Archives for posts with tag: climate change

Is this part of the key to unlock just why Governments so often dys-function?

There is a vast body of (e.g. spirit level) evidence that increasing the “rich-poor” divide makes us sick, unhappy, and fearful.  Pursuing policies that make the rich even richer is not just wrong, (although wrong’s enough, in my book) but also illogical in terms of the self-interest of the rich. It is the politics of self-harm. And those who lead this way need our compassion. They need help!

Supposing this is ‘just’ a cock-up – Abilene style – rather than a conspiracy of a few bad men?

“The Abilene paradox is a paradox in which a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of any of the individuals in the group. It involves a common breakdown of group communication in which each member mistakenly believes that their own preferences are counter to the group’s and, therefore, does not raise objections. A common phrase relating to the Abilene paradox is a desire to not “rock the boat”

Interstingly  – “not rocking the boat” (sorry for those enduring floods today) – was an expression that I heard more during the 7 years as part of the Civil Service (early 1990s) – than at ANY other time in my life.  A clue perhaps?

When the governmental lifeboat has big holes in it – rocking the boat helps us progress.

(Imagining)  An Extraordinary Speech from the Prime Minister of Great Britain 
February 6th 2014 – check against (future?) delivery



Dear People of Britain


It is with heavy heart that I speak to you today.


The British Isles are under attack.


We have no foreigners to blame, no scapegoat, no opposition.


Our attacker is extreme weather, and it is here to stay, for generations.


Many saw this coming; indeed the first warnings were fifty years ago. And I should like to offer an apology, as one of the many consecutive Prime Ministers who, over that period, felt we had to turn a blind eye, deny all reality, and instead speak to the more pressing ‘urgent’ (but ultimately, on a dead planet, unimportant) issues of the day, like “retail sales data” or “talking up the housing market (bubble)”. Prime Minsters and their advisers have, until now, mistaken the ‘urgent’ for the ‘important’. We ignored the latter. All I can do now is apologise. And speak today about what is important.


As you well know, I chaired a COBRA meeting yesterday, about the floods and storm damage. The normal pattern of parliamentary events (normal over the last half century) would be to issue a press release stating, very firmly, that Your Government is taking Immediate Action to ensure that the (perfectly predictable) tragedies you see on your televisions can “Never ever happen again”. In turn, you the people pretend to have short memories, and we move on.


But we all know this old approach fools no one – and is utterly broken. The truth is that extreme weather events will happen again, and again, with devastating regularity, severity, ferocity even. This much we know.


It is hard, as your PM, to say this to you, but:-


I . am . powerless . to . stop . this .


We could have prepared much better for these times. But we are where we are.


There are two things any PM could do now. One can be done in secret, without your support or participation. And already is, I am ashamed to confess. That is the deployment of state or private wealth, at the level of the individual or gated community, to try to buttress ourselves from the worst. At National scale we can establish “Fortress Britain” which probably sounds an attractive option to many of you. But sadly there is more bad news. There is no fund large enough to provide for inclusion of 63 million of you.


The truth is that hard decisions will have to be taken (already are being taken), behind closed doors, to ‘write off’ some parts of the previously-United Kingdom. It will become more and more obvious to you that ‘your’ government is presiding over a Divided Britain. Where a few percent of you are gated, protected, and nurtured. (A bit like ‘Westminster village’ may appear on TV.) And the rest of you? Left to rot.


I simply cannot continue in that role. When I wrote this speech I wondered if I would be escorted from the stage at this point, and the plugs pulled on the BBC cameras, but it appears I have another minute or so… to I shall continue… to speak from the heart…


I can’t continue to lead a Britain for the few. Not just because it would be wrong and unfair, though perhaps that is reason enough, but because ultimately it would fail. No fortress wall could ever be built strong enough.


In our hearts we know – as humans – the truth that all ‘beings’ are interconnected. Watching people or animals die – outside – would kill us – inside. Metaphorically and literally. No thanks.


And here is the hardest thing for you to hear: I invite you to wake, and open your hearts and eyes to the reality that ‘Fortress Britain’- for a wealthy few, is not just a **future** possibility, it is already here. It is the Britain we have gotten used to, these last 50 years. Watching poorer communities drown, starve, bake or otherwise go under. We are the rich 1 percent, globally. Being aware of this sets us free. So what is to be done?


If you wish me to continue as your PM – here is what I will do.


I will start to refocus all of our famous British ingenuity, creativity, resilience and effort towards realising how – all of us – that’s 7 billion of us – can live a decent life in ecological balance with our beautiful home planet. I would of course work with other heads of state on this.


This may lead to considerably less ‘luxury’ at home for all of us, right now, but how much is enough? Food and clean water on the table? A roof over our heads? That is achievable for us all. Imagine the prospect of participating in a decade or two of a great effort – in order to reestablish a working basis for productive ecological livelihoods – on this fertile planet – that can be sustained ever more. What a brave legacy that could be, for all who follow us.


I would work to immediately secure a global climate peace deal – acceptance of fair, binding and radical targets, for the phase out of all forms of pollution. All this can be agreed tomorrow, without one more day of dither and delay. This fossil fuelled delusion ends here. And a bright green future starts. (Yet we can’t be sure what it will look like.)


We can build a pathway into the future for our grandkids: we can build a bridge – to a future world – for all children, of all species, of all nations, for all time. Can we build it? Of course we can. We are a proud nation of Bob The Builder’s.


Many of us will not live to see the fruits of our labours, but we can set sail; with new resolve and determination, and address all the upstream causes of our major “falling-out” with the Mother of all Nature, the Earth that we ultimately – and utterly – depend upon. This is like building the foundations – of a new whole-Earth “Cathedral”. It may take generations to build. But it will be worth it. Imagine the pride when it is finished.


We can re-establish how we live, interconnected with one another, even the poorest, and with Nature once again. There’s no alternative. Not a living one, at least.


So today I ask – will you back me in this – or sack me.


Will you demand that I start to address the upstream causes of the many and various unfolding collapsing flooding consequences of our divided kingdom – and phoney civilisation?


– or –


will you kick me out of your fortress, and spend your savings building a wall. Higher still. The same wall that will divide you from your own survival.


Listen to your heart. I did. It wrote this speech for me.

All by itself. Maybe it speaks to you. Thank you.

Eric Alexander’s weather watch 2013


Our atmosphere hit the 400ppm mark this year.
Many scientists have long warned that we would be very unwise to exceed 350ppm.

My friend, Eric Alexander, like me, is deeply concerned about “global weirding“. Over the years, like me, he has written to our local paper, the Bucks Free Press, to robustly challenge the steady stream of ludicrous letters that the paper still prints; you know the sort of thing, outwardly impressive sounding pseudoscience, claiming that manmade climate change is a hoax, and that it’s perfectly safe to carry on burning fossil fuels. (For a few dollars/barrels more?)

Well this year, every evening, Eric has been tuning in faithfully to the global weather forecasts that are available on some media channels. Al Jazeera, for example is particularly good source of daily weather reports it seems.  Eric has in effect been joining the dots – collecting – not just one or two examples – but ALL of the instances of (publicly reported news) of “weird weather” – happening now, outside a cinema near you – each day – on an almost daily basis.  By the end of December he will have compiled 2013 in summary.

Funny weather.  Weird weather. Weather events formerly known as “freak”.  He has been busily joining the dots – for everyone’s benefit – so we can see the big picture all at once – and start to raise the alarm that this “little” problem with Spaceship Earth’s climate control system ain’t going away.

I think that maybe younger people, busy, stressed, frenetic, and perhaps with shorter attention spans. or over-loaded memory space may have less focus and discipline to do this simple task.  Anyway, Eric has done it for us all.  We just need to read and heed it.

Perhaps you too will wish to share his news?  I hope so.

Anyone could have done this of course, but Eric did.
(Citizen science perhaps?)

The Good News, or the Bad News?

Yes, it certainly looks like very bad news.  But there is good news too – of course.  When we all truly start to face up to this rather alarming planetary health diagnosis – and accept that our business as usual “20 a day” (kg of fossil fuel)”smoking” lifestyle is going to kill us all – and most other beings on our planet – for all time – then we just might start to do something about it.

Eric lives in High Wycombe with his wife Frances Alexander, founder of the Wycombe Environment centre (EcoBuzz)


My daughters Martha and Grace a few years ago – enjoying a visual representation of one kilo of CO2

The below (unedited) is Eric’s latest weather watch report (to end of November) – I will keep you posted:


Derived mainly from Al Jazeera’s English TV news channel

Heavy rainfall, with extensive flooding, reported from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina,  Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Laos, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauretania, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Vietnam, Yemen.   Tally 66 – (47 in first six months of 2013)

Super-highlights June-August 2013

“Danube at all-time high”                                                                                               6 June

63,000 missing in unprecedented floods, north India                                                  19 June

First-ever flooding reported by Calgary resident, Canada                                           22 June

“Canada’s worst wildfire” hits Quebec province                                                         15 July

Floods in Puerto Rico after unprecedented rainfall                                                      2 Aug

Temperature in Shanghai hits new maximum                                                              7 Aug

First ever red drought warning in China’s Hubei province                                          18 Aug

“Worst ever” floods reported in Manila                                                                        21 Aug

“Worst flooding in decades” in NE China –                                                                  28 Aug

Over 50 dead, thousands flee their homes

“48,000 people made homeless” by floods in Niger                                                      29 Aug

“Thousands flee their homes” in flooded Mali capital                                                    30 Aug

Highlights September-October 2013

36.5C “hottest start to spring” in Alice Springs, Australia                                              1 Sep

“Warmest winter on record” in New Zealand                                                                 3 Sep

“Worst ever” floods in Colorado: thousands flee homes                                              16 Sep

Mexico’s “worst weather crisis since 1958” strands 40,000 tourists                           18 Sep

30,000 driven from their homes by floods in Brazil                                                      24 Sep

Typhoon Fitow destroys 1,700 homes in eastern China                                               7 Oct

In NE India, Cyclone Phailin leaves a million homeless, crops ruined                         13 Oct

State of Emergency as 60 bushfires rage in New South Wales, Australia                  20 Oct

70,000 forced from their homes by flooding in eastern India                                      27 Oct

Severe storm in southern England disrupts transport, power supplies                       28 Oct

November daily reports

Flooding in Texas, two killed                                                                                         1 Nov

Heavy storms across central USA & Queensland                                                        2 Nov

Homes evacuated in Mexico as tropical storm Sonia causes flooding                         5 Nov

“Supertyphoon“ Haiyan brings flooding &  200 mph winds to Philippines                       8 Nov

“Biggest recorded storm to make landfall.  25th this year in Philippines”

600,000 evacuate homes in Vietnam as Haiyan approaches                                    10 Nov

Floods from torrential thunderstorms in Uruguay                                                       ]  11

More flooding from Typhoon Haiyan in southern China                                              ] Nov

State of emergency in Somalian province after extensive flooding                           ]   15

Heavy rain in northern Algeria & Tunisia                                                                    ]  Nov

Another storm brings torrential rain to south Vietnam                                                ]  16

Heavy flooding in eastern Australia                                                                            ] Nov

Flooding in areas near Cape Town                                                                            17 Nov

65 “unseasonal” tornadoes devastate 5 US states from Kentucky to Michigan        ]

Heavy snow disrupts transportation in NE China                                                       ] 18 Nov

Bad flooding in central Vietnam, dozens killed                                                          ]

Torrential rain & dust storms in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait coastal regions                             ]   19

“Apocalyptic” damage from cyclone in Sardinia                                                         ]  Nov

Heavy snowfall causes disruption in parts of France and Spain                                ]    21

Several days of torrential rain cause deaths in Saudi Arabia & Iraq                          ]   Nov

Flooding in Andhra Pradesh, eastern India                                                                 ]   22

Heavy snow causes disruption in China’s Xinjiang province                                     ]  Nov

Strong winds hit northern California                                                                           ]    23

Flooding in Rhodes                                                                                                      ]   Nov

Heavy rain and snow in USA                                                                                        26 Nov

In Australia, south-west experiences heaviest rainfall yet recorded                             ]    29

while north suffers from a week of flooding by Tropical Cyclone Alessia                   ]   Nov

100,000 suffering deprivation in Somalia after recent tropical cyclone                         ]

Close of weakest Atlantic/Caribbean hurricane season reported                             ] 30 Nov

Heavy rain disrupts search for survivors from Angola-Mozambique flight                ]

FAO says $24 million is needed to replenish crops destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines.  Half a million tonnes of rice need importing to replenish stock.  Crop losses worth £110 million, damage to agricultural sector twice as much.  [From The Star online, 20 November]


Above – Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Instutute


It is 2016

An Asti Spumante cork has popped, in Rio perhaps

The whole wide world is celebrating – an historic Global Climate Peace Deal Protocol has been ratified

It is grounded in the wit, wisdom and will-power of this man, Aubrey Meyer, of the Global Commons Institute, who ‘discovered’ Contraction and Convergence (C&C) , its beauty, logic, nature, maths and inevitability, more than 25 years before it eventually came into force.

But, eventually, it did.

“Here’s one I prepared earlier” he said

Climate justice without vengeance

And they all lived happily ever after.