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How To Avoid The Bulldozers

Yesterday the Court of Appeal in London ruled that an expansion to Heathrow airport was unlawful because a former UK Government Transport Secretary had failed to take into account the Paris Agreement on climate change when he was drawing up the National Policy Statement approving a third runway at the airport.

The government has decided not to appeal the decision, which means Boris Johnson can avoid his 2015 pledge to lie down in front of the bulldozers to prevent the runway being built. So no broken promises from the Prime Minister. Heathrow has said it is going to take the case to the Supreme Court, however, so Johnson isn't yet fully out of the woods.

Naturally the verdict has excited a lot of anger from those who think that it is rather embarrassing that the UK is only thinking about building one extra runway, rather than expanding a number of its airports in order to keep up with global demand and other countries' ability to answer big questions on aviation ca…
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Seagrass - improving our marine environment

Seagrass is a wonder-plant that lives in shallow, sheltered areas along our coast. It is vital to the health of our seas and can help address environmental problems.

Seagrass captures carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and, even though it only covers 0.2% of the sea floor, it can absorb 10% of the ocean’s carbon each year, making it an incredible tool in the fight against climate change.

Seagrass is vital for marine life, which depends on the meadows for food and shelter. A 10,000m2 area can support 80,000 fish and over a million invertebrates. Seagrass is an important nursery for endangered wildlife such as seahorses, as well as many of the fish we eat, including cod, plaice and pollock.

In the UK, up to 92 per cent of our seagrass has disappeared in the last century. Work needs to be done to restore this unique environment back to where it was.

One million seagrass seeds have been collected in 2019 from various sites around the country by a team of v…

Deforestation - an appetite for destruction

Our planet's forests are critical to the survival of the planet. It we loose then we loose the fight against  climate change. Our food choices are actually driving our forests to a tipping point.

In the time it takes to say the word ‘deforestation’, another chunk of forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed. That’s every two seconds, every single day.  

The leading cause of this deforestation is food production: including the food we eat right here in the UK. Too often it’s causing deforestation and making the climate crisis worse. Amazing places like the Amazon are being burned to clear land, which is then used to grow crops, particularly soy, to feed animals such as chicken, pigs and fish. Rainforests are also being destroyed to produce unsustainable palm oil and cocoa.  More information on this is available here.

While we can all do our best to eat more sustainably, too often there’s simply no way of knowing where deforestation might be hiding in our food. That…

5G Why All The Fuss?

The telecomms networks in the UK are due to be upgraded to 5G from 4G despite the fact some of us still struggle to get 1G in some areas.

The recent controversy over awarding a 5G contract to Chinese company Huawei is misleading.

There are only 3 companies in the UK capable of delivering a 5G network: Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson.

Huawei has been heavily involved in the roll-out of 4G with no fuss. If you want to follow the "advice" from the USA administration you would have to remove all the current 4G infrastructure that company has provided when you upgrade the network to 5G capability. That is totally unrealistic, would take years, delay 5G and cost a lot. The United States is wrong.

Yes, there may be security concerns but don't they exist right now with the 4G network? OK 5G is meant to herald the "internet of things" which is where the security risks come in. But, if you use a Chinese company right now to get things started can you not plan to switch to the…

No False Solutions on the climate emergency

To properly tackle the climate emergency we must not be taken in by false solutions and only implement real, practical ones.
Net Zero Emissions This means that any greenhouse gas emissions released must be balanced by absorbing an equal amount back out of the atmosphere. This is not the same as zero emissions. Advocating net zero means you continue to burn fossil fuels and offset them by planting trees, restoring peatlands or untested solution like Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS).
Negative Emissions This relies on use removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. However, action on this has been delayed for years that it's very unlikely to help meet the 1.5 Celsius target. Tree planting etc have a limited capacity to soak up infinite amounts of carbon. They need to be done at the same time as cutting climate pollutions in all its forms not instead of.
Carbon Capture and Storage An idea that suggests it is possible to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it under…

Right. Well. Barbarism it is, then.

In last week’s election, the Labour Party was all but wiped out in the biggest defeat for the British left since 1935. It was butchery. And Boris Johnson, the pound shop Trump, the smug lying thug, the boarding school bully with ballistic charisma, now has an eighty-seat majority.

That’s more power than any Tory leader has had since Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. He can do whatever he wants now. Which is all he ever wanted. Which makes him simultaneously more terrifying than any ideologue, and the living grnning example of the late great Douglas’ Adams maxim that anyone who is capable of being made president of the Universe should on no account be allowed to do the job.

This is not a normal Conservative victory. Johnson came to power as an interim leader and immediately shut down the government. He was threatening journalists and funnelling public money to his friends before it was cool. Boris went on TV and smashed through a wall on a forklift truck that said “Get Brexit Done”—an i…

Green New Deal & Just Transition

The Climate Emergency gets more urgent. Public clamour for action grows louder. The idea of a Green New Deal - first advanced over 10 years ago - has gained new traction.

A Green New Deal is about transforming our economy to address the climate emergency. It includes radical, robust, tough climate emissions reductions in the next 10 years, large scale investment in green infrastructure regulating markets, a focus on public good, private bad, collective or public ownership of infrastructure.

The Just Transition stance brings a focus on the need to ensure there is a zero carbon economy and this transition must be managed in a way that workers and communities in carbon dependent industries are not left behind. It requires us to move to a zero carbon economy in ways that protects livelihoods, unlocks new opportunities and delivers a fairer country.

That requires us here in Scotland to stop exploring for new oil and gas by ending government support. Existing sites must be phased out of use…