Quick Links 10th October 2016

Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read, inspired me or just sparked my interest in the previous week, with a little background and my thoughts and other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.

It’s been party conference season and their is all sorts of rhetoric flying around about what is best for the country and what each political party will do (or would if they were in power). I’m not going to link to any of it, however the one bit that did really grate on me was a Tory minister saying that all the promises / statements made during the EU referendum were meaningless and  had no impact on the overall result. Whilst I accept that no one can be held to those promises, to say they had no impact on the result is one of the most naive and stupid things I’ve heard in a long time. This is the minister who is responsible for negotiating our exit from the EU. We’re all screwed.

Still on the subject of Brexit this article in The Guardian and this one by author Charles Stross talk about some of the potential stark realities if the Government get the negotiations wrong. Both mention potential crisis with food, and the possible future cost of food imports. We currently import 40% of our food, and although I don’t agree completely with the comment in one of the articles about our ability to “grow our own” – and I mean this on a commercial scale, not a domestic self-sufficiency one – I think we could do much better and with the right education about seasonal foods, waste reduction and other areas where we are currently weak and mean that we don’t maximise our current production levels; the picture is a worrying one. I have no confidence in those in charge of this set of negotiations and their ability to deliver the best deal possible.

Currently Reading

Nigel: my family and other dogs by Monty Don [GoodReads] I finished this just before I posted, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, savouring it.

Entering the Silence: Becoming a Monk and a Writer: 2 (The Journals of Thomas Merton) by Thomas Merton [GoodReads]. Having finished the first volume of journals not that long ago, I started the second volume more or less straight away.

Wildscreen Witness – In Pictures

 A Week In Wildlife – In Pictures

Here’s a short piece I wrote somewhere else – mostly to get the thoughts off my chest:

Yesterday it was fracking, a few weeks ago nuclear power. From an energy perspective Theresa May’s government has been the government of missed opportunities so far. Each time an opportunity to respond in a sustainable manner to current and future energy needs, and restart the mistakes made by successive previous governments it’s been passed over for something “easier”.

In truth we know very little about the true economic costs of fracking in the UK. If exploration in Lancashire does go ahead – there are still hurdles to be overcome before it can start – then perhaps the one thing that might come out of it is a proper economic assessment of it. Widely touted as a boon of cheap gas, I think the reality will be somewhat different, unlikely to be cheaper than imported gas and renewables, it may well turn out to be another expensive white elephant.

The same with Hinkley Point and it’s strike price (although perhaps it will take so long to build that this might be cheap?) There are viable renewable solutions here and now that could be deployed for the same cost and produce the same amount of energy.

When Theresa May announced her Cabinet she erased DECC and formed BEIS, many people commented that the loss of “Climate Change” from a department title was a bad thing. At the time I was willing to sit on the fence about this, but it seems that those people were right. Another missed opportunity to put a response to climate change at the heart of government and in doing so push it to the back of Minister’s minds.

6 thoughts on “Quick Links 10th October 2016

  1. It doesn’t come to a surprise to me at how inept our world governments, and the politicians that are supposed to represent us, truly are these days. They don’t even try to hide it much any more; yet much of the population still can’t see further than their Facebook or Twitter news feeds. Sometimes it really feels like we’re the only ones’ that can see the Emperor has no cloths. All they are really interested in is taking our money
    We’re facing a similar problem, here in Canada, with this “progressive” Liberal government. Pathetic, really.

  2. If it’s okay with you, Alan, I’d like to use your post here to get something off of my chest about the whole climate change initiative being forced down our throats by our government, here in Canada.

    Our rock-star leader, Trudeau, is now going to force upon the entire nation a “carbon tax” on all carbon producers, which of course will be passed on down to the consumer – namely, me. Of course, his government is not going to take into account any previous efforts by these producers, like the energy producers, here in Saskatchewan, that have already begun to put efforts into place, for which consumers (namely, me) have already begun paying. So, along with the rate increases – for say, electricity – now we’re threatened with yet another “carbon tax” on top of that.

    What really irks me is that, people like myself, who have chosen an off-the-grid lifestyle, are still being forced to pay the bill for the rest of the nation that is still living “the dream” (that is, big houses, multiple vehicles, travelling here and there on big vacations); Not to mention the amount of wasted energy and resources our own government is pissing away.

    Not to say that Janice and I are perfect, but, here we are, living in a 400 square foot house, using solar power as our primary source of electricity, driving one vehicle (at a time) and only when necessary, trying to raise our own food and buying locally when we can; reducing our “carbon footprint” immensely. Yet, here we are, once again, being penalized, by our government, by facing more taxes, while they sit there in their mansions and drafty fossil fuel heated government buildings, flying to and fro, burning up resources like there’s no tomorrow.

    These people really make me sick to my stomach. Sorry for the rant.

    1. Vent away David, it’s fine with me.

      I don’t know the situation /proposals in Canada, but it doesn’t sound very well thought out from how you’ve described it. I hope that they are only proposals at the moment and that there will be some consultation on them?

      We’ve had a number of different carbon emissions taxes for some time and whilst they are not perfect, when they were introduced nobody was taking the issues seriously so they did drive action. I don’t remember there being much pass through to the consumer in our case, but I could be wrong.

      Overall I think in our case it worked well, not perfect but it did drive action.

      I hope that there’s opportunities for dialogue on the Canadian proposals, particularly where there has already been strong action and some tightening of the rules to prevent pass through to the consumer. Even more so to those who are, or have already taken responsibility for their own actions and lifestyle.

      I know it’s unlikely to ever be perfect but it does sound like it isn’t quite right at least at the moment.

      1. Thanks, Alan.

        I do understand that some steps need to be taken in order to drive action. But, for us, who have taken action on our own accord, we continue to be penalized for the in-action of others; most notably our so called “leaders”. In my opinion, they’re all hypocrites.

        Just look at the news reels and tell me how many of our politicians drive Smart cars, or scooters, or other high fuel efficiency vehicles. So, they expect me to walk or bicycle everywhere I need to go, yet they get to drive their Lincolns and Mercedes. If they really want to drive change and make the world a better place, they should use their celebrity status and live by example.

        The world is so corrupt because we are being lead by corrupt people. It’s that simple.

    1. Very true. If time travel had been invented say five years ago and you’d travelled forward to 2016, I think people would have a harder time believing what you saw than the fact you’d travelled through time!

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