Priorities

Diocese backs wind farm despite local opposition

The Archdeacon of Cornwall, the Ven. Bill Stuart-White, who chairs the diocese’s environment group, said last week that, in light of the “serious damage” caused by fossil fuels, the diocese would “support and encourage, in principle, the use and development of varied forms of renewable energy, including wind turbines, wherever possible and appropriate”.

The group’s submission argues that “issues of visual impact are largely subjective. . . It is our view that having a Grade I listed church and 21st-century wind turbines in the same landscape is a positive and consistent witness to the Christian commitment to the Fifth Mark of Mission. . . The ‘substantial harm’ that is of far greater significance is that inflicted on the planet by the impact of global warming, caused in no small measure by our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Centrica awarded rights to explore Barents Sea

Licence to drill

A spokeswoman for Centrica said it had no plans to drill in the Barents Sea at this time saying its focus currently was on concessions further south in the Norwegian and North Seas.

But she said that the company would take the utmost care to weigh up any risks if it did look at drilling in the Barents Sea: “Clearly before we started to do anything we would undertake a comprehensive environmental survey to identify any issues and reduce any potential risk to the environment.”

The global survey has been going on for years. The risk is dire. Global warming means eliminating fossil fuels, we do not need to explore for more.

Is solar thermal energy ready to replace coal-fired power?

‘Tantalisingly close’

Companies working on large-scale solar thermal projects in Australia say they are tantalisingly close to achieving the dream of building plants big enough to replace coal-fired energy in Australia.

The theory behind large-scale solar thermal is relatively simple, even if building it is not. Curved mirrors called heliostats are positioned in a field, reflecting the sun’s energy onto a tower with a receiver on top. A liquid material, such as molten salt, is pumped through the receiver where it is heated and then pumped back down to be stored in a tank. When electricity is required, the hot material is used to heat water, creating steam and turning a turbine.

You could not have it simpler, the same steam turbines with water heated by the sun instead of fossil fuels.

The Government should scrap its costly Hinkley Point deal and accept renewables can keep the lights on

With EDF’s decision on Hinkley Point C likely to be delayed until next year it is imperative that the government re-assesses the need for new nuclear power in 2025.

The Government should scrap its costly Hinkley Point deal and accept renewables can keep the lights on

Data produced by her own Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows that in 2014 hydropower contributed 1.7 GW to the grid. Also six bio-electricity technologies, all capable of continuous power operation, together produced 4.5 GW of electric power. That is already 6.2 GW of continuous power, nearly twice the 3.2 GW that Hinkley will struggle to produce by 2030.

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.”