Monday, 21 November 2011

weekly compilation 21.11.11

Here's our regular feature, which gives you a round up of some of the most relevant news stories to our work picked up from twitter over the last week:

Energy & Climate Change
RT @wwwfoecouk: Greenhouse gas levels hit new high: - we're hurtling towards climate disaster

brilliant RT @wwwfoecouk Cameron's words come back to haunt him as workers respond to plans to kill off #solar industry

Npower fined again: Energy company fined over customer complaints

God joins campaign to save solar Feed-in Tariffs (well, the Church of England does)

Mass lobby of Parliament on 22nd November in response to #FITchaos - details here - see you there!

RT @guardianeco: Liberal Democrats prepare to revolt over solar subsidies crackdown

Has climate economics evolved much since Stern Report? See my blog on @SEIclimate report at

RT @tealgreen68: Ben Goldsmith lays out the general argument for renewables subsidies well in Economist debate:

RT @wwwfoecouk: Blog: A new word drills its way into our consciousness: 'Fracking' is one of the top words of 2011:

RT @TreeHugger: Wind Power to be as Cheap as Natural Gas by 2016 via @bcmerchant

RT @uSwitchUK: What do you think about #nuclear power?@wwwfoecouk & Nuclear Industry Association put cases forward:

RT @nukereaction: 'Eccentric' nuclear plans threaten UK's part in renewables revolution, expert warns

Localism Bill becomes law: Missed opportunity to plan for a better future

RT @Roads2Nowhere: Traffic levels are falling. Build on this trend, not on the countryside! > Or useful city spaces!

We also used the peak car and falling car usage arguments in our submission on low carbon transport to BCC last week:

Bitter airline rivals fly the same flag to fight tax rise. APD might rise by 25% in 2012 in Chancellor's budget

Government must stand firm on Air Passenger Duty: Airlines lobby Ministers for further tax…

Some good news for North Brum: RT @birminghammail Work starts on bike route scheme in Erdington and Sutton Coldfield

HT @alexcburrows Absolutely shocking that govt not willing to give money for Midland rail projects, only SE!! #rail

RT @KingsHeathRF: Next residents' forum meeting 6th Dec at Community Centre - any thoughts on how to improve traffic issues in High Street?

Our press statement about the fuel duty debate is now up on the website:

RT @wwwfoecouk: Brits bin food worth £12bn each year: 60% fine to eat & rest could feed animals or make compost:

We are one with those who raise their voices against corporate greed & who speak out for social equity... #occupy #99%

We have some things to be thankful for. At least our govt would never class pizza as a vegetable, would they?

RT @theneweconomics The UK's economic problems are domestic, not international: >that's right- green investment needed.

A Christmas ad to send shivers down your spine. Remember Buy Nothing Day is next Saturday 26th November:

Just how much meat can eco-citizens eat? > No mention here of better farming practices, though.

Event: Greening the Green Deal: 30 Nov 7pm for West Mids communities to feed in to Green Deal consultation

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

HS2 - select committee findings

Somehow the transport select committee today gave support for the government's High Speed Rail plans, yet with such caveats that you wonder quite how the overall report they provide can come to that conclusion.

Almost everyone accepts that capacity on the rail network needs to be dealt with and that many rail services across the country fall well the below the standards we would like. What is baffling, however, is that whilst saying;

"A high-speed line operating at less than 250mph may offer greater opportunities for mitigation, as well as an opportunity to follow existing transport corridors.
"We are concerned the decision to build a 250mph line prematurely ruled out other route options."

they still gave the HS2 plan support. Why could they not say "We cannot support it at this design speed and until the issues over the country's transport strategy are resolved"?

I was on the radio this morning and spoke after Louise Ellman (chair of the select committee), who was quite clear that there are no environmental benefits of the scheme and that it will not cut carbon. The report says;

"It is not clear that even the Y-network will substantially reduce demand for domestic aviation.

"HS2 should not be promoted as a carbon-reduction scheme."
yet at this time when we desperately need to be cutting CO2 emissions from transport, they still approved it. Why not say "We cannot support it unless it is part of an overall strategy to cut carbon emissions from transport"?

Friends of the Earth are signed up to the Right Lines Charter along with many other environmental NGOs and this report does seem to endorse a lot of what that says about what the plan should do in order to be a good plan for High Speed Rail, yet it doesn't go far enough.

We need a transport system that is fit for a low carbon future of scarce resources and that means a much better plan than currently exists. I'm glad the the select committee have identified so many the flaws in the government's plan, but wish they had gone further with their recommendations and recognised the value in protecting the environment above the rather dubious job-creation claims.

Joe Peacock

Monday, 7 November 2011

weekly compilation 07.11.2011

Here's the regular feature with a compilation of stories we've picked up on twitter. Apologies for not getting it out for a few weeks:
Energy & Climate Change
Friends of the Earth threatens legal challenge over plans to slash solar subsidies:

RT @centre_alt_tech: Five reasons why the feed in tariff cuts are a bad idea

RT @wwwfoecouk: Blog: Dodgy digits in the fight against renewables: new anti-renewables report ignores cost…

Taking the fifth option = the utmost selfishness and lack of compassion for fellow human beings:

24th Nov, Sutton Coldfield, African Climate Connection talk & free viewing: “Taking Root: The Story of Wangari Maathai”

RT @wee_dave: FITs takeup to be cut by "up to 92%" by new EPC requirement, confirms Govt

You should read the comments on this website about the effect of the cuts to FiTs and then help with the campaign:

Have you seen the film Dirty Oil yet? If not there's a free showing on November 29th: - we'll be there.

Cameron side-steps call to intervene in solar subsidy fiasco - via@BusinessGreen #FiTs #stepchange

More proof of why it's madness to be trying to extract shale gas revealed today. This must stop as we have said:

Phil Beardmore of Localise West Mids warns the Green Deal's flaws leave those in fuel poverty worryingly exposed

Government Cuts Solar Energy Support – Birmingham Friends Of The Earth Reaction: Plus great quote from New World Solar

RT @pauldezylva: Warm front: UKGov £10m to fight #fuelpovertyfollows a £235m cut in the same budget. #coldcomfort

More supermarkets = more deserts: RT @newoptimists Do Birmingham's poorest live in "food deserts" ? #tnofood #brum

‘Ten Steps to Save the Cities’ is something Birmingham City Council and all involved in regeneration should read:

Wind turbine plans stuck in system due to air traffic fears can now go ahead due to advances in radar technology:

This is a massive road-building fund from the government, isn't it? Can't see any other transport in there!

Billionaires to be given free carbon allowances to offset green tax on private jets.Strange, unjust but true Telegraph

If you want to see @wwwfoecouk's very detailed response to the sustainable aviation consultation, it's available here:

Thames Estuary #airport plan slammed:

RT @BCAWatch: Gatwick chairman says aviation in ‘dialogue of the deaf’ with environmental groups

Speed cameras are there to enforce the law, not "gold-mines" otherwise there would be a lot more. They cost money:

RT @AirportWatch: Labour (Maria Eagle) drops support for Heathrow 3rd runway & unveils new #HS2 route to Birmingham:

RT @sustrans: Reducing limits to 20mph could prevent as many as 580 child deaths and serious injuries in UK each year:

Waste & Recycling
Recycling rates in England top 40% for the first time, but growth is slowing - we need to talk half as much rubbish:

Horrible that they were faced with this dilemma: "flood Heathrow or a river with sewage?" and guess what they chose:

Awful environmentally and ethically: RT @guardianeco: British shoppers bin nearly 10% of weekly shop, figures show

RT @politicsinbrum: Public Debate: ‘A Mayor for Birmingham?’, speakers to include Gisela Stuart MP – Fri Nov 25th – Onneley House, B17 9AA

Excellent! RT @guardianeco Blow for Foston mega pig-farm as plans fail to gain council approval #derbyshire

Well worth a read as population hits 7 billion:

RT @acroline: Bham City Council have launched their consultation for 2012/13 budget. Have your say on the online survey