- Why agrofuels have been responsible for food riots, land grabs and increasing hunger around the globe
- Why the Gallagher report and others underestimate the impact of biofuels on climate change
- Why the Gallagher report is not independent
- Why we need to listen to the global calls for a moratorium on biofuels rather than industry and government’s suggestion of a slow down
Ahead of this year’s Camp for Climate Action we speak to Connor O’Brien about the movement’s plans for sustainable living, education, and shutting down the coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. And we end the programme with a rough mix of “Soul Not Coal” a song written for the Camp by The Carbon Town Cryer.
Despite James Hansen’s personal plea to Prime Minister Gordon Brown last December to take a leadership role in initiating a global moratorium against unabated coal, the UK government’s Department for Business currently looks likely to grant permission to a new series of coal-fired power stations that are “Carbon Capture Ready”. We discuss what this means and why it’s not good enough with Dr Keith Allott, Head of WWF-UK’s Climate Change Campaign who commissioned a report recently exploring these questions.
We requested an interview with the Department of Business but had to make do with a written statement which explains that the UK is relying on the highly problematic and inadequate EU Emissions Trading Scheme to solve the problem.
Meanwhile in the US, the tide is turning against coal at the grassroots, state and even the federal levels – 59 applications for coal-fired power plants were cancelled, abandoned or put on hold in 2007 and there is a bill going through Congress to put a moratorium on new unabated coal developments. We speak to Mike Ewall of the Energy Justice Network who has played a key role in supporting and connecting up the grassroots campaigners who have been doggedly winning on a case by case basis.
We close the programme with a taster from a landmark speech made by Al Gore last week, where he suggests the US should respond to climate change with the due urgency the science now implies. He lays down a “moon landing” style challenge for the US to power itself by renewable energy within just ten years.
Leading US climate scientist and director of NASA, Dr James Hansen, has made it clear that “preservation of climate requires that most remaining fossil fuel carbon is never emitted to the atmosphere” and that “the only realistic way to sharply curtail CO2 emissions is to phase out coal use except where CO2 is captured and sequestered.”
Over the last six months Hansen has taken the unusual step of writing in a personal capacity to various heads of states asking them to bring in a moratorium on new coal. The first letter he wrote was to Prime Minister Gordon Brown last December. He wrote:
“Your leadership is needed on a matter … with ramifications for life on our planet, including all species … [A] decision to phase out coal use unless the CO2 is captured is a global imperative, if we are to preserve the wonders of nature, our coastlines, and our social and economic well-being … If Britain and Germany halted construction of coal-fired power plants that do not capture and sequester the CO2 it could be a tipping point for the world.”
Our first guest is Leila Deen from the World Development Movement about the campaign against Gordon Brown’s plans to build seven new coal-fired power stations without requiring them to have Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology.
Our second is Georgina Woods who speaks to us by ‘phone from Australia on the final day of the country’s first Camp for Climate Action – a week long event which culminated in the country’s biggest ever direct action against the country’s coal exporting industry.
- The most eminent US scientist and head of Nasa, Dr James Hansen, has said that we have passed the tipping point for Arctic and Greenland ice loss. This has dramatic implications for the possible accelaration of the rate of climate change
- He says we now need to stabilise levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million (ppm) – lower than they are today (ca. 387 ppm)
- He says to have any chance of doing this, the first thing we need is a moratorium on new coal fired plants that do not have carbon capture and storage
We discuss all this with Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, who was a reviewer on the IPCC’s 2001 Report; and with Richard Hawkins of the Public Interest Research Centre, who is preparing a UK edition of Climate Equity’s Climate Code Red report for publication.
We consider whether our programme needs to change its name from The Two Degrees Show to The 350 Show in the light of the latest scientific findings…
We launch our new series by revisiting some of the results and implications of last year’s IPCC Report as well as looking at the recent observations from the Arctic. Our guides this week are two scientists who have acted as expert reviewers for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Joanna Haigh, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London and Dr Stuart Parkinson, Exectuive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility.
- None of the IPCC scenarios keep us within a 2C global average temperature rise (compared to pre-industrial times) which has been defined by the EU as a dangerous level that must not be exceeded
- The climate computer models used by the IPCC have been underestimating Arctic ice loss – recent observations suggest that there is now a 50% chance that the north pole may be ice-free this summer
In the words of IPCC Chair, Rajendra Pachauri (November 2007): “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two or three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
We interview the following traders and cyclists at Alexandra Palace farmers’ market:
- Chris Elder (City and Country Farmers Markets)
- Martin (Pitfield Brewery)
- Adam Coffman (of CTC – the UK’s national cycling organisation)
- Helen & Jim (producers of biodiesel from used cooking oil)
With music from The Carbon Town Cryer
- George Monbiot – Guardian columnist and author of “Heat: How to stop the planet Burning” (Penguin)
- Richard Hawkins – co-author of “Zero Carbon Britain” (Centre for Alternative Technology) and
- Sophie and Olly from the Climate Camp
Both George Monbiot and the Centre for Alternative Technology have worked out what the UK needs to do in order to play its part in the global challenge of avoiding dangerous climate change. New scientific findings are telling us we need to act faster than we previously thought and move rapidly to a world without fossil fuels by reducing our energy usage and powering our remaining energy use from renewable sources.
– How can we galvanise the political will to make it happen?
– How will these changes affect the way we live?
– Can we, in fact, live better with less?
Recording by Indymedia.
Programme produced by Phil England.
Britain can become free of fossil fuels and self-sufficient in energy and food in just 20 years. That is the conclusion of the most ambitious report yet on what Britain needs to do to play its part in avoiding dangerous climate change. What will Britain be like and how will we get there?
We speak to the co-ordinator and co-lead author of the Centre for Alternative Technology’s new report “Zero Carbon Britain”, Tim Helweg-Larsen. Why are Tradeable Energy Quotas expected to be the most effective way to drive the changes? What will be the impacts on transport, agriculture, buildings and – most importantly – our well-being?
- Author and deputy editor of The Idler, Dan Kieran, who recently travelled across England in a milkfloat;
- Founder of fledgeling low-carbon travel agent Loco2, Jamie Andrews, who is co-authoring the Slow Travel Manifesto
Will we feel the need to escape so much if we are living less stressful, more community-focussed, local lives that give us greater well-being?
We speak to Laura Burgess, editor of a new directory called Ecoescape which brings together sustainable accomodation, eateries, and environmentally-focused places to visit in the UK.
We also speak to artist Lottie Child who has been developing the practice of “street training” with people of all ages and exploring creative approaches for interacting with, and feeling at home in, our own localities.