Seems sensible

Fracking laws on earthquakes could be relaxed to encourage more drilling, the energy minister has suggested.

Homeowners living near Britain’s shale gas sites may have to put up with more powerful earth tremors under plans revealed in a letter by Claire Perry.

The current rules can force frackers to down tools following even a minor quake measuring above 0.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.

A tremor of this intensity would be barely perceptible to most residents, but would register as a ‘red’ on the Government’s fracking safety traffic light.

It’s difficult to say that a tremor of that intensity actually exists.

Anyway, these rules were put in place to kneecap fracking in the first place. Want fracking, relax the rules.

It’s male rationality that’s the problem Love

Simply put, the research confirms that women recycle more, are more likely to support environmental regulations, know more about the scientific aspects of climate change and are more likely to express concern about its effects.

By all measures, men just seem to care less.

It’s not that they are engaging in aggressively anti-environmental actions necessarily; but on average they simply don’t appear as concerned as my female friends about excess packaging, carbon emissions, reducing plastic products, the zero-waste movement, or sustainability in general.

Some things are indeed important about the environment. Replacing all those coal fire plants with nice clean nuclear for example. Others are just wibble, like much recycling, or positively counterproductive, like using salmonella infested cloth bags instead of one use plastic.

It could also be true that men are simply uncaring thugs. But that’s a choice, a distinction, that should be made by examining the evidence. Or is that sort of logic too male in this discussion?

Well, yes

In the cloud of toxic dust thrown up by the Kavanaugh hearings last week, two new Trump initiatives slipped by with less notice than they deserve. Both are ugly, stupid – and they are linked, though in ways not immediately apparent.

In the first, the administration provided the rationale for scrapping President Obama’s automobile mileage standards: because Trump’s crew now officially expects the planet to warm by 4C . In the environmental impact statement they say it wouldn’t make much difference to the destruction of the planet if we all keep driving SUVs.

Given that the CAFE regulations themselves gave birth to the SUV perhaps we should get rid of them?

Because reasons

The head of the United Nations’ environmental agency has been strongly criticised for his frequent flying in a report raising doubts over his environmental concerns.

Erik Solheim, a 63-year-old Norwegian former environment minister, spent 529 of his first 669 days in the job travelling, according to a draft UN report obtained by Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper.

The UN’s office of internal oversight services (OIOS) claimed that Mr Solheim spent 79 per cent of his time away from the agency’s Nairobi headquarters.

The auditors accused him of taking a flight from Washington DC to Paris for the weekend, before boarding another flight to New York.

In total he spent 90 days in Oslo and Paris, with some of the trips registered as “bilateral meetings” – despite taking place on weekends or during the Christmas holidays.

Don’t you know how hard that nomenklatura saving the world work?

This is an interesting claim, eh?

As background, so I claimed that energy poverty was, in part, driven by the costs of renewables. This is a response.

Perfectly willing to consider – not agree with, but consider – the idea that total long term bills will be lower. That the costs now are lower than the damages avoided in hte future.

But the idea that renewables now are lowering power bills now? That’s really a hell of a stretch, isn’t it?

John Vidal’s environmentally friendly transport arrangements

I write this from St Martin’s, one of the largest of the Isles of Scilly, where in five days spent among its 120-odd inhabitants I have seen only three moving cars, two tractors and a few boats. With 28 miles of Atlantic ocean in one direction between it and Cornwall, and just a few rocks before the Canadian coastline in the other, St Martin’s has some of the cleanest air in the world.

Right:

As individuals, we can learn to avoid heavily polluted streets by taking backstreets; apps can show us in real time where the pollution hotspots are; and we can avoid buying diesels or sitting in front of open fires. These all offer individual respite from the clouds of gases and particles we emit, but will not bring about real change.

We must also understand that air pollution comes not just from cars but from ships, farming, heating of houses and workplaces, and the burning of firewood and rubbish. We can wean cars off fossil fuels, but that is just the start. Ultimately, we need to both get out of our cars, and burn fewer fossil fuels.

For that to happen, we need to think very differently about how we live. On St Martin’s in the Isles of Scilly, it’s just about possible to imagine that.

OK, that’s from 19 Sept 2018. This is from 15 Sept 2018.

About this content
John Vidal in Dar es Salaam

Sat 15 Sep 2018 15.00 BST Last modified on Sun 16 Sep 2018 08.55 BST

In Dar-es-Salaam, local fishermen are being squeezed out by illegal boats with explosives which take much of the catch, killing coral reef and putting an eco-system at risk

I think that’s most impressive and John Vidal is to be congratulated. Managing to cycle from Dar es Salaam to the Scilly Isles in only 4 days is damn good going.

Hmm, what’s that? Because reasons?

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?