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uk zero carbon attempt

“The Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED) is the UK's largest carbon-neutral eco-community the first of its kind in this country. BedZED was developed by the Peabody Trust in partnership with Bill Dunster Architects and BioRegional Development Group, environmental consultants.

“BedZED is a mixed-use, mixed-tenure development that incorporates innovative approaches to energy conservation and environmental sustainability. It is built on reclaimed land owned by the London Borough of Sutton, sold to Peabody at below market value due to the planned environmental initiatives.” [Quoted from peabody.org.uk]

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“Unfortunately, four years on, there have been problems. Electricity and hot water for the site were supposed to have been supplied by a wood-burning combined heat and power generator which, it was promised, would provide all the electricity and hot water that residents would need. It soon became clear that there wasn't enough hot water, and gas boilers had to be installed.

“last year, the CHP generator THEN, stopped working completely, and BedZed has had to buy electricity from the National Grid. A new CHP generator is now being installed. BedZed also installed an state of the art eco-sewage system, which would clean waste water by running it through a reed bed.

“Very green, but unfortunately this happened to falter as well, something the site's founder, architect Bill Dunster, blames on 'management problems', and promises that it is about to get going again.

“There are also arguments between the architect and the environmental consultants about just how much carbon has been saved by all this effort.

“There are other difficulties, like the hidden environmental costs in the construction of all this kit, but that's another thing the eco-warriors would rather not discuss.”

“Carbon-free homes may be a wonderful dream for the future, but most of us live in existing houses, and at the current rate of replacement, 70 per cent of the existing housing stock will still be around in 2050.

“So we'd be better off trying to make existing houses more eco-friendly, with dull but sensible initiatives like cavity wall insulation, hot water lagging, loft insulation, draught proofing, and improved heating controls.

“The [UK] Government does have a grant scheme to help with these. This year it contained the princely sum of 6.5million, and ran out half way through the year. Pathetic.

“So the Chancellor's zero-carbon homes are, for the foreseeable future, nothing but a giant green photo-opportunity - a gimmick which will have virtually no environmental impact at all.” [Quoted from dailymail.co.uk]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology0612.php#bedzed_281206





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dickybirds stay for longer

“Birds are delaying their annual winter migration to Africa from France because of the unseasonally warm weather [...]”

“ The autumn was the warmest in France since 1950, with temperatures 2.9 degrees Celsius (5.2 F) above seasonal norms, the national weather agency has said.”

The French League for the Protection of Birds were commenting on smaller birds such as swallows.

Yesterday, our local French yak observed many, long v-shaped flights of geese streaming south-east across the sky. there were many hundreds of birds, determinedly on their way to warmer climes. And none too soon, in our yak’s region temperatures have now dropped below zero (degrees centigrade).

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology0612.php#winter_migration_201206

“a vast market failure” - stern

Various attacks have been made on the Stern Report on the economics of climate change. These attacks argue against Stern’s recommendations for low discount rates.

Ecologists argue the case for anthropogenic global warming [AGW], using atmospheric chemistry data and available observations regarding climate change. The Stern Report is not concerned with the science of global warming, but economic analysis and consequences related to global warming predictions.

For Stern, a low discount rate is chosen because of the vast potential risks if the global warming forecasts are correct. Bear in mind that high discount rates means spending less - and making less effort - to reduce pollution and global warming now, at the cost of more pollution and great clean-up costs for others in the future. Low discount rates signify paying more and making more effort now, for the benefit of less pollution in the future.

Of course, the right-wing extremists, being every bit as dishonest and ignorant as the left-wing extremists, are attempting to fight reality by rhetoric, while simultaneously trying to silence serious debate. The same old political techniques which have been used by dishonest politicians and special interests from time immemorial.

Greed, laziness and lack of concern for the environment leads to false suggestions that global warming is “not due to people”, it’s just the sun becoming warmer [variation in the solar constant]. Of course, this means that they don’t have to do anything. There are legitimate discussions concerning how much anthropogenic global warming [AGW] will impact, and on what timescale. There is no doubt that AGW is occuring, the science is well understood, even though there is much detail to be worked out. It is possible there may be variations in the solar constant, but I have yet to see convincing evidence.

You may ask why these people never get to detailed facts but merely attempt to rubbish the credibility, question the integrity and resort to vague claims rather than raise any serious or substantive reasoning.

Any honest person would deal with the arguments. That these people so persistently evade discussion makes it ever more clear that they appear to have no contrary facts.

That inclines me to the view that there are no contrary facts and that at least the majority of the global warming case is substantial.

“But this was no talk shop of environmental activists. It was a meeting of Wall Street investors, insurance executives, state treasurers and pension fund managers, who between them manage about US$3.7 trillion in assets.”

“So much capital is focused on short-term strategies. They say: 'I understand climate change. I think it's a big risk. But you are talking about long-term issues. I get evaluated every three months. I get a percentage on this year's profits,'" he said.” [Quoted from planetark.org]

Stern also allocates another low discount rate, valuing an extra dollar of advantage to a poor person at ten times the value of a dollar to a rich person. Some have argued that this is too mean to the poor, but others have argued the reverse. Present consensus is that global warming will impact far more heavily on the world’s poor in less developed areas/countries.

Related material
on the economics of climate change

Tragedy of the Commons

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology0612.php#stern_discounts_181206

the real kyoto gathers pace

While the dorks keep blathering about Bush not using ‘diplomacy’, the American administration is steadily and quietly working to strengthen the IAEA and to spread sustainable energy technology and alliances among the biggest energy users and the more advanced nations.

“The agreement was penned between the China and U.S. governments in Beijing, where U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman participated in the energy dialogue with his counterparts from China, India, Japan and South Korea.” [Quoted from marketwatch.com]

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Article worth a scan.

“China's order is part of more than $200 billion forecast to be spent worldwide on nuclear power by 2030, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, an adviser to 26 of the world's largest energy users. A surge in oil and natural gas prices and concern that the carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels leads to global warming are driving the revival.

“Construction Start

“The construction of the nuclear reactors will start in early 2007, Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Shaw Group Inc., a Westinghouse partner on the project, said in a statement today. Shaw Group owns a 20 percent stake in Westinghouse.” [Quoted from bloomberg.com]

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And now a rather muddled but interesting item on the nutter in North Korea:

“Zhu Feng, director of the international security program at Beijing University, says a recent opinion poll shows 44per cent of Chinese people dislike North Korea more than any other nation. "The Chinese leadership now understands it may have deluded itself about the Kim Jong-il Government pursuing a good-neighbourly policy that Pyongyang would gradually be won over by China's kindness," he says.

“Mr Zhu says that while Beijing's support of UN resolutions against Pyongyang's nuclear testing is seen in North Korea as "an act of treachery by its socialist big brother", when the test happened, "in Beijing, ire turned into fury. It was no less than a slap in China's face".

“The important meeting of the central committee of the Communist Party three months ago proclaimed that a nuclear North Korea was a formidable challenge to China's "core interests" - a phrase previously used only about Taiwan independence.” [Quoted from theaustralian.news.com.au]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology0612.php#real_kyoto_171206

slow down in the atlantic conveyor linked to ‘little ice age’

“From around 1200 until 1850, during which average temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere dipped by around 1C, the strength of the Gulf Stream also slackened by up to 10%, oceanographers report.”

“The slowing of the current this way can fix itself, however - the extra saltiness of the water should help the water to sink at the northern end of its cycle, Lund says, driving the bottom half of the ocean circulation and re-energizing the current.” [Quoted from nature.com]

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“Moreover, the cooling that resulted was confined mainly to the northern hemisphere, says Lynch-Stieglitz - which indicates it was a regional effect. Michael Mann at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, who constructed the hockey stick graph, has always argued that if this were so, the little ice age would not show up on a global temperature record”

“Ocean currents in the North Atlantic, dominated by the Gulf Stream, usually keep winter temperatures in western Europe mild by carrying warm water north from the tropics towards Europe and heating the westerly winds travelling from North America. Climate scientists have suspected that a weak Gulf Stream may have caused the little ice age, but until now there has been no direct evidence for this theory."” [Quoted from newscientist.com]

Related material
Global warming

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology0612.php#little_ice_age_031206

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