Wednesday 8 May 2019

Two days ago, on May 6, The United Nations released its Intergovernmental Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) 
The warnings from the report are stark:

"Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. The rate of species extinctions is accelerating".

“We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide,” 

The report says that its not too late to reverse the damage.

"if we put a huge amount into transformational behavioural change",
but notes that:

"The current global response is insufficient"

Given the stark warning, our leaders should convene an international summit urgently to discuss and work out what we can do and to implement the huge changes needed. But nothing is being done. 

The report also says:

"Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good" 

Opposition from vested interests
must be overcome or human civilisation as we know it will cease to exist. It is as stark as that, but the silence from our leaders is deafening.

David Obura, one of the lead authors said 'This is fundamental to humanity. We are not just talking about nice species out there; this is our life support system' 

The vested interests - Oil companies, Banks, Agri-Business, weapons manufacturers etc are not only at the root of the decline of nature, of the loss of biodiversity, they are also at the heart of the capitalist system. The problem of biodiversity loss revealed by the report is inherently linked to the economic and political system we are living with - capitalism.

But the capitalists, the vested interests, will not give up their profits and see their capital dismantled without a fight. They will fight to keep things as they are.
This is the problem.
They have to lose, if we (and the rest of life on the planet) are to win.
Although the UN report identifies that "transformative change is needed" they don't say how that change can be brought about.
If the Existing governments do anything, they will try to make us, the huge majority of people on the planet, the 99%, pay for the transformation and try to fix things to allow the system to continue. 
But the system is the problem and can not be part of the solution; and also, we cannot pay for it! The capitalists horde and control the 'huge amount' referred to in the report.  We need those resources the capitalists have stolen from us so we can build the required alternative society.
Its up to us to make the capitalists pay for the damage they have caused.

We need system change.  Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg and many others have helped to raise the issue in the public consciousness, but concrete action is needed now. 

Saturday 27 April 2019

Its time to act!
If our leaders continue with 'Business as usual', we will get change. The change we will get will be more and more extreme weather events and eventually a situation that is out of their control. Out of their control and our control.
But, if people who understand the problem of climate change act now, there is still time to avert the climate disaster that is heading our way.
My book Safe Planet was published five years ago. When I started writing it, in about 2011 I reckoned that a twenty year timescale to convert all fossil fuel consumption to renewables was just about doable. If a program had started then in 2010, we would now have been about halfway through the massive effort of building all the infrastructure required and been on target to be carbon free in 2030. But as we know, nothing of the sort has been implemented. Our leaders are marching us, at an ever increasing pace to the point of no return.
In Safe Planet I tried to describe the scale of the technical task and also the political task. The tasks can be accomplished, but this will not be done under business as usual arrangements.
Extinction Rebellion and an exceptional sixteen year old young woman, Greta Thunberg have successfully raised the alarm and I hope they have raised the consciousness of enough people so that we can plot a course to avert the otherwise certain disaster. As Greta said referring to Trump 'Climate Change is not an opinion! it is fact'
Lets get on with it!
I think my book is even more relevant now than it was five years ago.
Buy it here or here or here or get it direct from me (slower, but I can then also send you if you want a copy of the Xcel spreadsheet model I constructed for the book!). 

Thursday 8 June 2017


If Jeremy Corbyn wins today and I really hope he does, we will have to fight to get his policies implemented. Those dark forces backing the Tories will do their utmost to ensure that they get their way despite losing the election. A Labour win would be a massive victory for our side, but it is only the first step. We will need to keep up the pressure.
If Corbyn loses, then our task is much harder. Theresa May will wield the knife on our health and welfare and will continue to slash our public services. We will fight her and her backers.
Corbyn's campaign has been magnificent. It has touched millions of people and sparked something I have never seen in my lifetime. It has given us hope and a feeling that, yes we can change things for the better.
Whatever the outcome, I think what is needed is that we try to harness the hope and build on what  Jeremy has been saying. The problems we face are problems people all around the planet have to face. They are not problems just we in Britain face, they are International problems. We need some kind of International Corbynism. I call it International Socialism. We have to fight for that.

Monday 15 May 2017

The problem is Profit

The current valuations for oil gas and coal fossil fuel companies, are based on the denial of climate science. This science is accepted by the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.
When it dawns on most people that the science is right and the valuation of these companies becomes based on reality, not on fake news, their value will drop. Possibly, or more likely probably, to zero. It is time for all public sector organisations to divest now from fossil fuels if they want to avoid losses on investments.

The Ransom software that recently knocked out IT systems in the NHS and in organisations across the world can only really succeed because Microsoft already holds us all to ransom. If they provided the source code for their systems, then operating systems like Windows XP could be supported well beyond the date that Microsoft decides to abandon them. Patches could be applied automatically at  virtually zero cost making the recent attack impossible. The software wheel does not have to be continually reinvented. Windows XP worked perfectly well for most people and organisations before 2014 when Microsoft decided to make its (much inferior) Windows replacement its primary OS. The operating systems that replaced XP are not significantly better for consumers. Actually arguably they are worse as they include profit maximisation efforts like iTunes and the like which are designed to bring in more revenue, not to enhance the functionality of the systems. 

Wednesday 29 June 2016


 ‘I don’t think Jeremy is going to stay he’s going to go’ - Gordon Brown
  ‘for heaven’s sake man go!’ - David Cameron
They are all at Jeremy Corbyns throat.
Ed Milliband and Harriet Harman have lined up alongside the miserable bunch of Labour MPs who have resigned from the Shadow Cabinet and the rest of the MP’s who supported a vote of no confidence motion proposed by Margaret Hodge and Anne Coffey

The fact that Cameron has joined them is telling. I think this right wing Labour cabal would rather see the Tories win the next election than see Labour win under Corbyn. This is clear because Labour have been winning against the Tories in practically all of the battles which have taken place since Jeremy was elected nine months ago. Jeremy Corbyn's Labour won the Oldham by-election with an increased majority; it won the Tooting by-election with an increased majority; Labour won the London Mayoral race this spring; and in the local elections this year Labour did well contrary to the forecasts.

In the Referendum won by the Brexit campaign , Corbyn delivered almost two thirds (63%) of the Labour vote. This is comparable to the SNP performance where 64% of SNP voters voted remain.

The Tories have had to climbdown on a whole raft of policies under Corbyn’s leadership –  on child tax credits; on personal independence payments; on their plan forcing all schools to become academies; the Saudi prison contract; on publishing child poverty statistics. And that is not an exhaustive list, but compared to the pitiful Miliband attempt at leadership it glows with success.  I don’t want to bring up Brown’s record as labour leader and Prime Minister - I would rather leave it and him in the dustbin of history, but from his ‘no return to Boom and Bust’ policies right before the biggest ever bust in recent history wiped off billions of pounds from the economy, put thousands out of work and forced  the British state to cough up and nationalise the Royal Bank of Scotland - leading to the inevitable clawing back of that money and the resultant Tory austerity policies, I think he needs to exhibit a little more humility. He was a useless indecisive ditherer of a leader.  

However Jeremy performed he would have been attacked by these so called Labour politicians. I think a lot of these MPs are going to bitterly regret what they have done. Because Jeremy stands up for ordinary working people, and by trying to destroy him, they have taken up the cudgels on the opposing side. They are now standing for something very different (even though they might deny it).

The plotters are saying Jeremy Corbyn is not a leader. I would like to ask them How do they measure leadership? If it is by winning elections - he is a leader, or referendums - ditto, if it is on forcing the Tories to back down on their nasty plans - he is a leader.
A leader must have followers or they are not a leader. Followers, Leaders - they go hand in hand you cannot have one without the other. As Jeremy has been democraticallyelected by the overwhelming number of Labour party members - more than any other previous leader - he is a leader.

The mob of MPs opposed to Corbyn are trying to force him to resign - something he has repeatedly said he will not do. Their appalling behaviour is personal abuse directed at their own democratically elected leader.
If their bullying is successful, they will have driven a bulldozer through Labour party internal democracy.
Thats why we need to use our every sinew to defend Corbyn and make the Blairites history. I have'nt mentioned Blair, but with the Chilcot report due out next week, I cant help thinking that the Iraq warmonger may have something to do with this poisoning of politics.

Thursday 24 September 2015

Electric Transport versus the Fossil Fuel deceivers

It is advantageous for a car manufacturer to be able to claim that their vehicle emissions are low. If auto makers can claim that their products are less polluting than the competition, they can sell more units and thus make more profit.
Actually, it is impossible to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of a diesel or a petrol engine. Internal combustion engines burn fuel and burned fuel results in carbon dioxide. It is however possible to reduce the amount of other of toxic by-products of the combustion process. Doing so, is not straightforward. Designing and making a vehicle that produces less nitrogen oxides than an unmodified vehicle, is expensive.
However, Volkswagen have admitted to reducing the apparent emissions of some of their vehicles without actually changing the engine or the exhaust system. They have cheated. They have deceived the public in order to make more profits.
All internal combustion engine manufacturers have a competitor technology which beats them hands down on the emissions front. This technology beats both petrol and diesel on clean air. This technology is electric power. Electric vehicles not only beat both diesel and petrol on climate damaging CO2 emissions, they also produce none of the other pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and hydrocarbon particulates etc produced by diesel engines which are so highly damaging to human health. 
30,000 deaths in the UK each year are thought to be caused by air pollution. 9,500 premature deaths in London alone each year have been linked to the NOx fumes produced by diesel engines.
Electric vehicles have zero in use emissions. On a level playing field, electric vehicles will be taken up more frequently than diesel by the public if diesel technology is seen to pollute the environment, damage health and add to the problem of climate change.
There have been suggestions in the media that other manufacturers, not just VW, may have been installing software in their diesel vehicles which misleads the public and regulators about the levels of pollutants produced by their engines. 
Why would they do it?
If all diesel engine manufacturers have been using a so called defeat device, they will not gain any advantage (or any increased profits) over their direct diesel competitors because they will all be showing the same reduced levels of toxic fumes and therefore there will be no significant difference in their published emissions data and no advantage over the competition.
So, If it is shown that other or all diesel vehicle manufacturers have been deceiving regulators by systematically installing software which masks the actual levels of toxic pollutants produced by their engines, the conclusion must be that they have not been doing it in order simply to achieve competitive advantage over other diesel engine manufacturers, but to diminish the advantage and prevent the uptake of a viable completely different, competing clean technology - electric cars, vans, buses and lorries.
The auto industry and its mutually dependent partner in crime the fossil fuel industry will do anything to keep their dirty show on the road and keep out upstart competitors like electric vehicles and wind power*. And they have been doing it with total disregard to the effect it has on our health and the damage it does to the planet.

* Wind power - because we need to decarbonise electricity to maximise the advantage of electric transport. Wind power (specifically offshore wind power) must replace coal oil, gas and nuclear derived electricity.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Pull the Plug

Jeremy Corbyn should say that, if elected, Labour will pull the plug on new nuclear.
This would make EDF and the Chinese government think again about the deal Osborne is offering is offering. They would pull out.
Nuclear makes no sense as a solution to climate change. We need an international solution to the climate crisis, and there is no question whether nuclear could provide all of the worlds electricity, let alone all of the worlds energy. It cannot get anywhere near either. There is not enough Uranium 235. And, anyway, politically, the West does not want to see nuclear being developed where it is not in control. Iran shows us this.

Investing in nuclear means that cheaper, more reliable and safer alternative technologies - like onshore and offshore wind and solar heat and pv along with efficiency measures like building insulation, are deprived of that investment.