Money matters at Copenhagen

Crucial reading here from John Vidal: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/29/financial-negotiations-money-copenhagen-summit
Money matters, and is welcome.
But there are severe problems, because of the market-fetishism of the world today; e.g. : (1) REDD would be absolutely disastrous, helping monocultures, hurting indigenous people;
(2) Carbon-trading is a hopeless non-solution.
We need contraction and convergence / carbon rationing, or possibly Kyoto 2. And these aren’t even on the table.
It’s depressing…
Time to start thinking about ‘Seattle-ising’ Copenhagen…

Nigel Farage busy slurring away

Astoundingly, this is a UKIP press release sent out yesterday. They are actually proud of being in the gutter, proud of slurring someone just for them having been active in CND…:
 
UKIP Press Office
2 Queen Anne’s Gate
London SW1H 9AA

Nigel (sic.) reprimanded in European Parliament over Ashton speech

WATCH THE SPEECH HERE AT WWW.UKIP.ORG

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage was this morning reprimanded by European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek for his questions relating to the appointment of Baroness Ashton as the EU’s High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs.

Buzek insisted that Mr Farage ‘restrain his language and refrain from making unacceptable comments in the chamber’. 
  
Mr Farage was questioning whether Ashton was a suitable candidate for the post because of her past associations with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), given that she will be in charge of the external security of the European Union. He had asked specifically whether Baroness Ashton had accepted cash on behalf of CND from the ‘enemies of western capitalism and democracy’. 


UKIP Press Office
0207 222 9365

Proof that there are some decent Tories out there, and they aren’t all climate-deniers!: Norfolk County Council (Tory-run) unanimously vote that there is a ‘Climate Emergency’

The motion came to Norfolk County Council on Monday. It included this:
‘This Council… urges all residents of Norfolk, including Members of Norfolk County Council, to reduce their carbon footprint, for instance, in the manner suggested by the current 10:10 campaign’
The Green Party amendment clause was:
‘recognises that there is a Climate Emergency and write to the Prime Minister to call for the Government to do everything possible to each a lasting agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Summit’, and was passed.
This I believe was the first instance of a Tory-run council using the words ‘climate emergency’ and was carried unanimously in the meeting.

Plant forests across Britain to beat climate change, say scientists

This is quite encouraging. If it is done right, and sensitively to terrain, and any biomass-sourcing that comes from it is done genuinely-sustainably, then it will be just the kind of thing our country and our world needs:

 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6930091.ece

From The Times
November 25, 2009

Plant forests across Britain to beat climate change, say scientists

The New Forest in autumn

Iconic species such as the English oak and the beech could be destroyed by higher temperatures in the South of England

Valerie Elliott, Countryside Editor
 
The creation of new forests and woodlands across the country will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent and protect communities at risk of flooding, according to a scientific study for the Forestry Commission.
Planting trees in 23,000 hectares a year for the next 40 years — about the size of Queen’s Balmoral estate, or a town the size of Kettering, Northamptonshire — would result in just an extra 4 per cent of land for trees, bringing a total of 16 per cent forest in Britain.
In flood plains and upland areas such as Cumbria, where extreme rainfall and flooding is already a reality, there is a need for new forestry to capture rainfall and lessen the flood risk. Trees in city and town centres would help to mitigate expected higher temperatures, while new woods along rivers will provide shade and help to protect aquatic eco-systems.
Professor Sir David Read, chairman of the study, told The Times that one of the crucial findings of the report was the importance of woods in river catchment areas. “Trees intercept rainfall and retain water, and one of the problems we are seeing now in the Lake District is [that] there is nothing to stop the water running off the hills,” he said. “We must look again at the contribution of forestry in the uplands and returning them in the direction they once were before we deforested them.”

The professor, one of Britain’s leading plant scientists, accepted that new forests would be controversial in some areas and that it was important for communities to have their say in how areas embrace the challenges of climate change. “What we need is an integrated examination of land use across the UK so that a consensus can be reached on how we tackle our changed circumstances,” he said.
In order to achieve this sylvan future, however, the professor said that Britain must accept the introduction of non-native species to replace native trees. Iconic species such as the English oak and the beech could be destroyed by higher temperatures in the South of England and the Sitka spruce, the most commercial tree in Britain, is likely to be confined to the North and North West.
He said: “We have to think now what is going to replace them. It is possible that Pyrenean, downy or white oak will do better in future conditions, but we urgently need the trials now to test these species. We have got to find out now which species will be best for the environment. We can’t wait until 2050. We can’t be squeamish, as we have been in the past, about replacing native species with non-native species, though of course there would need to be proper safeguards and we would have to assess the potential for invasiveness.”
He suggested that the Sitka spruce grown in Britain, predominantly in Scotland, were from seeds from British Columbia, but that it would be prudent now to try strains that currently grow in the warmer climate of southern Oregon. His scenario envisages many new woodlands for the South of England that would not only capture carbon emissions but that would also be used as an energy crop to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
These woods would comprise willow and poplar, and more mixed deciduous forests of sycamore, ash and birch. The Scottish landscape would continue to be dominated by conifers, he suggested, while in Wales there would be a mixture of new broadleaf and conifer plantations.
Future rainfall patterns forecast most extreme weather on the west coast of Scotland, in the North West of England and the west coast of Wales, and therefore he believed that these areas should be considered a priority for new forests.
The assessment, thought to be the first national study of this kind in the world, is intended to trigger a new debate between the Government and landowners over future land use.
Professor Read said: “By increasing our tree cover we can lock up carbon directly. By using more wood for fuel and construction materials we can make savings by using less gas, oil and coal, and by substituting sustainably produced timber for less climate-friendly materials.
“While so many emission-reduction measures have negative connotations, tree planting can be a win, win, win solution: people love trees, we benefit from them in so many different ways, and now we know they could play a significant part in reducing the UK’s CO2 emissions.”
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, said that the Government intended to work with communities and businesses to ensure that sufficient trees were planted to tackle climate change. He pledged to do more to increase forestry. “Forests and trees are an important part of the way we live and interact with our surroundings, and we cannot underestimate the role that trees will play in reducing our carbon emissions,” he said.
Many traditional forests have been restored. A century ago there was just over 5 per cent woodland, while today it is 12 per cent. Estimates for the maximum cover since the last Ice Age suggest Britain was once 80 per cent forest. 

Cf. also  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8377744.stm

CBI backs Green Party policy shock!

 
This is quite fascinating… The CBI are basically endorsing (presumably unknowingly) OUR policy – Green Party policy – on local-business-banks!
 
See e.g. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/min.html :

‘Local Initiatives – Long-Term Action

IN504 Small businesses in the UK find it difficult to get timely access to external funds and affordable interest rates. Community Banks are needed which have funds available for local activities. (see EC512)

IN505 Community Banks would give local firms and co-operatives access to funds managed locally and supplied at preferential rates. This would favour activities identified by the Local Government Local Development Plan. The allocation of funds would make use of environmental impact analysis but be simple enough to be understandable.

IN506 A pilot Community Bank scheme (in a region with high unemployment) combined with regulatory changes to divert borrowing from conventional banking methods (see EC668) would allow Community Banking to develop.’

 
And now it appears the government has swiftly responded / responded to a coincidentally-timed independent review of much the same terrain:
 
This seems good news!

Lib Dems’ Spin Admitted

This quotation from a LibDem website (passed onto me by an eagle-eyed Green colleague) is so cute, it’s classic; notice the tacit admission that usually these kinds of things ARE nothing more than meaningless slogans in a Focus newsletter…:

“Robin Meltzer, who ran Carol’s winning campaign, said, “We won the election so handsomely because, in Carol Caruana, we had a candidate who really did work tirelessly, for four years. It wasn’t just a slogan we put in a Focus.” “

http://www.westminsterlibdems.org.uk/news/000194/historic_libdem_breakthrough_in_kc_points_to_victory_in_bayswater.html

Speaking at MMU Cheshire, Crewe Campus.

On Monday November 30th, 2009 I will be delivering two talks at MMU Cheshire, Crewe Campus. The talks are free and open to all staff and students, and to outside visitors.

4pm-6pmCouzens – 0 – 17

“Swastikas and Cyborgs: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations as a War Book

7pm-9pm — Crewe Lecture Theatre

“What Does a Film Need to be Like, to be About Madness?: PERSONA and FIGHT CLUB”

I hope to see you there!

The Great Global Warm-Up

Climate Camp London and Zed books invite you to :

The Great Global Warm-Up

a day of workshops, discussion and debate.


When: Saturday 28 November, 11am—5.00pm
Where: SOAS, 10 Thornhaugh St, London,
WC1H 0XG.
Rooms: G2, FG07, FG08
Cost: Free (donations welcome)


Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our age. Copenhagen is almost upon us. But the current political response is feeble.

Whatever your level of knowledge, this is an exciting opportunity to learn more, meet others and be part of shaping the agenda in the run up to UN climate talks in Copenhagen.


Last chance to sign up for places on coaches taking activists to Copenhagen:

http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/actions/copenhagen-2009/coaches


And find out about Actions in London during Copenhagen:

http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/actions/copenhagen-2009


Contact: london@climatecamp.org.uk

Speakers will include: Ruth Davis -Head of climate change policy at the RSPB, David Fleming -Lean Economy
Connection, James Garvey The Ethics of Climate Change, Clive George The Truth about Trade, Victoria Johnson –
NEF, Sian Moore -TUC Just Transition Project, Rupert Read -Green Party, Martin Reynolds The Environmental
Responsibility Reader, Chris Rootes -Professor of Environmental Politics, University of Kent, Harry Shutt Beyond Profit Systems, Kevin Smith -Carbon Trade Watch, Oliver Tickell Kyoto2, Gerry Woolf -DESERTEC; plus activists from Camp for Climate Action, Workers’ Climate Action, Plane Stupid and more.