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“The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? Who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully.” (Psalm 24.1-4)
“You were in Eden , the garden of God . . . With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you. You were on the holy mountain of God . You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned, so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God .” (Ezekiel 28.13-16)
Monday 1 st November
In last month's Spending Review the Department for Energy & Climate Change ( DECC ) was to suffer an annual cut of 5% but was allowed 41% increased capital expenditure. £1 billion of this will fund a Green Investment Bank, but for many this is not enough. Greenpeace comments: “A poorly-financed bank is not a green bank. If it doesn't have the financial clout or the independence to do the job, it will end up as nothing more than an ill-equipped quango.” Tarmac's head of sustainability fears that the result will be a cut-price Green Investment Bank “that will not provide the catalyst that Britain needs to make the transfer to a low-carbon economy.”
Tuesday 2 nd November
A further £1 billion was secured for Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS ) though the pitch was queered by the decision of energy giant E.ON not to build a coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth incorporating CCS technology. This leaves Scottish Power as the only major player interested in developing CCS in the UK . A major obstacle remains the fact that 10-15% extra energy consumption will be required to operate any CCS system.
Wednesday 3 rd November
The Renewable Heat Incentive ( RHI ) will go ahead from next April with £860 million funding to drive a tenfold increase in renewable heat supply (solar hot water, biomass boilers and district heating) over the next 10 years. From 2013 a Green Deal for energy efficiency will support insulation and heating for the most vulnerable people. The Energy Saving Trust and Carbon Trust will continue, but their activities will be reviewed.
Thursday 4 th November
A third of Welsh jobs lie in the public sector, where deep cuts are forecast. Jane Davidson, an environment minister, calls for co-operation between local authorities and the third sector to encourage community recycling and re-use groups. “Third sector organisations working in the waste management field make significant contributions to their communities over and above their delivery of recycling and re-use services. If the rest of the UK were to adopt the same high recycling rate as Wales , this would create more than 50,000 new jobs.”
Friday 5 th November
Speaking at the Passivhaus Conference last month, Chris Huhne stressed his commitment to seeing that all new homes post-2016 should be zero carbon with a minimum standard of fabric efficiency. “We also need to make existing homes more energy efficient. The Technology Strategy Board's Retrofit for the Future competition gives fantastic examples of what is technically possible. But it also highlights the cost and disruption as houses are stripped to their bare bones before efficiency measures are installed. .” The Green Deal contained in this year's Energy Bill will provide a straightforward way for people to find out about energy efficiency, how to finance the work and feel the benefits – a chance to improve their homes without covering all the upfront costs.
Saturday 6 th November
The annual CEL members' meeting takes place today from 2 till 5 pm at the Magdalen Centre, Eversholt Street , London NW1 1BN , near Euston station. The workshops will include one on Ecocell Stage Two – a programme to help us all to adapt our lives to the prospect of a simpler, more fulfilling, low-carbon future.
Sunday 7 th November
Help us, Father, to become more faithful caretakers of your world. May our actions preserve and not destroy. May our achievements bring benefits and not disasters. Open our eyes, Lord, to the needs of others. Take away selfishness and greed. May praise, honour and glory be given to you for all your great goodness to us and our nation.
Monday 8 th November
A new WWF paper “Plugging the Gap” reports scientific findings that the world must limit annual CO2 emissions to 40 gigatonnes by 2020 if we are to avoid crossing the dangerous threshold of a 1.5 0 C. warming over pre-industrial levels. Currently the world is on track to reach emission levels of 47.9-53.6 gigatonnes a year by 2020. However 4.3 gigatonnes can be saved if industrialised countries adopt science-based emission reduction targets. A further 2.4 gigatonnes can be saved if the Clean Development Mechanism stopped double-counting emission cuts in both developed and developing countries,
plus a further 1.7 gigatonnes by giving additional support to developing countries for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Tuesday 9 th November
The WWF 2010 Living Planet Report finds that human demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966. If the rest of the world consumed as we do in the UK , we would be using the equivalent of 2.75 planets to sustain our lifestyles. “The loss of biodiversity and habitats undermines the natural systems on which we depend for the food we eat, the air we breathe and the stable climate we need. The depletion of natural resources also poses risks to our economic security, increasing the price of food and raw materials. So the time to take action is now.”
Wednesday 10 th November
An FoE report “From Forest to Fork” estimates that in 2009 alone 1,200 square miles (twice the area of Greater London) of Brazil 's forests and grasslands were lost due to the British demand for soy-based animal feed for our factory farms, along with imports of beef, poultry and pork. The report shows how the pressure can be eased by reducing the demand. The Sustainable Livestock Bill sponsored by Robert Flello MP aims to reduce the impact of UK factory farms on Brazilian rainforests. “The link between factory farms and rainforest destruction can be broken. Our Sunday roast does not have to cost the Earth.”
Thursday 11 th November
“Healthy Planet Eating” is a new FoE report presenting research from Oxford University 's Department of Health. It finds that if we all ate meat no more than three times a week, this would mean:
31,000 fewer deaths a year from heart disease
9,000 fewer cancer deaths
5,000 fewer deaths caused by strokes.
A crucial vote on the Sustainable Livestock Bill takes place tomorrow and we are asked to ensure that our MP votes in its favour.
Friday 12 th November
A report from Oxford University 's Environment Bank finds that losses in biodiversity are currently zero-costed in land development plans. In other words, property developers pay nothing for losses in biodiversity. The Bank's conservation credits scheme would require developers to purchase credits to offset impacts caused by land lost to development. A 1,000 square mile pilot scheme in the Thames headwaters involving local authorities, wildlife trusts and conservation NGOs is testing the concept of offsets. “We need investment in biodiversity for future generations if we are to avoid a catastrophic failure of our life support mechanisms and so we have set up a conservation credit scheme to provide a way.”
Saturday 13 th November
Scientists meeting in Madrid in preparation for the annual meeting on the 17 th of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) recommended that, for tuna stocks to recover by 2022, annual catches need to be set between zero and the current 13,500 tonnes. WWF comments: “Tuna stocks are struggling at a mere third of sustainable levels, yet rules continue to be flouted and reporting duties ignored – meaning that ICCAT's scientists can't even do their job properly. We call for an annual quota of less than 6,000 tonnes – corresponding with the legal obligations of the EU, whose fleets account for the total Mediterranean catch. We strongly urge ICCAT member states to adopt no-fishing sanctuaries in key spawning grounds to protect the fish when they at their most fragile.”
Sunday 14 th November
Lord, wake us by your calling;
Lead us by your light
Feed us with your love;
And speed us on your service,
Today and for ever. Amen.
Monday 15 th November
The Census of Marine Life, putting together the findings of 2,700 scientists in 80 countries, concludes that large fish and marine mammals have declined by 90% since records began in 1899. The study found a serious decline in phytoplankton, the microscopic creatures that form the basis of the food chain and sustain much of the seafood eaten by humans. Ron O'Dor, senior scientist of the census, said: “Man's greed has had a catastrophic effect on the oceans. Every mammal, shellfish and large fish that is used by humans is in danger of dying out. The pristine ocean is a very distant memory. There are only a few areas of the world where oceans are not impacted by humans.” For more details, go to: www.iobis.org
Tuesday 16 th November
A team of scientists called the Australian Antarctic Division has discovered that exposing krill embryos to higher levels of carbon dioxide stops their development, so that none of them hatched. Krill feed off plankton and become food for large numbers of whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish. Increased acidification of the oceans resulting from increased atmospheric CO2 could therefore have a devastating effect on marine life. Further studies will identify the exact CO2 concentration “tipping point” and the impact of ocean acidification on later stages in the life cycle of krill.
Wednesday 17 th November
More than 800 schools in Britain and Ireland have pre-registered for the Sky Rainforest Rescue Schools Challenge – a 2-year web-based project to challenge students to reduce their carbon footprint and help protect the rainforest. The project covers geography, citizenship, science and numeracy, and encourages schools to measure current energy use as well as offering guidance on how to address the findings. The team that has made the biggest impact on the environment at the end of the 1 st year will be able to present their ideas to political decision-takers and have the experience captured on Sky television. www.skyrainforestschoolschallenge.org
Thursday 18 th November
Greg Barker, the Climate Change Minister, has said that the forthcoming Energy Bill will contain legislation on the energy efficiency of private rented homes. Poorly insulated and heated homes can make people ill, costing the NHS £859 million a year in dealing with winter-related diseases aggravated by cold houses. Over 4 million households live in fuel poverty – meaning that they spend more than they can afford on trying to heat their homes. FoE calls for a tough minimum energy efficiency standard for private rented homes. It should be an offence for landlords to let the worst-insulated properties until they are improved. See www.foe.co.uk/news/warm_homes_25497.htm
Friday 19 th November
Speaking at the 2010 Bristol Schumacher Conference, Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy, said: “The UK has a binding target to reduce emissions by 80% from 1990 by 2050. Business as usual will not get us there. Reducing emissions from transport, heat and industry will require electrification, causing electricity demand to double by 2050. If technology and consumer behaviour are transformed, this increased demand can be met completely from renewable sources. Energy companies will be transformed from leviathans to enablers.”
Saturday 20 th November
The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced a 2-year plan to boost the clean-up of polluted land by siting renewable energy projects there. “Brownfields are sites where redevelopment or re-use may be complicated by the presence of contaminants. The initiative aims to reduce the amount of green space used for development, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to provide health and economic benefits to local communities.”
Britain too has many contaminated industrial and mining sites which, though unsuitable for residential development, could be used for wind energy projects.
Sunday 21 st November
Father, we thank you for your great gifts of wisdom and scientific expertise. Help us to place them wholly at your service in the quest for technologies to protect this world that you have created, with all the creatures that live in it. Amen.
Monday 22 nd November
A £15 million Green Bus Prize Fund has been announced by Transport Minister Norman Baker to encourage bus operators and local authorities to buy around 170 hybrid and electric vehicles, which will operate in most of our main cities and some rural areas by 2012. “Low-carbon buses use at least 30% less fuel and emit nearly a third less carbon than conventional buses, yet they currently make up just 0.2% of buses on the road. The sector has tremendous potential to reduce the impact of road transport on climate change. The Green Bus Fund is vital to unlocking this potential and will stimulate a growing market.”
Tuesday 23 rd November
Concern has been growing at the phenomenon of bird and bat mortality at wind farms – a potential obstacle to the growth of wind energy. A 3-year research project at Loughborough University has found that white and light grey turbines were attractive colours to insects, which then attracted bird and bat predators. But the colour purple attracted fewer insects than any other colour, suggesting that painting the turbines purple could cut the numbers of insects, birds and bats flying into the blades.
Wednesday 24 th November
The UK 's first solar PV farm is to be built on the site of the Wheal Jane tin mine near Truro . Cornwall County Council has provided a loan for the £4 million building of the photo-voltaic panels which will cover 5 acres of land and provide 1.3 megawatts of electricity. The Cornwall Development Company believes that, with the Feed-In Tariff now providing a subsidy of 43.1 p. per kilowatt, they are “seeing the start of a Cornwall solar gold rush.” An average-sized domestic solar PV system will generate 2.125 kWh a year – more than half the typical household consumption of electricity.
Thursday 25 th November
Birmingham City Centre was the scene of an international “In Town Without My Car” event on September 22 nd , turning the centre car park into a mini park complete with turf. With the active participation of leading Birmingham City Councillors, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Aston Villa Football Club, FoE activists gave medals and free refreshments to car-free commuters and provided information about sustainable transport and how much easier life could be if we travelled this way more often.
Friday 26 th November
The Congestion Charge has been removed from London 's Western Extension Zone, provoking suggestions that congestion, air pollution and CO2 emissions would rise as a result. However, in the existing zone in central London , a Greener Vehicle Discount will apply to electric and hybrid electric plug-in vehicles, while vehicles emitting less than 100 grams per km. of CO2 will be altogether exempt.
Saturday 27 th November
World population is set to exceed 9 billion by 2050. The Anglican General Synod of Australia has issued a discussion paper on environmental degradation and its consequences, including the impact of human population growth and its effects on the rest of creation. The Synod, in its review of human obligations, states:
“Unless we take account of the needs of future life on earth, there is a case that we are breaking the 8 th Commandment: Thou shalt not steal.”
Today the Optimum Population Trust's annual conference takes place at Friends' Meeting House, Euston Road , London NW1 2BJ from 1 to 5 pm . To register, email Julie Lewis at email@example.com or ring 020 8123 9116.
Sunday 28 th November
Give us, Father, we pray, a deeper understanding of your purposes, that we may be steadfast amid the turmoil of our times. May our faith never fail, nor our love grow cold, nor our hope become faint. May we look up and lift our heads as we look for the redemption of your world, through Jesus Christ your Son and our Redeemer. Amen.
Monday 29 th November
A project at Didcot sewage works jointly undertaken by British Gas, Thames Water and Scotia Gas uses human sewage to generate biogas, which is fed into the national gas grid, so reducing carbon emissions.
The sludge is put through an anaerobic digester in which bacteria break down the biodegradeable material and create gas. Impurities are then removed. The process from lavatory flush to piped gas takes about 20 days. Chris Huhne, opening the project, said: “It's not every day that a Secretary of State can announce that, for the first time ever in the UK , people can cook and heat their homes with gas generated from sewage.”
Tuesday 30 th November
Last month St. Michael and All Angels Church at Withington, Gloucestershire, opened its doors as Britain 's first zero carbon place of worship. Work on the Grade 1-listed Norman church took two years to complete, demonstrating what can be achieved in terms of energy saving and generation by a local community charged with caring for an historic building. All the church heating is now met from a new 38 kW biomass pellet boiler, while electricity needs are met from 24 solar PV panels carefully placed on the nave roof of the church. Source: www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?src=nl&id=18806