Do we know how to put Humpty Dumpty together again?

This is a TED talk from 2010. In 18 minutes we get a glimpse into the terrible mess we are making of our environment – mostly over the past 100 years.

Jeremy Jackson: How we wrecked the ocean

Jeremy Jackson: So the question is: How are we all going to respond to this? And we can do all sorts of things to fix it, but in the final analysis, the thing we really need to fix is ourselves. It’s not about the fish; it’s not about the pollution; it’s not about the climate change. It’s about us and our greed and our need for growth and our inability to imagine a world that is different from the selfish world we live in today. So the question is: Will we respond to this or not? I would say that the future of life and the dignity of human beings depends on our doing that.

Fracking of shale oil fields in the US is causing a global surge of ethane

Fracking in the US causing global surge in dangerous gas

Ethane reacts with sunlight and the atmosphere to make ozone, which at ground-level causes breathing problems, eye irritation and damages crops.

Ethane is also the third largest contributor to human-caused global warming after carbon dioxide and methane.

Let’s leave fossil fuels in the ground.

250,000,000,000 tonnes a year

That is the rate at which the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting.

UK flooding driven by soaring temperatures in Greenland

Soaring temperatures in Greenland – one of the fastest-warming parts of the planet – are causing storms and floods in Britain, according to a new study that provides further evidence climate change is already happening.

The west coast of the island has seen temperatures rise by up to a staggering 10 degrees Celsius during winter in just two decades.

2 C warming is too much

A difference of half a degree centigrade may be barely noticeable day to day, but the difference between 1.5C and 2C of global warming is a shift into a new, more dangerous climate regime, according to the first comprehensive analysis of the issue.

Study reveals greater climate impacts of 2C temperature rise

The researchers found: “For heat-related extremes, the additional 0.5C marks the difference between events at the upper limit of present-day natural variability and a new climate regime, particularly in tropical regions.”

Solar Power – the good news (and the bad)

Here is an excellent summary of the power of solar and the politics of power.

Clouds gather over solar power after golden years of success

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said: “Solar, nuclear, offshore wind and shale gas all have an important part to play in our future energy mix – this diversity is essential so we can deliver secure, affordable and clean energy for future generations.

I cannot see how shale gas can be a part of the clean energy future; in a sane world it would have no future.

Nick Boyle, the chief executive of Lightsource, is unhappy about the way some solar subsidies were hacked back and the fact that even government now only expects 13GW of capacity to be installed by 2020, but says the row has obscured a much better story.

“No one believed that this industry could be built up so efficiently and so fast. To go to 10GW from almost a standing start in a couple of years and at a cost lower than any other European country should be celebrated. Solar in Britain has been an amazing success.”

Hopefully, You can’t keep a good technology down. We have got to 10GW peak power installed in 5 years. Given the technologies usually accelerate in deployment we could be at 30GW by 2020 if we had the rush for renewables.

2 + 2 can still equal four

This is a good discussion of the issues we should balance in decarbonizing industry from Climate Outreach, Oxford.

Tata Steel & new energy infrastructure – is it really that hard to put 2 & 2 together?

Campaigners are quick to celebrate the closure of coal-fired power plants, but have less to say about the people who work there. Having a more human perspective on what decarbonisation means is crucial.

What is desperately required is a coherent narrative (matched by coherent policies) about the role of industry in a changing climate, which actually delivers benefits and solves employment crises like this when they arise. Given that the vast majority of the infrastructure for a decarbonised world – across energy, transport, and housing sectors – is still to be built, is it really that hard to put two and two together?