Climate, planning, economy. Tips 11+ | Brussels Blog

Climate, planning, economy. Tips 11+

posted by on 9th Aug 2022

Not ordered by importance.


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Climate, planning, economy. Tips 1+

posted by on 7th Aug 2022

Not ordered by importance.


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York strategy consultations – a response

posted by on 6th Aug 2022
York Council strategies show little care for inequality or the climate crisis.

Climate change and inequality

Would Greta say York Council is lying?

In A Net Zero Carbon Roadmap for York, Professor Gouldson estimated York’s share of the remaining carbon budget for 1.5°C. It was 50 tonnes CO2e per citizen from the beginning of 2020.

The remaining carbon budget is the amount of greenhouse gases, that humanity can emit while still having a chance to contain global warming within 1.5°C compared with pre-industrial levels, as advocated by the Paris Agreement.

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The missing link – Town Planning

posted by on 23rd Jul 2022
Shanghai interchange

Economic polices are not enough

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Cutting carbon without cutting jobs

posted by on 7th Jul 2022

Flying is one of the most carbon intensive activities:
More CO2 emitted for every pound spen

Carbon intensity

As noted in the previous post, Green Growth or Degrowth, carbon intensity is a measure of the amount of CO2 emitted (in grams CO2) for each unit of economic output (e.g. in £). Worldwide it’s presently over 500 grams CO2 for every £ of economic output produced.

Activities with high carbon intensities

For 50 years or more carbon intensity has declined: For a given amount of economic output (Gross Domestic Product or GDP) there has been less CO2 emitted. This has been a steady downward trend. Doubling the rate of decline only allows a very small increase in GDP – if emissions are to keep within carbon budgets.

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Green Growth or Degrowth?

posted by on 3rd Jul 2022

This post sets aside the concerns of the previous post, Net-zero is not good enough. This post discusses strategies to get to net-zero – the time when residual emissions of greenhouse gases are balanced by their removal. It relies on two excerpts from the Global Carbon Project 2021– plus an estimate of future economic growth from the International Monetary Fund.

Figure 1 from the Global Carbon Budget 2022, with annotation.

Carbon intensity

The link between greenhouse gas emissions and economic activity (GDP) is strong: The greater GDP, the greater the emissions of greenhouse gases.

There is a simple factor, which helps understanding of this relationship. It is the carbon intensity of economic output, a measure of the amount of CO2 emitted (in grams CO2) for every unit of economic output (e.g. in £). Worldwide it’s presently over 500 grams CO2 for every £ of economic output produced.

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Net-zero is not good enough

posted by on 29th Jun 2022

According to some climate models, the surface temperature of the Earth stabilises when net-zero greenhouse gas emissions are achieved. This does not stop the Earth from heating as:

  • Ice keeps melting
  • Oceans keep warming
  • Permafrost keeps thawing

These will continue to have serious effects and dangers.

This means net-zero is not good enough.

Cooking a cake and cooking the Earth

When the surface of the cake reaches oven temperature,
the inside of the cake is still heating

larger fruit cakes can take 5 to 6 hours to cook through. As long as the centre of the cake is cooked thoroughly and has risen above 75°C the risk of food poisoning is low.


I have been very surprised by the lack of understanding about the way in which Earth is warming. Nigella’s cake will be an analogue of the Earth, for those who misunderstand.

When the cake is put into the oven and the heat switched on, electricity heats the oven till it reaches 130 °C. Soon after, the surface of the cake reaches 130°C (well nearly!) and stays at that temperature. Just below the surface, the cake is still heating. It takes several hours for the heat to penetrate deeper.

The greenhouse effect is heating the Earth due to extra greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the cake analogue these gases are like the electricity that heats the oven.

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posted by on 3rd Feb 2022

Needs updating but see Geoff Elsewhere.

The assetocracy & screwing the poor.

posted by on 26th Dec 2021

A Twitter thread on the main cause of inequality in the UK is below. This cause is …

The increase in property wealth of the rich and affluent.


  • 1. Wealth in Europe is 50% housing wealth: Wealth in all buildings is more than 50%.
  • 2. The value of the actual buildings is small compared to the land they stand on.
  • 3. 50% of the wealth in the UK is the right to have buildings on land.
  • 4. Planning restrictions on building keep the value of these “rights” high.
  • 5. The planning system is the major cause of inequality in the UK.

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Greenwash: National, Regional & Local

posted by on 30th Oct 2021


1. National Greenwash

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The UK Government Department with the climate brief is the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). I have argued elsewhere that they are not suited to this brief.

Alok votes against climate and becomes President of COP26

In January, their Secretary of State for BEIS, Alok Sharma, was appointed full-time President for COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference.

In the UK Parliament, Alok voting record showed little appetite for stopping climate change: 4 votes to stop it, 17 votes against stopping it. He voted for the expansion of Heathrow airport.

Fossil fuel companies get more access

Worryingly, during the run-up to COP26, fossil fuel companies have been given special access to BEIS ministers. DeSmog reports:

Analysis by DeSmog shows ministers met representatives from companies including Shell, BP and ExxonMobil 149 times between April and June, the three months covered by the transparency data release. Ministers met renewable energy producers just 17 times over the same period, of which 11 meetings were with Danish power company Ørsted.

The revelations sparked concern among campaigners, who cited an apparent contradiction between the UK government’s net-zero target and the privileged access given to big polluters.

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