Patents and pollution | Brussels Blog

Patents and pollution

posted by on 5th Oct 2018
5th,Oct

The rich have screwed the climate

Now we must pay them to clean it up

As Former Environmental Editor of The Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey Ball is well positioned to understand the thinking of the richest 1% of the world’s population. However, he doesn’t seem to blame them for their pollution which is destroying our climate. The Oxfam infographic above shows that the rich are the worst polluters by some distance.

Speaking on the Climate Change and Big Money for New Technology podcast, Ball said:

”Solving environmental problems is about money and solving the mother of all environmental problems, climate change, is about a lot of money …no matter how much money any state or country spends on actions around climate change is gonna pale in comparison to what the private markets can spend and if the world is going to muster action to deal meaningfully with climate change (which by the way it is not now doing) that’s going to depend mostly on on the flow of private money”.

He says that governments can’t solve the problem because they haven’t nearly enough money they can spend. Instead, they must set policies that unleash private money: massive trillions of dollars in investment.

The result: Don’t make wealthy polluters pay, governments must simulate the market to give them good investment opportunities. To paraphrase that old song:

“It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure and the rich wot gets the gain.”

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Garden Cities and Green Evolutionary Settlements

posted by on 11th Sep 2018
11th,Sep

Garden Cities and ‘Green Evolutionary Settlements’

Ebeneezer Howard’s plan for Garden Cities

Finding ways of living, that do not challenge life on Earth,
is urgent and difficult – and it is urgent. I interrupted
this to write Climate change:It’s still worse than you think
because what follows is influenced by a horror of what
we are doing. ‘We’ meaning us in the rich world – and
we have set bad examples for so-called developing nations
to follow.

Rereading ‘It’s still worse’, I find it rather limp. The
situation is so bad that probably even Kevin Anderson,
one of the most ‘alarmist’ scientists, is a bit softcore.

But note what he says:

“If you drink half a litre of beer with
a politician or scientist they will tell
you how bad it is – but if you put a
microphone there they will tell you
some optimistic nonsense about
climate change.”

My “It’s still worse” reports just a few of my frustrating
experiences in grappling with the official mainstream
line. They (whoever ‘they’ are) aren’t being straight
with us.

The situation is quite desperate.

I’m glad I’m old and will die before the worst.

Anyway …

Here I compare the well established idea of Garden Cities with a different, ‘Green Settlement’, approach.

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Climate change: It’s still worse than you think

posted by on 9th Sep 2018
9th,Sep

Climate change: It’s still worse than you think

Everybody knows that but …” says Jonathan

I enjoy the view from the top of the Clapham Omnibus.

I’m in the middle of writing a piece on Green Settlements and just realised that some of the argument is driven by the urgency of climate change but the mainstream media and many scientists – who tend to be media favorites – won’t tell us the awful truth. Politicians speak to issues that they hear on the doorstep or get from focus groups – focus groups that will be unaware of the urgency.

This is a placeholder for a more considered piece – If I ever get around to it.

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Nonsense on Land Values

posted by on 30th Aug 2018
30th,Aug

Nonsense on Land Values

UK land is worth about £20,000 a hectare. Total value less than £500 billion.

The Telegraph reports UK land is worth £5,400 billion

Under the headline Land and house prices push UK’s total worth up to £10 trillion, of the Telegraph writes:

Land is now worth £5.4 trillion, which amounts to 53pc of all wealth in the country. This is up from one-third of net assets in 1995, and means land is close to its record high share of 53.3pc of total worth, which it hit in the boom years of 2006 and 2007.

and

Housing wealth makes up 17.8pc of the UK’s net worth, and added to land this takes the two to a total of 70.7pc of net assets.

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Cheating with temperature

posted by on 27th Aug 2018
27th,Aug

Cheating with temperature.

United Nations and equitable sharing

Most of us struggle to find ways of making climate policy understandable. Recently I’ve looked at UN Resolution 42/187 now written into UK planning law. Paragraph 4 of Resolution 42/187 says

Agrees further that an equitable sharing of the environmental costs and benefits of economic development between and within countries and between present and future generations is a key to achieving sustainable development;

One of the consequences of the UN resolution is: One nation must not have a high carbon lifestyle and rely on other nations to have low carbon lifestyles. That’s not “equitable sharing”.

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Ministry: No homes for motorists.

posted by on 11th Aug 2018
11th,Aug

Ministry of Housing: No homes for motorists.

Derwenthorpe: Pleasant but unsustainable

It’s hard to see that the lifestyles of motorists are compatible with continued life on Earth.

Let me give an example: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation got researchers at the University of York to look at the new development at Derwenthorpe, York, using their REAP Petite software. Derwenthorpe was meant to be sustainable and have a low carbon footprint but it achieved a planet-destroying footprint of 14.52 tonnes CO2e per resident per year. This was worse than the average for York as a whole, which was still planet-destroying at 14.30 tonnes CO2e.

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Population is a planet emergency but …

posted by on 3rd Aug 2018
3rd,Aug

Population is a planet emergency but …

Whataboutery and the carbon cost of children

I do not sneer at ‘whataboutery’, the practice of responding to an accusation by making a counter-accusation. An example:

Diesel cars kill tens of thousands due to pollution – but what about driving petrol cars. That is worse because they cause greater CO2 emissions, which will kill many more through climate change.

There is an excellent piece by Peter Hitchens defending whataboutery. He quotes The Gospel according to St Matthew Chapter 7, vv 3-5, where:

Our Lord says : ‘And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

However, grossly exaggerated claims about the carbon cost of having children can cause a dangerous form of whataboutery:

I’m OK trashing the climate but you have children and that’s much worse.

Here is the example that I came across recently:

A teacher with no children goes on several big flights a year. She has a lifestyle far more sustainable than a family of 5, no matter how little they travel.

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Land, labour and food

posted by on 23rd Jun 2018
23rd,Jun

#PlanForLocalFood

Land, labour and food

… and the greenbelt

Peter Breugel showed labour can have it’s own value – even if productivity is low.

Let’s build on the polluted greenbelt

A common argument in favour of greenbelt policy is that land is required for food production with a rising world population. However, Professor Cheshire points out horsey culture and golf courses on greenbelt land do not produce food. There is also the issue of food wastage and the destruction of food-value with the conversion of economically ‘inferior’ foods to ‘superior’ foods as discussed in It’s the poor that starve. Another post Pollution in the countryside discussed the destructive effects of modern farming methods on medium term soil fertility.

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Car-free estates of wooden prefabs with inbuilt market gardens.

posted by on 16th May 2018
16th,May

I have a series of posts on DontLookNow.org looking for solutions to the housing crisis. Solutions should be cheap, friendly and don’t screw the world up. Using the Sherlock Homes method of eliminating the impossible, the best answer so far seems to be car-free estates of wooden prefabs – with inbuilt market gardens.

Improve these prefabs with modern cross-ply timber…

and add market gardens.

Could this change the way we live?

I hope so.

Anyway please look at Housing – part 16: Cheap, neighbourly and doesn’t screw the world up. (Especially the section “A new Ministry of Works … & starter homes for £20,000”.)

Also there was a EC study commissioned by Carlo Ripa di Meana which concluded “the car-free city costs between two and five times less”

Brilliant climate talk by Kevin Anderson

posted by on 12th May 2018
12th,May

Brilliant climate talk by Kevin Anderson

‘If you drink half a litre of beer with a politician or
scientist they will tell you how bad it is – but if you
put a microphone there they will tell you some
optimistic nonsense about climate change.’

So now let’s have an index for #CarbonBudgetMorality as outlined in Are you evil or very evil?

The remaining carbon budget morality index

This would help any campaign to plan new settlements which are cheap, friendly and don’t screw the climate.  Most new settlements are in the range ‘Evil’ or above – even so-called eco-settlements.

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