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Recessions are unsustainable, but they sure cut emissions

Mark Anslow

editor's blog

The dramatic cuts in UK emissions suggested by the Government's preliminary figures are staggering - but we would be wrong to celebrate them

What could possibly deliver an 8.6 per cent decrease in national greenhouse gas emissions in just one year, including a fall in CO2 from electricity generation of 11 per cent, from the business sector of 15 per cent, and from households of 4.9 per cent?

Answer: a recession.

The figures released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are, quite frankly, staggering. Although preliminary, they suggest that emissions fell more in the last year than in the entire term of this Government. They demonstrate the kind of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that, if they could be repeated year on year, would see the economy almost completely decarbonised in a decade.

What do you think? Have your say here

Of course, it’s not as simple as...

Copenhagen: concession and compromise

Mark Anslow


Climate negotiations are always a balancing act. But the global atmosphere is not a politician, and it won't forgive us if we get this wrong

Exasperation has shown on the faces of many in Denmark this week. On the faces of activists, hoping to inspire and challenge, but instead met with dogs and pepper spray. On the faces of NGO workers, accredited for admission into the Bella Center but blocked because of last-minute security clamp-downs. On the faces of delegations from smaller countries, who - according to one report - were left queueing in the cold outside the negotiations.

But most of all, exasperation has shown on the faces of the politicians charged with crossing the quicksand of perhaps the most highly charged international negotiation in history.


Connie Hedegaard, the veteran Danish minister for Climate and Energy and one of the few politicians whom environmentalists would say 'gets it', was faced with an uprising by the... Read More...

Shame on the 'climategate' scientists

Mark Anslow

Ecologist Editor Mark Anslow explores the fallout from the leaked email exchanges between climate scientists

Make no mistake: the emails from the University of East Anglia climate scientists which were obtained from a hacked server and posted onto the internet in November paint a shocking picture.

The emails reveal the private conversations of scientists who commanded universal respect amongst environmentalists, politicians and journalists.  And they are not pretty...

The headline revelations have been well bandied-about in the mainstream press.

In one particularly shocking email, Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit at UEA, tells his US counterpart Professor Michael E Mann that he will try to block the inclusion of a controversial scientific paper in the forthcoming IPCC report, even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is.

In another, perhaps even more disturbing exchange, Professor Jones claims that he will delete an unfavourable temperature record from his computer rather than risk it being... Read More...

Forget Westminster: real green change is local

Mark Anslow

editor's blog

It's one of the most encouraging reports of the year, and the mainstream media totally ignored it. Think what you like about town hall politics: there's power in them there councils

Here’re some figures for you: 80 per cent; 46 per cent; 40 per cent.

The first is the number of people who, in a study released yesterday, said that they travel outside their local area to meet their basic everyday (shopping) needs.

The second is the number of people in the same study who rated the provision of children’s play facilities in their community as ‘poor’ or ‘bad’.

And the third is the number whose local post office has either closed or is threatened with closure.

Add to this the 73 per cent who thought the provision of fishmongers in their local area was ‘poor’ or ‘bad’, and the 45 per cent who thought the same about greengrocers.

The study – Places, Bases, Spaces – was produced by Read More...

FSA organics study: read it closely

Mark Anslow

editor's blog

The press are just waiting to stick the knife into organics... but read this new study carefully and you'll realise that this is an infant science

So, should we stop eating organic? That’s the question that many devotees of Soil Association-stamped food may be asking following the release of a study today by the Food Standards Agency on the nutrient and health benefits of organic versus conventionally produced food.

If you’re expecting me to bash the FSA, I’m going to have to disappoint you. This study was carried out by researchers at the well-respected London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), it's thorough and rigorous, and was sorely needed – it is thought to be the first time that all the literature on the differences between organic and conventional food has been gathered into one place.

But let’s be quite clear about what this study does and doesn’t say.

First, the researchers did find statistically significant differences between the... Read More...

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