if necessary, according to Richard Cairns who is head of Brighton College.

Sadly, that’s not what he means.

What a glorious delusion

Complex societies have collapsed many times before. It has not always been a bad thing. As James C Scott points out in his fascinating book, Against the Grain, when centralised power began to collapse, through epidemics, crop failure, floods, soil erosion or the self-destructive perversities of government, its corralled subjects would take the chance to flee. In many cases they joined the “barbarians”. This so-called secondary primitivism, Scott notes, “may well have been experienced as a marked improvement in safety, nutrition and social order. Becoming a barbarian was often a bid to improve one’s lot.” The dark ages that inexorably followed the glory and grandeur of the state may, in that era, have been the best times to be alive.

That’s like saying the Black Death was a good thing. Sure, living standards improved in the wake. As 60% of the previous population survived to enjoy 100% of the capital of the society. Great, so being a free living barbarian is fun.

If you survive, if you don’t count the experience of those who don’t.

Innumeracy in journalism

China’s ban on importing millions of tonnes of plastic waste is already causing a build up of rubbish at recycling plants around the UK, experts have warned.

The decision, which means that half a billion tons of the toxic substance could be burned in Britain rather than exported is predicted to bring chaos for councils in the weeks ahead.

Not that people have to know this of course. But it is useful for a journalist to have a rough idea of relative numbers and sizes. Plastics consumption (or, perhaps, use then throw away) is of the order of 300 million tonnes a year globally.

It’s really not likely at all that we’ll end up burning 500 million tonnes in the UK alone.

Also, plastics aren’t toxic, that’s rather the point of them. Their combustion products, if not combusted properly, can be, but it is very much the point of plastics that they don’t in fact poison us.

Simon Ellin, chief executive of the UK Recycling Association, said his members had already seen lower grade plastics piling up and warned urgent action was needed.

“You can already see the impact if you walk round some of our members’ yards,” he said.

“Plastic is building up and if you were to go around those yards in a couple of months’ time the situation would be even worse.”

The leaders of the UK’s recycling industry admitted that they have “no idea” how to cope as China’s policy came into force on January 1.

But on to the much more important point. There’s no use for this stuff, is there? That’s why it’s piling up.

So, why in fuck are we recycling it?

Yes

We know the answer here:

Government to investigate whether wood-burning stoves damage people’s health

It’s really not a question we’re unsure of the answer of.

Of course, that they damage the health of those who use them doesn’t mean anything at all, no reason for action at least. That they damage the health of those downwind of them might well be though.

This is fun

A jackal has been found in France for the first time, alarming farmers campaigning for tougher measures to curb the growing wolf population and troubled by the arrival of another canine predator.

Jackals are smaller than wolves and less likely to attack sheep, according to conservationists, but farmers fear that they will kill lambs and poultry.

A ‘camera trap’, activated by a motion sensor, captured an image of a golden jackal in Savoy near France’s eastern border with Switzerland. The species, the size of large fox, is normally found in south-eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, but its range has started expanding north and west in recent years. Like wolves, which returned to France in the 1990s, the jackal has crossed the Alps.

The thing is, that expansion is generally into areas without wolves. For they are competing for much the same niche. More wolves means fewer golden jackals…..

Why not just frack Lancashire?

Britain has emerged as the unlikely first recipient of gas from a sanctioned Russian project after fears of a winter supply crisis drove prices close to five year highs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the £20bn Yamal project on Russia’s northern coastline last week. Shortly after, British wholesale gas prices soared to four-year highs when a crucial North Sea pipeline was put out of action by a crack and a distribution hub in Austria was hit by an explosion.

Now a deal has been struck to bring the debut cargo from Yamal to the Isle of Grain import terminal via a specially built ice-breaking tanker by the end of the month.

Err, yes, this might well happen

The shutdown of the North Sea’s most important oil and gas pipeline system on Monday was compounded by an explosion at a major processing facility in Austria, which is the main point of entry for Russian gas into 
Europe.

After the incidents, wholesale gas prices hit their highest level for six years, rising by more than 50pc in the space of 24 hours, raising fears that the increase will be passed on to customers.

You know what? The people who will shout loudest about this intermittency will be those who insist that our entire energy system should be intermittent.

Can’t you just see Caroline Lucas practicing in front of the mirror already?

Cheap food reduces war

This paper provides evidence of the long-run effects of a permanent increase in agricultural productivity on conflict. We construct a newly digitized and geo-referenced dataset of battles in Europe, the Near East and North Africa covering the period between 1400 and 1900 CE. For variation in permanent improvements in agricultural productivity, we exploit the introduction of potatoes from the Americas to the Old World after the Columbian Exchange. We find that the introduction of potatoes permanently reduced conflict for roughly two centuries. The results are driven by a reduction in civil conflicts.

As has been noted about Hitler’s Lebensraum. If German agricultural productivity had risen from 1920 to 1940 by the amount it did between 1950 and 1970 there would have been no point – no economic point at least – in invading eastwards, would there?

So, Greenies, arguing that we should all eat more expensive and land hungry organic food. Why is it that you want to invade Poland?

Ms. Lucas misunderstands

We know that infinite economic growth simply isn’t compatible with a planet of finite resources, and we also know that the treatment of environmental concerns as “externalities” in pursuit of never-ending GDP increases is incredibly damaging.

We don’t deliberately treat environmental concerns as being something outside our area of concern. Instead, we note that GDP, and other market based measures, don’t capture externalities very well – that’s actually what the word means, that these righteous and just concerns are external to market processes.

We then try to shoehorn them into our decision making process as best we can, there are entire libraries stocked with discussions of this very point. Usually, by adding the price of them to those market processes.

This is absolutely super about Tesla’s battery

The world’s biggest battery was officially launched in Australia on Friday, a day after the Elon Musk-driven project was powered up early to meet demand amid a bout of hot weather, officials said.

Musk’s Tesla built the Powerpack system, which can provide electricity for more than 30,000 homes, to ease South Australia’s energy woes after the state was hit with a total blackout in 2016 following an “unprecedented” storm.

The maverick billionaire earlier this year offered on Twitter to build the battery farm, and completed it last week to narrowly beat his self-imposed deadline of having it ready in 100 days.

“South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy, delivered to homes and businesses 24/7,” state Premier Jay Weatherill said Friday at the launch to coincide with the first day of summer.

“This is history in the making.”

No, really excellent.

1) We see how well it all works. Does this size of battery actually truly aid in smoothing power dispatch?

2) We see how much it costs.

3) Such costs and effectiveness will no be incorporated into all financial estimates of intermittent power generation sources, won’t they?

We must elect a new people

At my suggestion, the school invited the charity Living Streets to come in and enthuse the children about walking or cycling to school. I attended the first assembly, at which one of their organisers spoke. She was lively, funny and captivating. With the help of a giant puppet, and the promise of badges if they joined in, the children went wild for her and for the cause. The school, led by its committed headteacher, has done everything it can to support the scheme.

For a few weeks, it worked. Everyone noticed the difference. No longer were cars mounting the pavement – and almost mounting each other – outside the gates. The children were using their legs, and families were talking to each other on the way. But the cars have crept back in, and now, though the clever and catchy programme continues, we’re almost back where we started: school begins and ends under a cloud.

Humans, eh?

Seriously folks, stop worrying about pissant little nonsenses

After the war on plastic bags and packaging, waste experts have a new target in their sights – till receipts.
UK supermarkets issue more than 26,000 miles of them every week – enough to stretch round the world, and most of them are thrown straight in the bin.
Recycling experts say the problem is exacerbated by stores that print out additional offers along with the legally required receipt.

So, a small consideration of the importance of this.

So, 80 metres long till rolls, 20 of them, weight 5 kg (that includes the packaging I assume but why worry?). There are 1,600 metres to a mile. 5 kg of till rolls is thus one mile. That means the shops are using 130 tonnes of paper per week, or some 7,000 tonnes a year, as till rolls.

Paper and board consumption appears to be some 9 million tonnes a year for the UK.

So, this particular story is people worrying about 0.07% of UK paper consumption. A goodly part of which, probably the majority, is a legal requirement.

Waste specialist Business Waste found that

Seriously people, fuck off.

Again, the misuse of “despite”

Despite a national hunting ban, the attitude to bears has become increasingly hostile, with some remote villagers taking matters into their own hands

As is so often true it should be “because.”

Then, last October, the Romanian government made a surprise decision to ban the hunting of bears and other large carnivores altogether. The environmental minister, Cristiana Pașca Palmer, a newly appointed, avowedly progressive politician largely at odds with her political surroundings, claimed that under European law “hunting for money was already illegal, but it was given a green light anyway.” The idea that hunting was acting to protect citizens from bears was, she claimed, just a cover for the hunting industry and based on nothing but pseudoscience. Conservationists across the world threw their hands together in applause.

Sure, nature is nice to have around but apex predators are indeed apex predators. And when there are two around, humans and bears, that second needs controlling in some manner. Or, obviously, the humans and their activities will be predated.