Notes for Climate, Poverty and Planning | Brussels Blog

Notes for Climate, Poverty and Planning

posted by on 24th Nov 2018

1) CO2 emissions by rich and poor:



Richest 10% cause half the emissions.
Poorest 10% cause 1% of the emissions.

2) Carbon budget for 1.5°C

continue reading…

Planning gain in the York Local Plan

posted by on 24th Oct 2018

Planning gain in the York Local Plan

The estimates below suggest the total planning gain is
equal to 30 years of the council tax that York collects.

It’s not paid to York citizens, it goes to lucky landowners.

The £2.5 billion is enough to build 10 new large hospitals
or 150 secondary schools, with 1,000 pupils each

—  or even 10,000 new Bentley’s for the Lord Mayor

10,000 Bentley’s for the Lord Mayor?

Planning gain is the difference in the value of undeveloped land without planning permission and the value of the land after planning permission is granted.

continue reading…

Patents and pollution

posted by on 5th Oct 2018

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.”

continue reading…

Garden Cities and Green Evolutionary Settlements

posted by on 11th Sep 2018

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.
It must be atop priority for planners of villages, towns and cities.

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

continue reading…

Climate change: It’s still worse than you think

posted by on 9th Sep 2018

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.

continue reading…

Nonsense on Land Values

posted by on 30th Aug 2018

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.


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.

continue reading…

Cheating with temperature

posted by on 27th Aug 2018

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”.

continue reading…

No more new homes for motorists.

posted by on 11th Aug 2018

Key to this argument is the analysis and publication
of details of life at the Derwenthorpe development.
Thank you Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

No more new 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.

continue reading…

Population is a planet emergency but …

posted by on 3rd Aug 2018

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.

continue reading…

Land, labour and food

posted by on 23rd Jun 2018


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.

continue reading…