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Environmentalism

This is going to be a problem, yes

A warehouse in France storing lithium batteries caught fire on Saturday, amid growing fears over their safety.

The fire on Saturday afternoon occurred at a storehouse in the southern town of Viviez, in Aveyron, where 900 tons of lithium batteries were waiting to be recycled.

Authorities ordered residents to stay indoors and keep their windows closed as thick smoke billowed over the town. No injuries or deaths were reported and the cause of the fire has yet to be established.

Lithium batteries, found in electric scooters and vacuum cleaners, are known to spontaneously combust if they overheat or become damaged. Their dangers have raised concerns in countries where e-bikes have been promoted as a climate-friendly mode of transportation.

Not really much to be done about it either – other than to note that it’s going to be a problem.

This is rewilding

One factor contributing to the apex predators’ presence is the fact that much agricultural land on the outskirts of Siena is no longer farmed.

It has reverted to scrubland, which provides a habitat for roe deer and wild boar and attracts the wolves, the mayor said.

The effect?

There has been an increasing number of sightings on the outskirts of Siena, some 135 miles (220 kilometres) north of Rome, as the creatures nonchalantly pad along suburban streets.

The most recent sighting was in late January when a pair was spotted at Porta Camollia, on the northern edge of the Tuscan city.

They were seen by a motorist who did not manage to photograph them with his mobile phone. But he notified the authorities and officials found wolf excrement at the scene.

G. Monbiot will be along in a moment to tell us that the solution is to bring the bears back to attack the wolves.

Global Witness are, yes, twats

Profits at the energy company BP halved last year to nearly $14bn (£11bn), but were better than expected after weaker oil and gas market prices caused revenues to slump across the industry.

BP said it would return more cash to investors with $3.5bn of share buybacks over the first half of this year, and at least $14bn over the next two years. The move prompted criticism from campaigners who said the money would be better spent on investing in the green transition.

“Shareholders should want to protect their long-term positions. That means demanding a rapid clean energy transition for companies like BP. These reckless shareholder payouts do the opposite,” said Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a senior campaigner at Global Witness.

It is shareholders who want to protect their long term positions.

Drilling for oil and gas may well last longer than many think and some hope. But it’s also clearly, over the next century, a dying business.

So, how do shareholders maintain their position? They take money out of an oil and gas business and go put it into some other line of work.

Paying out today’s profits to be redeployed into something elose is protecting the shareholder position.

Global Witness are ignroant, ignorant, twats.

Gosh, really?

A shift towards a more sustainable global food system could create up to $10tn (£7.9tn) of benefits a year, improve human health and ease the climate crisis, according to the most comprehensive economic study of its type.

It found that existing food systems destroyed more value than they created due to hidden environmental and medical costs, in effect, borrowing from the future to take profits today.

That is interesting, do say more!

A change of diet is another key element

Ah, the same old bollocks, the turnip diet.

Fuck off.

George’s latest explanation

Many explanations are proposed for the continued rise of Donald Trump, and the steadfastness of his support, even as the outrages and criminal charges pile up. Some of these explanations are powerful. But there is one I have seen mentioned nowhere, which could, I believe, be the most important: Trump is king of the extrinsics.

Some psychologists believe our values tend to cluster around certain poles, described as “intrinsic” and “extrinsic”. People with a strong set of intrinsic values are inclined towards empathy, intimacy and self-acceptance. They tend to be open to challenge and change, interested in universal rights and equality, and protective of other people and the living world.

People at the extrinsic end of the spectrum are more attracted to prestige, status, image, fame, power and wealth. They are strongly motivated by the prospect of individual reward and praise. They are more likely to objectify and exploit other people, to behave rudely and aggressively and to dismiss social and environmental impacts. They have little interest in cooperation or community. People with a strong set of extrinsic values are more likely to suffer from frustration, dissatisfaction, stress, anxiety, anger and compulsive behaviour.

It’s boys and girls, all things nice and puppy dog tails. And it’s not more than that.

It’s a setup with all the things that are – claimed to be – admirable in the one group and yep, I’m one of them! Everyone who disagrees with me is puppy dog tailes. And that’s it. There is no more here.

It’s a nursery rhyme to run the world by.

Second order effects

Really quite important:

The report also urged policymakers to ban plastic bags of any kind — not just thin ones. In some jurisdictions, it identified a “loophole” that has allowed grocery stores and other retailers to replace thin single-use plastic bags with thicker ones that are nominally reusable — even though research suggests that consumers don’t reuse the thicker bags in practice. In California, this loophole led to a net increase in the weight of plastic bags used per person between 2004 and 2021.

Triffids, eh?

One of the first councils in Britain to ban weedkiller has dropped the strategy after streets and footpaths became choked with weeds.

Brighton and Hove was branded a “city of triffids” after the council imposed a ban on the use of glyphosate – the active ingredient in most weedkillers – in 2019.

Weeds standing up to five feet tall blocked pathways, trailed across streets and snaked up lamp posts.

Now, after five years of complaints, the council has admitted the situation had become untenable and has voted to reintroduce glyphosate.

5 years might make them a little slow but they have actually learnt and thus changed couree. Congratulations on that at least. Rare political behaviour after all….. even if this does still leave rather a lot of green policies in conflict with reality.

Not grasping the business model

Last week US rental giant Hertz announced it would replace 20,000 EVs with petrol cars, taking a $245m (£193m) hit as it sold the plug-in vehicles because of a rapid depreciation in their value.

Three years ago, Hertz announced plans to buy 100,000 Teslas to electrify its fleet.

But the company said renting out electric cars had proved to be less popular and profitable than traditional vehicles and the cars had also come with higher repair costs.

Europe’s biggest car rental company, Sixt, announced in December that it would be phasing out Teslas altogether, however a spokesman said this was part of its “regular de-fleeting process”.

It is understood Teslas made up a small proportion of Sixt’s fleet to begin with, but the company had concerns over how quickly they lost their value.

OK. And:

Part of the Government’s strategy for decarbonising motoring was to flood the used car market with EVs via fleet operators and company car schemes.

Traditionally, the rental companies have made a profit on their used cars. As mass buyers – really, mass, mass – they get a huge discount from the manufacturer. After x k miles, or y months being rented out, they are sold. The original discount was larger than the depreciation. Used car values are, traditionally, a profit centre for rental companies.

So, govt tries to flood the used EV market, that means depreciation is going to be high – possibly higher than the original discount. The govts plan “works” by destroying the economics of car hire.

What a great plan, eh?

All that is old will become new again

It takes a really cold snap, like the one we’re having, to make you look around your home and try to identify how you can keep the heat in.

One simple and stylish solution for a draughty home is to fit a thick curtain over the inside of the front door, which will create an extra layer of insulation against the cold: searches for door curtains are up 62 per cent, according to the curtain company Hillarys.

Alternatively, one could have a vestibule. Which is what our forefathers did. Well, as soon as they built houses larger than peasant cottages that is.

So, all we need to do is reform planning law so that new housing can be larger than peasant cottages then, so that people can have a vestibule again.

What is that green objection to N Sea and fracking?

Ah, yes, that’s it. It will all be exported and at the international price and that means it will make no difference to UK prices or supply. So, let’s not bother.

At which point, France should stop building any electricity plants. Obviously:

Britain imported a record amount of electricity from Europe last year as solar and wind farms struggled to generate sufficient energy in the wake of coal and nuclear power plant closures.

The UK forked out £3.5bn on electricity from France, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands last year, accounting for 12pc of net supply, according to research from London Stock Exchange (LSEG) Power Research.

It’s all just exported at the international price and makes no difference to prices or supply in France. So, they should not bother, right?

Well, it’s Bristol, innit?

Climate activists declare war on ‘gas guzzler’ cars… by vandalising an electric Tesla
The controversial group, who call themselves the Tyre Extinguishers, targeted a Tesla car in Clifton, Bristol

Port cities should be centres of hybrid vigour – the gene pool does become enriched in oh so many ways. OK, only the one way perhaps, but that many times.

Bristol is the disproof of the contention.

The scumbag bastards

Ministers have been told they will be “punished” by voters after analysis revealed the decline of vital flood defences across England.

The proportion of critical assets in disrepair has almost trebled in the West Midlands and the east of England since 2018, leaving thousands of homes and businesses more vulnerable to storms.

Critical assets are defined as those where there is a high risk to life and property if they fail.

This is from Greenpeace.

Who are, of course, the people who say we should stop pumping out the Somerset Levels, stop straightening and dredging rivers. Because not allowing the land to flood is bad, d’ye see?

But also, not building flood defences is bad.

Bastards

Bollocks

ChatGPT is thirsty. Every time you give it a command, it “drinks” the equivalent of a sip of water. Twenty tasks later and it has already consumed half a litre of the stuff.

That’s because cooling the data centres that power it and other artificial intelligence (AI) tools is a huge task, and one that risks exacerbating a looming water crisis.

Water is a renewable resource. That used for cooling is a few degrees warmer than it was for a few hours and is then available for use again for something else, elsewhere, or even for the same use again.

We’re certainly not splitting the atom here, we’re not even splitting the molecule. The whole idea being put forward is toss.

How glorious is Uruguay’s renewables revolution!

The Guardian:

Uruguay’s green power revolution: rapid shift to wind shows the world how it’s done

Erm, well, sorta.

An alternative energy source such as hydropower is vital to plug gaps in a renewable grid as wind and solar are intermittent.

Yes, it is. So, how much?

Installed electricity capacity in Uruguay was around 2,500 MW (megawatts) in 2009 and around 2,900 MW in 2013. Of the installed capacity, about 63% is hydro, accounting for 1,538 MW which includes half of the capacity of the Argentina-Uruguay bi-national Salto Grande. The rest of the production capacity is mostly thermal and a small share of wind and biomass.

OK, old numbers, but effectively they’re running a hydro electricity system with wind on top. Fine, works well etc.

Anyone think the greens will let us have 50 to 60% of ‘leccie from dams?

Back to steam it is then

Hundreds of rail passengers have been left stranded after a power cable broke and fell onto their train leaving them trapped inside.

The 18.30 service from London Paddington to Cardiff stopped minutes into its journey after the overhead cable supplying power to the electric train broke and wrapped itself around a carriage.

Bach to the way God intended trains to work.

Still, at least this explains why Monbiot got stranded on his way to Penzance (because, yes, uses the Bristol line to go west from London).

Barking nutter

A government adviser has called for roads in cities to be “ripped out completely” to combat air pollution.

Dr Gary Fuller, a member of Defra’s air quality expert group, said that cities should instead be turned into “green spaces” where residents and children could relax and play free from pollution.

The Imperial College academic has been an independent reviewer of research that supported the expansion of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

His comments came in a talk to Brighton residents about measures to combat the 29,000 to 43,000 people dying early each year in the UK as a result of nitrogen dioxide and particulate pollution.

Now, whether he actually quite sauid that is another matter. But it’s entirely possible. For most Single Issue Fanatics never do bother to think in the round. How many would starve without roads to transport the food for example?

These people are insane

Under the so-called ZEV mandate, electric vehicles must make up 80pc of a car maker’s total sales by 2030, or face a £15,000-per-engine fine for falling below the quota. So what’s a car maker to do?

What perversion of logic led to that idea? They been letting Friends of the Earth write laws again?

Gosh

Charities and retailers are selling “eco-friendly” bamboo cups and children’s tableware containing plastic resin – despite warnings that green claims may be misleading and the products may pose a risk to health.

The bamboo “eco-cups” are promoted as helping to protect the planet, but are usually non-recyclable. Regulators warn the green claims may be tricking consumers into using products they believe to be sustainable.

You don’t say? Complicated products made in odd ways to meet dodgy goals may be dangerous? Lawks.

Why not just have paper cups then burn them when done?