Terror, climate chaos, financial crisis are the costs of ‘doing business’

Unfortunately, Portugal, like the UK, is still pursuing a fossil fuel future, despite agreeing to the COP21 Paris agreement.  The Portuguese government has even granted oil and gas producers licenses to drill, onshore and offshore the Algarve.  Even though the area is part of Natura2000, is dependent of fishing, agriculture and tourism.  Even with a (so-called) Socialist coalition government, it looks like drilling will go ahead.  Instead of investing in energy efficiency and renewables!  Though there are groups such as the Algarve Surfers and Marine Activities Association (ASMAA), fighting these proposals.

The techno-narcissism of predatory neoliberal capitalism is locked into an endless war with the bastard monster of its own creation – Islamic State

Source: Terror, climate chaos, financial crisis are the costs of ‘doing business’

Total fined for North Sea gas leak

I have just seen an article about an incident, which could have been the North Seas’ Deepwater Horizon, but for favourable winds. The article in the Guardian does mention petroleum condensate causing damage to marine life: Total fined 1m North Sea gas leak. But the official press release from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) does not mention any environmental impacts of the release: Total ep UK ltd., received record fine following largest ever North Sea gas release. There was another incident reported earlier this year: Shell fined. This is how the incident was reported in the Guardian, which includes other failures by Shell: Shell North Sea oil leak. Another major incident in a mature oil and gas field, by a major oil and gas company. There a numerous incidents that occur in the oil & gas fields, that the public never hear about: HSE offshore statistics. So how can any politician allow oil and gas production in environmentally sensitive areas or even unconventional sources, with a clear concisions?

Stranded carbon assests

Even before the COP21 Paris event, some UK investors were calling on companies and local authorities to divest from fossil fuel companies.  With groups such as Go fossil free and Friends of the Earth (FOE) pushing the message to divest.

Also with organisations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calling for most of the remaining fossil fuels to remain in the ground in their latest report IPCC 5th report.  And Carbon Tracker’s report on Stranded assets danger zone, as well as others.  The UK Government has increased subsidies for fossil fuels and pushing ahead with ‘fracking’.

The Government states it needs ‘fracking’ to ensure security of supply.  But has shut down the last deep coal mine, in favour of imported coal?  It is also heavily reliant on imported biomass, for incineration and co-firing?  And new nuclear will be dependant on imported uranium imports?

Reforming harmful fossil fuel subsidies

We constantly hear from our politicians, mass media and climate change denialists, that renewables are heavily subsidised.  When the truth is exactly the opposite, with fossil fuels and nuclear being heavily subsidised at the expense of the tax-payer and energy customer.

Source: Reforming harmful fossil fuel subsidies

Recovering the early economic programmes of Die Grünen

The UK’s Sustainable Development Commission (disbanded by the present Conservative Government) produced a report called Prosperity without Growth in 2009.  I do not know, if they used any of the material from the earlier Die Grünen economic programmes (link below) from the eighties?  But it is a pity that the German Green Party, that recognised that continued growth, could not continue, broke up.  And that we just seem to be recycling old ideas, without them materialising into actions.

Back in 2011, at the UK’s Green Party conference in Cardiff.  At a fringe meeting, Equality without Growth, the author of the Prosperity without Growth, Tim Jackson.  Spoke about the need for the Green Party to show real leadership, by pushing forward an agenda for Degrowth.  Something that was needed as the Global North was suffering from the financial melt-down.  Unfortunately, the UK’s Green Party promotes the continued pursuit of economic growth!

Source: Recovering the early economic programmes of Die Grünen

Creative Self-Destruction and the Climate

One of the reason, I have no time for the Green Party, The Guardian, Jonathon Porritt, George Monbiot, Natalie Bennett and the like. Is that, they continue to believe we can continue consuming the World’s resources, but somehow in a different way!  Whilst we only have the one planet, with its finite resources?

jpratt27

In his 2006 landmark report on how we should respond to the climate crisis, Nicholas Stern characterised global warming as an ‘externality’, a damage to others due to market activity whose cost is not met by those who cause it.
Indeed, Stern characterised climate change as ‘the largest ever market failure’. In other words, the problem of global warming arises because the market system is not working well enough, and if we could find a way to correct the fault then the problem would be solved.
It was a geophysicist, Brad Werner, who in 2012 argued precisely the opposite case – that we are in this mess not because the market system is not working well enough but because it is working too well. Werner’s startling presentation to the annual conference of the American Geophysical Union was titled ‘Is the Earth F**ked?’ and he posed in public the question climate…

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Austerity is a scam but green growth isn’t the answer either.

There is a Global movement calling for the end of ecocide: https://www.endecocide.org/en/. Something I think Mark Burton is striving for with Steady State Manchester. Manchester City Council, under Richard Leese and Howard Bernstein, have been pushing a policy of build, build and build more. This is offices, retail units, hotels and home-to-buy, when what is needed, is investment in front-line services and council housing. And as Mark points out, there are those, who are supposed to be ‘Green’, also wanting to follow the policy of build, build and more build. Which would would only drive climate change and inequality.
That is why I was to come across the European Trade Union Institute pursuing: Social innovation and equality keys to social ecological transition. At the bottom is a link to a presentation, showing how austerity has driven inequality. One change I would make to the presentation, is slide 5. I would change the box with ‘Inclusive Growth’ in it, to ‘Inclusive Prosperity’.

Steady State Manchester

Yesterday, 3rd December, 2014, The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, made his autumn statement in which he set out the government’s plans on the economy.

He confirmed that a Tory government will continue to cut public spending in the years to come. Indeed it turns out, “you ain’t seen nothing yet”. As the Office of Budget Responsibility puts it, the government’s plans mean that

Between 2009-10 and 2019-20, spending on public services, administration and grants by central government is projected to fall from 21.2 per cent to 12.6 per cent of GDP and from £5,650 to £3,880 per head in 2014-15 prices. Around 40 per cent of these cuts would have been delivered during this Parliament, with around 60 per cent to come during the next. The implied squeeze on local authority spending is similarly severe.

http://cdn.budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/December_2014_EFO-web513.pdf

For a sound analysis of where these cuts will fall, see Richard Murphy’s piece, accurately…

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Manchester’s emissions

Manchester City Council recently published their latest State of the City 2013 – 14 report.  Nowadays, the council does not show comparisons between the different wards.  Except for a vague consultation of people’s satisfaction with life and how people from different ethnic backgrounds, from 2010.  Is this because the comparison between different wards, shows that the worst performing wards, are those of the senior councillors, Richard Leese (Crumpsall), Pat Karney (Harpurhey) and Rosa Battle (Bradford) for example.  I have heard a story, that Donna Ludford, the replacement for Jim Battle (ex-Deputy Leader (Ancoats) and now deputy Police Commissioner), has had her friends telling people she is no longer a councillor.  It would appear, she is feeling the pressure from the people of Ancoats who are totally dissatisfied with the performance of Manchester City Council.

My initial interest in the council’s report was in their section on the Environment and Climate Change, pages 148 to 155.  They do admit that the annual objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) have been exceeded.  They try to give the impression that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions have fallen in Manchester since 2005 by 16.1%.  They have in reality fallen by only 10%, having risen from 2,745.2 in  2011, to 2,944.8 in 2012: Manchester’s emissions.  They do not put a link to the Department of Environment and Climate Change’s (DECC), Local Authority Carbon Dioxide emissions which was published 26th June 2014.  Instead, they used outdated information, stating 2012 data would be available in the summer of 2014.  Why did they not delay publication of the more update data was available?  And of course, these emissions are only estimation, and could an under-estimation of the real emissions, especially as emissions due to aviation are not included.

Manchester City Council seem unable to properly account for their on energy usage, therefore are unable to accurately estimate their own emissions.  From what I constantly observe walking around Manchester, is the amount of wasted energy on the part of Manchester City Council.

2013-12-30 23.24.34
Manchester Central Library, at 23:34hrs, when it was shut to the public and no work was being carried out on it.
Manchester Town Hall annexe at 00:55hrs, whilst no work being carried out.
Manchester Town Hall annexe at 00:55hrs, whilst no work being carried out.
Manchester Central Conference Centre at 01:00hrs.
Manchester Central Conference Centre at 01:00hrs.

Manchester suffers from some of the worst health outcomes with residents having a low ‘good’ general health expectation and a low life expectancy.   These are indications that Manchester City Council has failed totally, in addressing major issues that negatively impact on Mancuians.  Despite all their hype, they have failed time and again and Manchester has not been resilient to climate change.