|Issue 11 : 22 June 2006|
Hi-de-hi everyone, and welcome to my summer special – singalonga Dave!
The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray. Hope you’ve been enjoying the recent spate of warm weather.
I often sing to myself: What a wonderful world! Louis Armstrong.
Sorry it’s been a while since my last issue. As well as being mad busy, I’ve had a few bleak days and blockages. But hey, faced with the spectre of the end of the world as we know it – including extinction of 25% of all species – I guess we’re all entitled to feel a bit miffed from time to time!
In this issue:
It’s all happening
The BBC has been speaking out. The Independent continues to lead on climate issues. Business leaders have written to Tony Blair calling for stricter carbon regulation. BSkyB has signed up with The Climate Group. The Sun is now publishing letters on the joy of the low carbon economy, including two of mine recently! I can’t believe how many chunks of Berlin Wall are falling down. Impossible things do happen. And happen fast.
The Sun, 12 May 2006
How can we get worked up about one child of a 63-year-old when our abuse of fossil fuels makes the outlook for all our children bleak? There are jobs, money and survival in renewable energy. Our only safe future is sun power.
Awesome odds – and coincidences!
The times they are a changin’ – Bob Dylan
It’s a good job too! The degree of radical habit change that is needed for our species survival sometimes seems almost infinitely improbable. The odds of us all (US, Europe, China) changing our ways radically in the next decade are indeed very slim.
And by a wonderful quirk of fate, those odds are exactly the same as the odds of our survival if we don’t change. How big a coincidence is that!
Can you think of anyone who hasn’t yet made 2006 the year they focus on their carbon dioxide emissions? Help them get with the programme now!
How long has this been going on? – many and various
The world is sitting bolt upright – woken from its drugged state of false security – awakening to the living nightmare that is our fossil fuel abuse habit. Well, mostly.
Talkin’ bout a revolution – Tracy Chapman
Since my last issue, it seems the world has shifted significantly. The rapid evolution of our collective conscience is happening faster than anyone dared hope. We can be amazingly creative, ingenious, productive and industrious when we need to be. And we do.
“Right now there is nothing – simply nothing – as cool as simply messing about shrinking your carbon boots – your CO2 footprint!” after Ratty
The consciousness of the thinking/sensing/feeling sector of the UK is buzzing. Reeling, perhaps. We have entered the Post Attenborough era (PA).
The BBC’s Climate Chaos series was amazing, and I reckon their fresh and beautiful coverage of the issue is having an effect on us all, at a deep level. Even those who missed it will have heard other people talking about the programmes.
Sir David Attenborough’s much quoted words deserve
(And he’s been voted the most trusted person in the UK…)
His closing message from State of the Planet was:
"The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action. Many individuals are doing what they can, but real success can only come if there's a change in our societies and our economics and in our politics. I've been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles that the natural world has to offer. Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy, inhabitable by all species."
The full extent of the establishment’s (and the US administration’s) desire to cover up the crisis is coming out. This is a good thing. It’s better that we all know what we’re up against. The BBC Panorama programme on this topic was a breath of fresh air.
‘They’ didn’t want us to know “the inconvenient truth” as Al Gore calls it. Crisis, what crisis?! But the number of deniers is falling. They are out of a job.
Al Gore’s film is sending shockwaves through the USA. “By far the most terrifying film you will ever see” says the publicity.
Tomorrow’s global economy
Carbon Coach Limited is proud to be a member in kind
of Tomorrow’s Company, which hosted the amazing (March) 2006 Annual
Lecture by Al Gore. An excellent short report has just been published,
based around the lecture, entitled “Climate Change – the Role
of Global Companies”. It’s a must read.
I am quoted in it:
“It’s not business that needs to change,
it is us, in our many small choices. We will survive as a species by applying
our buying power in focussed energetic and fashionable pursuit of true
low carbon endeavour. Each and every habit, purchase, investment and lifestyle
choice will be in the context of a commitment to radical carbon reduction.
Investments, pensions, houses, holidays, cars. The low carbon mega-trend
will develop positive feedback. Low carbon assets will appreciate. Fiscal
policy will reward. Renewable energy will become the new gold standard.
Carbon will be the currency. Fossil and nuclear will be asbestos. All
business has to do is prepare to deliver our new demand – zero carbon
Come Off It day
Finally, I have to tell regular readers that the previously billed national Come Off It day planned for 4 August won’t be happening. Not with any seriousness.
However, 4 December is still on with a vengeance. So start planning your own Come Off It campaign for that date.
And there’s nothing stopping us from making the
fourth of every month a mini carbon detox day.
As he says: “Take an energy holiday… live only by candlelight and without a computer, radio and television.” Hell – why not? You might even enjoy it!
CARBON CONSCIOUS THINKING
“Whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you’re right!”
If we all think it’s too late to do anything, then we are sure to prove ourselves right. If we all think we’re just in time to turn the super-tanker round – ditto – we can prove ourselves right. I choose the second option, partly because it sounds like much more fun!
Mark Lynas refers to being a pessimist of the intellect and an optimist of the will. I’m with him on that! (I recommend Mark’s book, Rising Tide.)
Remember that moment at school when the two captains picked their teams? Well, there are two teams emerging right now – let’s call them D Team and Re Team:
Denial, despair, delusion, dereliction,
depression, detachment, destruction, denial…
Which team will you join?
The State of the Planet
Did you dare watch each State of the Planet programme to the end?
A great many I have spoken to did, while other good friends understandably chose to self-protect by switching channel. It’s a lot to take in. But however you look at it, there’s an amazing rebirth going on, right here, right now. Denial used to be okay, but it’s a lot less pleasant a place to be these days.
Against the tide
As an ex-rower, I’m going to allow myself a rowing story. After all it’s the regatta season. Many young men and women rowing against the tide… Economy of effort, teamwork, elimination of waste, survival of the fittest, streamlining, going with the flow… Yes all these parallels – and more:
Holding your hand in the fire
Any rowers out there will remember the Abignale brothers. Undisputed Italian world pairs rowing champions. For a decade they were unbeatable. Then suddenly the UK Searle brothers beat them, surprising everyone.
The race was an epic. Towards the end the Searles made a blistering assault on the Italians, who responded confidently, raising their game. The Searles fought back. The Abignales dug deeper still. Again the Searles charged to the line. (Yes I love telling this climactic tale – can you sense the adrenaline?!)
Interviewed after, the Searles disclosed the conversation they had had the night before the race. Around a camp fire, they made a pact together. They knew that at the end of the race, it would feel like they were holding their hands in the flame. They also knew that they were going to hold theirs in the fire longer than the Italians.
What I’m trying to say is that we’ll all be stronger, and more real, the more we can stare the immensity of the climate challenge – catastrophe even – in the face and not shy away. Laugh at the monster. That used to work with my children’s nightmares!
If women ruled the world
One thing that strikes me is how immensely strong women are in all of this. Far stronger than blokes a lot of the time. There are loads of examples:
There’s Nicky Gavron, leading the way with Ken Livingstone at City Hall.
There’s Senator Hilary Clinton introducing legislation to create a $50B strategic energy fund in the US. And listen to this:
"Our present system of energy is weakening our national security, hurting our pocketbooks, violating our common values and threatening our children's future. Right now, instead of national security dictating our energy policy, our failed energy policy dictates our national security," said Senator Clinton.
The majority of lucky breaks and fruitful collaborations that I’ve experienced in my work of late have been with women. You are all gorgeous!
I will survive – Gloria Gaynor
And, of course, I thank my wife Jan.
Okay, enough chat, time for this month’s mission...
These myths just keep on coming – and do you know what? They’re deeply engrained: we’ve been sold some wicked half-truths for decades.
One of them is that we need nuclear. We don’t. We need to radically reduce demand.
Another is that nuclear is low carbon. It ain’t.
We need the carbon dose we are on to be happy, to be
fully alive. Quite the contrary!
Leaving light bulbs on saves energy. Leaving heating on saves energy. No!
How did we ever believe these things?
THE LOW CARBON TRIPLE WHAMMY
Another myth is that there is no asset price premium for energy efficient buildings. Wrong again.
The old paradigm was that for every £1,000 you spent on carbon-reducing home improvements you’d save a few hundred a year.
The paradigm has shifted.
Now for each £1,000 you spend, as well as saving £100s on your annual bills – and helping to save the planet – you’re also likely to add £1,000 or more to the value of your home, too.
Now isn’t that a turn up for the estate agent’s books!
Finally, Carbon Coach Limited is almost one year old! It’d be a great birthday present if every subscriber could nominate at least one more person who they think would enjoy this newsletter – help them share the adventure.
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