York Central: Open letter to City of York Councillors | Brussels Blog

York Central: Open letter to City of York Councillors

posted by on 23rd Mar 2019

The floods in Mozambique are another call to wake us to the destruction of climate change.

The Pollution Tax Association, a small group of York residents, worried about similar floods in 2000, saying in a press release:

The York Branch of the Pollution Tax Association today donated £750 to the Oxfam Mozambique Appeal Fund.

“The human and environmental catastrophe in Mozambique is a result of climate change caused by pollution” said the Chair of the Pollution Tax Association. “We in the west need to give careful thought as to how we can reduce environmental pollution. Local actions, such as using your car when you don’t need to, have global consequences”.

At the time the link between climate change and the floods was considered speculative. Now Channel 4’s report points to a clearer link with climate change:

Climate scientists have been warning the world for decades that manmade climate change would do two things it would mean that hurricanes and cyclones will become more and more intense and that therefore some of the people with the world’s smallest carbon footprints would pay the heaviest price.

The key point in my objection is that the proposed York Central development would be responsible for substantial emissions of greenhouse gasses, which may not been properly assessed.

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York Central: A climate disaster

posted by on 13th Mar 2019

York Central is a climate disaster

UN Secretary General warns on Climate Change

The climate crisis

In September 2018, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, delivered a warning:

Dear friends of planet Earth,

Thank you for coming to the UN Headquarters today.

I have asked you here to sound the alarm.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment.

We face a direct existential threat.

Climate change is moving faster than we are – and its speed has provoked a sonic boom SOS across our world.

If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.

As the Secretary General said

“We face a direct existential threat”.

Developments like that proposed for York Central increase this threat and as such are probably illegal.

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Carbon emissions in the lifetimes of cars

posted by on 11th Mar 2019

This is a note about the carbon emissions from new cars during their lifetimes and the relationship with the remaining carbon budget.

The remaining carbon budget

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The UK will be over 4 times over budget

posted by on 4th Mar 2019

Sending manufacturing overseas lowers our production based emission but then we import the goods increasing our consumption emissions.

Good progress? UK’s CO2 emissions keep falling

Carbon Brief has shown UK’s CO2 emissions fell for record sixth consecutive year:

The UK’s CO2 emissions have now been falling for six consecutive years, the longest run of reductions in records going back to 1850 (the blue area in the chart, below).

There were particularly large falls in 2014 (8.7%) and 2016 (5.9%), with 2018 seeing a more modest 1.5% reduction, according to Carbon Brief’s analysis. This means the UK’s CO2 emissions stood 39% below 1990 levels at an estimated 361MtCO2 in 2018.

This article measured the CO2 emissions from energy use in the UK. Emissions from making imported goods are not counted so when the UK manufacturing shuts down and its goods are replaced by imports, these measures fall.

This good progress will be hard to follow

On the BBC News Channel, Dr Simon Evans of Climate Brief did point out that “something like 97% of the reduction was down to using less coal to generate electricity so other parts of the economy aren’t doing so well”.

Now  there is a much less coal fired electricity generation this good progress will be harder too follow.

More good progress?

Another ‘good progress’ story is in a letter to Nature, Drivers of declining CO2 emissions in 18 developed economies, by Le Quéré et al. It shows that countries with the correct policies can lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions:

Here we analyse the drivers of decreasing CO2 emissions in a group of 18 developed economies that have decarbonized over the period 2005–2015. We show that within this group, the displacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy and decreases in energy use explain decreasing CO2 emissions. However, the decrease in energy use can be explained at least in part by a lower growth in gross domestic product.

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Green & Vegan map of York

posted by on 10th Feb 2019

This is a prototype – to be improved.


Items stocked

Items: Vegan ‘cheeses’

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“I want you to panic”

posted by on 28th Jan 2019

According to the IPCC , we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50%.

And please note that those numbers do not include the aspect of equity, which is absolutely necessary to make the Paris agreement work on a global scale.

Nor does it include tipping points or feedback loops like the extremely powerful methane gas released from the thawing Arctic permafrost.

The IPCC 1.5 °C report used models that omitted these feedbacks

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Starter homes for less than £20K

posted by on 24th Jan 2019

Starter homes for less than £20K.

“it’s not my bricks and mortar that’s gone up in value, it’s the
permission I have to have a house in my particular Street”

At agricultural prices a plot big enough for a house with a reasonably sized garden costs about £1000. A starter home, the M2, shown in this second video, can be bought from Poland for about £10,000 [1]. There are other options this cheap.

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Carbon budgets, car free living and happy degrowth

posted by on 21st Jan 2019

“the car-free city costs between two and five times less”

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Recommendations for the York Local Plan

posted by on 17th Jan 2019

Summary of recommendations for the York Local Plan

Previous articles in this series on the submitted York Local Plan have identified these points:

P1) The planning gain embodied in the plan is in the order of £2.5 billion. This will accrue to land owners.

P2) Over the past 20 years, the value of dwellings in York has risen by over £10 billion benefiting the affluent but increasing the housing costs of the less affluent.

P3) The plan will have the effect of driving the less affluent out of York – including native-born young people.

P4) The proposed greenbelt will preserve planning gain and high housing costs. The amenity value of the greenbelt is greatly overestimated.

P5) The plan allows developments that are extremely damaging to the climate. This is contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The current plan will be open to legal challenge on these grounds.

P6) The plan should try to avoid a rapid fall in house prices, placing existing residents in negative equity. The article Planning permission is not a natural resource is a technical precursor.

The previous article Cheap housing, negative equity and crashing the banks ended:

The search is now on for policies which can provide cheap housing – lots of it – and to avoid a dramatic fall in house prices. In addition to promote lifestyles that will not ruin the climate.

Once the effects of the climate restrictions in the NPPF are accepted, there is an obvious solution: All new housing in York must be for residents without cars. (There will be a further paper which will include some possible exceptions for individuals in these developments.)

Making all new housing car-free addresses  P1 to P6 above:

P1) It allows a large expansion of the housing supply at a much cheaper cost.

P2) It does not cause a precipitous reduction in existing house prices because,
in the short term, existing dwellings with have a premium value to car

P3) It allows a large reduction in the cost of housing for the less affluent

P4) It allows for the development of ways of living that are within climate constraints.

Of course, the planned green belt should be scrapped. It ossifies a very bad plan and prevents the flexible development of York at a time when it is necessary to make large changes to the way we live.

A bad plan ossified is worse than no plan at all.


Cheap housing, negative equity and crashing the banks

posted by on 17th Jan 2019

Cheap housing, negative equity and crashing the banks

A blast from the past (2004)

Planning permits (again)

A previous article, Planning permission is not a natural resource, gave a meaning to the term planning permit: A planning permit is a right to have a building or ‘other structure’ on a plot of land It is a separate entity from the physical land of the plot.

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