“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty . . .
because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
The nations were angry; and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name . . .
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” (Rev. 11. 16-18)
“There is nothing in our Christian faith which allows us to escape the monumental decisions and destinies of history. We must contend against evil, even though we know that we ourselves are involved in the evil against which we contend.
We must work for the greatest possible justice in human society and yet know that sinful self-interest will corrupt every scheme of justice which we elaborate.” (Reinhold Niebuhr)
“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any word in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly.
My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?” (Soren Kierkegaard)
Thursday 1 st November
A 10-year study by the University of East Anglia has shown that absorption of CO 2 in the North Atlantic has halved between the mid-90s and 2000-2005. The oceans absorb a quarter of all CO 2 emissions, the land biosphere (mainly forests) another quarter, leaving the remainder to enter the atmosphere. The research results, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, have surprised and worried scientists who now believe that the oceans might, in time, become saturated with our emissions – unable to take up any more. This would leave nearly all our emissions to warm the atmosphere.
Friday 2 nd November
A report from the Energy Watch Group on global oil supply analyses production data and finds that world oil supply peaked in 2006. It will start to decline at a rate of several percent a year, creating a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil fuels or nuclear or alternative energy sources. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has said: “The oil boom is over and will not return. All of us must get used to a different lifestyle.” James Schlesinger, former US Defense Secretary and CIA Director, said at a recent oil summit in Cork : “The battle is over, the oil peakists have won. Current US energy policy and its oil strategy in Iraq and Iran are deluded.” The decline in oil supply will influence almost all aspects of our daily life. However, a new report from the Centre for Alternative Energy (CAT) warns that oil depletion may prompt expansion in the use of liquid fuels from coal, gas and non-conventional oils, resulting in higher CO 2 emissions per unit of delivered energy. Also, clearing forests to create plantations to grow biofuels inevitably releases large volumes of CO 2 . The report suggests that global adoption of the Contraction & Convergence model for equal rights to emit CO 2 would allow the world to manage a successful reduction in fossil fuel consumption.
Saturday 3 rd November
Today at Lancaster University the Lancaster Faith and Justice Commission with CEL is hosting a conference on Environmental Justice from 10.30 to 4.30. Speakers include Ellen Teague, editor of Vocation for Justice, and theologian Sr. Margaret Atkins. There are workshops on Greening our Parishes, Operation Noah, Inspiring Children to Go Green, Ethical Investment, Water, Energy, LOAF, Recycling, Biodiversity, Carbon Footprints and the award-winning DIY Eco-house Conversion. For information ring Margaret Mc Sherry on 01524 383081 or or email:email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 4 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 always.
Monday 5 th November
The CAT report “zerocarbonbritain” maps a strategy called “Island Britain ” whereby we can become self-sufficient in energy, thanks to the free allocation of Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs), which reduce year on year, and the sale by auction to businesses and government of carbon permits which, again, reduce year on year. The proceeds of these weekly auctions would be used to strengthen Britain 's energy resources to the point of self-sufficiency. “ Island Britain ” would demonstrate to the world that we can achieve a zero-carbon society with no energy imports and no resort to “silver bullet” technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
Tuesday 6 th November
The report points to the growing inequality, globally, between the “haves” and the “have nots”:
The ratio between the average incomes of the top 5% and the bottom 5% increased from 78:1 in 1988 to 114:1 in 1993;
In 2003 the average UK citizen emitted 9.4 tonnes of CO 2; the average Tanzanian emitted 0.1 tonnes;
In 2006 Britain 's estimated per capita GDP (adjusted for purchasing power parity) was $31,400 compared with Tanzania 's $800.
The Contraction & Convergence principle would allow every individual an equal right to the earth's atmosphere. This would be done in two stages:
Scientific advice is taken on how much more carbon we can risk burning. Based on that figure, an annual reduction is agreed up to the year 2027, when emissions will have dropped to near-zero. This is the Contraction part.
Currently rich countries emit far more CO 2 than poorer countries. Convergence would move from this unjust situation to one where everyone has an equal right to emit CO 2 . Every country will get its emission entitlement on the basis of population numbers. The carbon entitlements of rich countries are reduced until they converge with the (temporarily rising) shares of poorer countries. Low-emitting countries can sell their shares to wealthier high-emitting nations, using the income to buy clean technologies and so reduce their own emissions.
Two results follow:
1. Rapid investment in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy;
2. A science-based methodology for a fair distribution of carbon entitlements.
Convergence should be completed by 2014.
Wednesday 7 th November
“The Politics of Climate Change – developing an all-party approach to mitigate global warming” is the title of a conference taking place at 6.30 today at Cecil Sharpe House, 2 Regents Park, London with MPs Michael Meacher, Peter Ainsworth, Chris Huhne and Green Party speaker Sian Berry. Tickets are available at the door at £15 each (£10 concessions).
Thursday 8 th November
Today sees the first of the London Lectures at the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity at St. Peter's, Vere Street, on the subject “Redeeming Creation: The Heart of Environmental Mission”. Today's lecture by Rev. Dr. Chris Wright asks: “What is the biblical basis for environmental care and action?” and “Can ecological action be considered a legitimate part of the Christian mission?” The remaining four lectures, on Nov. 15 th , 22 nd & 29 th , are given by Simon Stuart, a leading biodiversity expert, Miranda Harris and Dave Bookless, both of A Rocha. For further information, email: email@example.com
Friday 9 th November
Turning around Britain 's addiction to fossil fuels has been likened to turning around a tanker ship. Perhaps we are more like a flotilla of little boats. With the right leadership, these boats could be turned round on a single command. Turning around the world's addiction is more daunting still, for Britain represents just one small boat in a whole fleet. But if we begin to make the turn, we have the potential to take the rest of the world round with us. And which nation is better placed than Britain to fulfil that role?
Saturday 10 th November
At present there is no economic penalty attached to the environmental cost of burning carbon. If TEQs are distributed on an equal per capita basis, they will quickly become a valuable and appreciating commodity – with the majority of people burning less than their initial TEQ allowance. This means more money in the pockets of the majority of Britain 's citizens, and a powerful incentive for everyone to find ways of reducing their use of carbon. The Government would be in the enviable position of being able to implement policies that would be popular and widely adopted. The same incentives apply to businesses and industry, both private and public sectors. Britain 's engagement with energy will have changed for all time.
Sunday 11 th November
Help us, Father, to be 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 and honour and glory be given to you, Lord, for all your great goodness to us. (“Living Wisely with Creation” publ. Women's World Day of Prayer)
Monday 12 th November
Humanity in the last 200 years has spent roughly half its heritage of fossil fuels laid down over millennia. Having discovered it, we are spending it as if it were a steady and growing income. In reality, it is not income, but a limited and diminishing stock of capital. The faster it is spent, the sooner it will have gone. We must learn to live within the Earth's income of solar energy. To make that work, we need to use wisely the final portion of our heritage. To achieve this, we need to artificially limit our consumption if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Tuesday 13 th November
Wise use of our heritage requires detailed energy audits to determine the best return on energy investments. Investment in nuclear power is costly. What are the benefits? Investing in nuclear new build has been likened to paying someone to build your house, paying rent to live in it (the cost of fuel and maintenance) and finally being evicted after 30 years with the obligation to pay for the dismantling of your house and then passing on to your descendants the obligation to pay further rent for an indefinite period. It is an ongoing liability.
Wednesday 14 th November
Standard economic theory places great store on short-term gains and considers future costs more affordable than costs today. This is partly because money, through inflation, becomes worth less and less as time goes on, and partly because money invested today can multiply in the future.
Climate change works in the opposite way. While money becomes less valuable over time, the costs of climate change grow and grow. Any delay in tackling it progressively increases the costs of damage limitation, repair and adaptation. This was one conclusion of the Stern Report which has yet to be accepted by society at large.
Thursday 15 th November
The CAT report “zerocarbonbritain” refers to the fact that petrol-driven engines are only 20% efficient in converting the chemical energy stored in oil into useful energy. Its recommendation is to convert to electric-powered vehicles. Technologies have been developed to allow energy to flow both from car batteries to the National Grid and vice versa. Vehicle-to-Grid power (V2G) harnesses the energy storage of electric vehicle batteries for load balancing. “When the Grid's supply exceeds its demand, the surplus is used to top up the batteries of all connected vehicles. When demand exceeds supply, those batteries are used to make up the shortfall. This effectively turns connected vehicles into additional grid storage.”
Friday 16 th November
If Britain 's 27 million cars were entirely replaced by electric vehicles and their batteries had an average capacity of 15kWh, they would have a total power of 405 gigawatts – more than 10 times the average power requirement of the National Grid. Even if only a fraction of our cars were plugged in at any given time, because most cars remain parked for most of the day, they could provide much of the extra storage necessary to the Grid for security of supply when much of that supply will come from renewables.
Saturday 17 th November
Today at Blackfriars, Oxford , a colloquium takes place on the Ethics of Climate Change. Speakers include Professor Sir Brian Heap (St. Edmunds College, Cambridge), Professor R.J. Berry (University College, London) Professor Chris Rapley (British Antarctic Survey) Dr. Margaret Atkins OSA (Blackfriars) Ruth Jarman (CEL) Clifford Longley, Dr. Nicholas Grey (Wells for India) Dr. Julian Caldecott (UN Environment Programme) and the Hon. John Battle MP. Attendance is by invitation. For requests for invitations, please contact Br. Lawrence Lew at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 18 th November
We thank you, Lord, for the men and women of determination who have taken the lead in the struggle to protect your creation from exploitation and degradation. Help us, in our turn, to give of ourselves, not counting the cost, for the sake of your dear Son, who died that we might live.
Monday 19 th November
Fires in southern Brazil and Bolivia have been raging out of control according to Roberto Smeraldi, head of FoE Brazil . Over 90% of them result from the growth of cattle ranching, which is heavily subsidised by Brazil 's National Development Bank and the World Bank. “These fires are the suicide note of mankind”, comments H. Murray-Philipson of Rainforest Concern. “While politicians talk about defining moments, destruction will continue until we begin to attribute real value to the standing forest.”
Charities such as Cool Earth and the World Land Trust are buying tracts of tropical forests as fast as funds become available. The expansion of cattle ranching owes everything to the increasing demand for meat. When will Christians unite to demand the labelling of meat products which are sustainably grown?
Tuesday 20 th November
Pollution from shipping has largely escaped regulation as many ports are away from population centres and many of us never even see a ship.
A report produced for the International Maritime Organisation by the International Associated of Independent Tanker Owners estimates CO 2 emissions from shipping at 1 billion tonnes a year – compared to 650 million tonnes for worldwide aviation. Shipping has grown by 14.5% a year since 2001 and its emissions are set to leap by 75% by 2020. Since the 1970s most commercial ships use heavy “bunker” fuel – a by-product of the refining process and described by an insider as “the crap that comes out the other end that's half way to being asphalt”. It releases sulphur dioxide – responsible for half the smog-related pollution in Los Angeles – carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulphuric acid. Yet emission targets for shipping are not included in the forthcoming Climate Change Bill, nor are they covered by the European Emissions Trading Scheme.
Wednesday 21 st November
A meeting in Brussels of 18 cement companies, representing 40% of world output, considered the impact on their businesses of possible caps on their carbon emissions. Cement manufacture emits 5% of global CO 2 . By 2050 emissions will reach 5 billion tonnes a year in order to meet the growing demand for cement for sewers, schools and hospitals as well as for luxury hotels and car parks. Almost half the world's concrete is produced in China , where last year cement production released 540 million tonnes of CO 2 . The CEO of Titan Cement in Athens said: “No matter what you do, cement production will always release carbon dioxide. It is needed to satisfy basic human needs, and there is no obvious substitute, so there is a trade-off between development and sustainability.” The Japanese cement company Taiheiyo, however, pledged to reduce the output of CO 2 for each tonne of cement by 3% by 2010 – a saving that will be swamped by the expected increase in production.
Thursday 22 nd November
According to a Briefing Note from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, China is now the world's biggest emitter of CO 2 , though its per capita output is still way below that of the USA and Western Europe . Yet 23% of its emissions are accounted for by its exports to the West. This suggests three conclusions:
Global trade means that Britain 's carbon footprint is understated if it refers only to emissions within its borders;
This lends further weight to the view that OECD countries must take the lead in reducing emissions;
It also supports the expansion of efforts to help developing countries to reduce their emissions through technical and financial assistance.
Friday 23rd November
Pressure is building up to exploit Antarctica for its mineral riches and to plunder the Southern Ocean for its valuable fish stocks. WWF, at a recent meeting hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh, gathered diplomats, environmentalists and scientists to help identify and designate a network of protected areas in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Over the last 50 years, the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed about 3 0 C. (five times the global average), leading to a decline in numbers of penguins and, more seriously, of the krill which is the foundation of all life in the Southern Ocean. The area is already under threat from unsustainable fishing and the spread of alien rats, mice and rabbits. WWF is calling for marine protected areas covering at least 10% of the 35 million sq. kms. Southern Ocean by 2012. This will help reduce the impact of fisheries and tourism and so provide a healthier marine environment that will be better able to adapt to rising temperatures.
Saturday 24 th November
Last spring the British nuclear submarine HMS Tireless carried out vital research under the Arctic sea ice with scientists including Professor Peter Wadhams, a senior oceanographer at Cambridge University . The findings have yet to be made public, but Professor Wadhams has revealed something of what was found.
Some time between 2020 and 2030 all the Arctic pack-ice cover would melt, leaving a vast expanse of open ocean to absorb sunlight where previously the ice had reflected it back into space like a giant mirror. Without the ice, solar radiation would relentlessly heat up the Arctic seas, spawning highly disturbed weather patterns which would sweep down on Europe and North America with unprecedented violence.
The Royal Navy expedition which charted the collapse of ice floes and their thickness nearly had to be cancelled when funding was slashed by the National Environment Research Council.
Simultaneously, as it happened, a delegation of archbishops, cardinals, ayatollahs and Coptic popes was meeting on the Arctic ice to pray for the safety of the world.
Sunday 25 th November
Lord God our Creator, who has made this planet to sustain a myriad forms of life, give us the wisdom and the perseverance to stand up publicly against all abuse of your earth for wrongful gain, all exploitation through selfish greed and all casual indifference to the dangers now clearly visible to all who have eyes to see. Make us responsible, caring stewards of our inheritance and give us the wisdom to find the right means to protect it in the face of an apparently desperate situation. This we ask in the name of your dear Son, who gave his life to redeem your world.
Monday 26 th November
As fears grow for the future of Britain 's energy supplies, attention is once again focussed on the construction of a Severn Barrage, which, if approved, could provide 5% of our energy needs by 2020 – equivalent to the output of three nuclear power stations or 18 million tons of coal.
Yet changes in the tidal regime could have a devastating effect on the estuary's wildlife, which is protected under the International Ramsar Convention.
FoE has called for a study of an alternative strategy consisting of tidal lagoons and a smaller barrage. The reasons given include the following:
Lagoons could produce up to 60% more energy than the proposed Severn Barrage;
They would generate electricity at half the cost of the Barrage;
Unlike the Severn Barrage, lagoons would not impede navigation and reduce the freight trade for the ports of Avonmouth and Portbury;
Lagoons would not destroy the habitat for tens of thousands of birds;
The Severn Barrage would require expensive stand-by capacity to supplement the lack of power at mid-tides, whereas lagoons would integrate well with other renewable energy schemes.
Tuesday 27 th November
The world uses more than 1 billion computers. Each one requires 75 times its weight in raw materials and water. Together they emit about 1 billion tonnes a year of CO 2 – roughly the same as the global airline industry. Each year 170 million of them are landfilled. Richard Barrington of Sun Microsystems believes that we must look beyond individuals using computers to a world where people simply have access to computing services, so saving on maintenance costs and the environment. London 's Strategic Health Authority has won a green IT award for replacing four hundred 100-watt traditional PCs with 4-watt Sun Rays, into which you insert your swipe card and all your programmes automatically appear. The savings in energy and air-conditioning have amounted to 75%. Sun Rays have no fans and no moving parts. They are built to last 15-20 years. For details see: www.sun.com
Wednesday 28 th November
The Ashden Awards are given each year to organisations which have carried out excellent, practical and innovative schemes to demonstrate sustainable energy at local level.
This year's International Award Winner is SELCO-India, based in Bangalore , which provides home solar energy to low-income households and institutions, using micro-finance organisations to provide loans to customers. Since 2005, when it first won an award, it has increased total sales from 48,000 to 71,000 despite a 50% increase in the price of small photovoltaic modules.
Thursday 29 th November
This year's award for enterprise goes to Beijing Shenzhou Daxu Bio-energy Technology Ltd., which has developed an innovative stove that can burn crop waste instead of coal or wood. Most Chinese families cook using coal-burning or wood-burning stoves, which have caused severe deforestation and high levels of indoor air pollution. Crop waste is widely available, but few stoves can burn it effectively. The Daxu stove produces hardly any smoke, cuts cooking and heating costs by 50% and can save 8 tonnes of CO 2 emissions a year.
Friday 30 th November
The Ashton Award for Renewable Energy in the UK goes to Wood Energy which, based in Devon , provides over one-third of Britain 's total wood heat capacity and saves almost 12,000 tonnes of CO 2 emissions a year through its boiler installations. It also supports local wood-fuel supply businesses and pellet mills. Wood fuel is currently cheaper than any of the fossil fuels and helps Britain to meet its carbon reduction targets. For more information on the awards, visit: www.ashdenawards.org
zerocarbonbritain – a report from the Centre for Alternative Technology
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