Climate Change – Getting Real

Despite the political and media obsession with Brexit and whilst it may seem like the biggest major crisis, the reality is that climate change will kill off the human race if we don’t take very serious action very soon.

At a local level I get sick of cycling behind pollution from diesel powered vehicles many of which could be electric powered because they only do local trips. The circular buses which serve Maghull & Lydiate and connect the community to railway stations and shopping center are just one obvious example where change to electric power should have happened years ago. And what about the Post Office’s local delivery vans too where similar very local runs must be being made day in day out. I’m sure there will be other examples…..

Air pollution is killing us all by shortening lives and it’s linked to dementia too. It’s a scandal that communities up and down the land, often the poorest ones, are being subjected to pollution levels that are simply far too high. Governments have know this for years but little has been done apart from a lot of wringing of hands.

That our present Government has dismantled virtually all the green initiatives brought in by the Coalition is astonishing when we have declared a climate emergency as those green cutbacks are taking place.

Another example is the lack of progress with building regulations. Why aren’t all new buildings being constructed with solar panels/tiles; they’ve been around for years, there really is no excuse.

I could go on but you get my drift………..

May’s creationist, climate change denying, anti-abortion wing!

Well who would have thought it, the Conservatives being kept in office by a political party who seem to have some significant sectarian issues together with other human rights prejudices that are a real worry.

Firstly, I was somewhat amused by this Northern Ireland Poster, which may well come back to haunt the DUP. Yes it’s from a previous election but you get my drift:-

But of course the DUP are allegedly the reason why the NI Assembly fell apart and is still dysfunctional. The issue? Bizarrely it was not not a sectarian or human rights issue, as you might expect, but a green energy one.

This short perspective on the DUP by New Scientist is an eye opener:-

www.newscientist.com/article/2134162-five-things-you-need-to-know-about-dup-politicians-and-science/

Looks like the DUP are about as far away from progressive politicians as you can find, indeed some of their views will be an embarrassment to even the Tories as they come more and more under the spotlight.

A Brexit Nation – Just what have we become?

As our NHS crumbles before our very eyes, as social care for the old and the vulnerable crumbles with it, as our world gets dangerously more warm by the day, the national debate (as presented to us by the press) often seems to be about far, far less pressing issues.

The colour of our next passport, whether we should recommission the Royal Yacht Britannia, the troubles of TV’s Bake Off and how we can keep out anyone from the UK particularly if they have anything but white skin and can’t speak the Queen’s English.

Without doubt the UK is taking leave of it senses and its priorities seem utterly bizarre.

The Tories will see off the NHS (which depends heavily on doctors and nurses from across the world simply to function) soon just by starving it of the funds and staff it so desperately needs. They will push the costs of health care by default (and social care for the elderly and vulnerable in particular) onto families. This is happening now, it will be worse tomorrow and next week, etc. etc. Is this not a pressing crisis?

Our world is getting dangerously warm whilst we fiddle around the edges not really getting to grips with what needs to be done to save our plant for future generations. Is this not a major crisis?

It really is about time we sobered up. Our all but racist society is shameful, our sitting back and watching as millions of refugees die is a national disgrace and the unwillingness to fund health and social care properly is utterly bizarre because we are quite literally shooting ourselves in the foot and we know it!

When was the last time we had a Prime Minister we could have any collective confidence in? There was a spectacularly false dawn in this regard when Tony Blair got elected because even those of us who did not vote for him thought he was about to bring about the kind of serious change the UK needed. He had his moments of course but then involved us in illegal wars that have brought terrorism to the streets of the UK. His appalling legacy far out-ways the good things he did.

But can you think of another PM of recent times that folks had any kind of collective confidence in? Wilson possibly in his early years?

Without doubt the UK is facing many a major crisis at present:-

Funding the NHS
Paying for Social Care
An over heated and dysfunctional housing market
Deeply worrying energy supply problems
Global warming
An inability to defend the Country
Racial intolerance
An aging population

And the colour of our next passport and whether the Royal Yacht Britannia is recommissioned etc. are supposedly big issues to us? How low will this once proud, caring and open-minded Country have to go before we take notice of the real troubles that are all around us?

Tories are ‘green’? No but they think we are!

I want this to be the ‘greenest government ever’ trumpeted Cameron when the Coalition Government came to power in 2010.

key_green_laws

Well yes it was probably a reasonable aspiration back then but only because the Lib Dems forced the Tories down a credible ‘green’ route.

However, since the Tories were given an overall majority by the electorate in 2015 they have done nothing but row back on all the environmental steps forward made in the previous 5 years ‘over their dead body’ by those bastard green Lib Dems.

Instead of ratcheting up the green policies as we need to do to save our world from environmental catastrophe they have been doing just the opposite! At best sitting back and saying we will reach our green targets (which were too low to start with) and at worst putting future generations at huge risk of that environmental catastrophe in its many forms. And all because Tory leaders think that Tory voters don’t care much for environmental issues and Cameron’s wafer thin House of Commons majority only cares about making the rich richer.

This is what the Lib Dems wanted to do to tackle climate change at the 2015 general election.

Five green laws:

A Nature Bill: key measures include legal targets for biodiversity, clean air, clean water and access to green space, extending the Right to Roam and establishing new marine and coastal reserves.
A Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill: key measures include building on the Green Deal with a national programme to raise the energy efficiency standards for all Britain’s households. We will legislate to boost renewable and district heating programmes and heat saving standards.
A Zero Waste Britain Bill: key measures include establishing a “Stern Report” on resource use, with binding targets and a clear action plan to reduce waste and end biodegradable landfill.
A Zero Carbon Britain Bill: key measures include introducing a decarbonisation target for electricity generation, expanding the powers of the Green Investment Bank and banning electricity generated from unabated coal.
A Green Transport Bill: key measures include establishing a full network of charging points for electric cars, only allowing low emission vehicles on the roads from 2040 and reforming planning law to ensure new developments are designed around walking, cycling and public transport.

Sadly, the electorate did not agree and backed a Tory party of very different views.

Also sadly Labour hardly makes any noise about environmental/green issues at a national level these days and at a local level their ‘green’ credentials are in tatters since they decided to build on Sefton’s high grade agricultural land.

Green Belt campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall.

Green campaigners outside Maghull Town Hall fighting against their own local authority over building on high grade agricultural land.

So who can stop the Tory’s mad policy plan to seemingly make our world a less safe place now and for certain so for future generations? One day, and that may not be very far down the track, people will say the Tory Government of 2015 – 2020 helped to cause harm instead of trying to stop harm to our world and that is a sad reflection on our times and maybe on us all collectively for allowing such a government to be elected.

We do not deliberately put our children and their children at risk yet collectively we often vote for very short-term matters whilst ignoring the far greater threats that we should be focusing on. Damn that Daily Mail way of viewing our world.

UK will run out of fossil fuels in 5 years – A sobering thought indeed!

Research from the Global Sustainability Institute, based at Anglia Ruskin University, claims the UK will run out of fossil fuels in just over 5 years. France is reportedly even worse off, with less than a year’s worth of fossil fuels in reserve, while Italy has less than a year of gas and coal and a single year of oil. The UK has 5.2 years of oil remaining, 4.5 years of coal and three years of gas before completely running out of fossil fuels. Russia, by contrast, has more than 500 years of coal, 100 years of gas and 50 years of oil. Dr Aled Jones, the director of the institute, said: “It is vital that those shaping Europe’s future political agenda understand our existing economic fragility.”

The Independent has the story:-

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/uk-to-run-out-of-fossil-fuels-in-five-years-9385415.html

Personally, I think the fossil fuels may last longer than 5 years in the UK but using them will simply contribute to global warming, climate change and extremes of weather. If this is not a call to arms for sustainable energy I don’t know what is. This could well be the next really big political crisis across Europe.

With thanks to the LGiU for this story

DIY energy fund – Sounds neat

Having worked with fellow Lib Dem councillors to cover Maghull Town Hall roof and Lydiate Village Centre roof with solar panels in 2010 the scheme outlined below looks interesting.

The screen that shows the energy generated and income that flows into Maghull Town Council's coffers because of Lib Dem 'green' action.

The Town Hall screen that shows the energy generated and income that flows into Maghull Town Council’s coffers because of Lib Dem ‘green’ action.

The Government has announced that local communities will be offered up to £150,000 each to create their own renewable energy through solar panels or wind turbines. Ed Davey, the Climate Change Secretary, will launch a £10m Urban Community Energy Fund to kickstart projects in England that could see 1m homes supplied with electricity from “home-made” generation by 2020. Neighbouring households are being encouraged to group together to apply for the funding, which could pay for solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectric generators that could save families hundreds of pounds a year in fuel bills.

These are the solar panels that generate an income for Maghull Town Council which the former Lib Dem administration had installed as part of the roofing project. This photo dates from March 2012

These are the solar panels that generate an income for Maghull Town Council which the former Lib Dem administration had installed as part of the roofing project. This photo dates from March 2012