Goodbye nuclear holocaust, hello global warming - by Marc Thomas

We hear a lot about Climate Change these days. There is a good reason for this, Climate Change is the most severe threat our civilisation has faced since we invented the means to destroy ourselves in a nuclear holocaust. Thankfully we seem to have pulled back from the brink on the nuclear issue, but now a new scare faces us. Is this scare credible? There is remarkable consensus among the scientific community worldwide. Read more ...

There are a few dissenting voices, vocal and well funded, but trace back the money and you find they almost exclusively owned by powerful vested interests such as Exxon. Even the political community takes the issue seriously, as the Kyoto Protocol testifies. At the very least we will face problems with rising sea levels and greater extremes of weather. More probably in our complex, global and highly populated civilisation our basic food security is threatened. All this comes on top of general resource scarcity caused by our ever-growing material appetites. It is no coincidence that we are currently occupying an oil rich state. Oil is at or near peak production - the point at which demand outstrips potential supply.
What can we do about it? Our leaders seem keen to distract us (and remove our hard won civil liberties) with the so-called 'war on terror'. If not a phantom menace then certainly highly 'sexed up'. The Kyoto Protocol, while laudable, is insufficient to have any real impact, and then of course there is America - what can we do if they don't want to play?
OK, so America has the highest levels of material consumption. But we are not so far behind. Although you wouldn't believe it from the current administration there is a strong groundswell in America towards a more sustainable lifestyle. We must hope that they win out. Meanwhile we should act to cut our own impact and move towards a truly sustainable way of life. This will undoubtedly involve a degree of sacrifice, but perhaps less than you think.
My own particular focus is on energy. We consume vast amounts of it, and waste much. The proportion of renewables is tiny at only 3%, but growing fast. Future technologies have promised much for a long time, and there is abundant energy in theory, but it is generally expensive and difficult to capture in the quantity we have got used to consuming. For example, even with some subsidy, solar panels have a 10+ year payback on the initial investment. Clearly fossil energy is too cheap. It does not reflect the environmental cost. Clearly there is much the government could do by further raising fossil prices and reducing renewable prices through further subsidy. Yet there is also much we can do at only marginal extra cost.
There is an imperative to act now. The sooner we cut greenhouse gas emissions the easier it will be. We can't afford to wait and gamble on unlimited supplies of non-polluting energy from some dream technology. For this reason we must make efficient use of the renewable energy that we can create by reducing our consumption demand, increasing energy efficiency when we do use it, and using renewable energy whenever possible.
In relation to transport this can be summarised as: 1. get a bike, 2. use a small diesel car* when necessary, and 3. use bio-diesel in the car.
Until recently it hasn't been easy to buy bio-fuels for cars, and this is why we have recently started a company to do just that. Bio-ethanol for petrol cars is still some way off, but bio-diesel is now available. Made from recycled vegetable oil from Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the bio-fuel can be used right away in most diesel vehicles as a blend with fossil diesel. For 100% use some conversion is necessary to the fuel delivery system.  Our fuel is available from our unit in Kingstone, although we will move to Thorn Industrial Estate (opposite Rotherwas) over the summer.
There is good news over the cost too. At only 75p / litre this environmentally friendly fuel is considerably cheaper than the fossil alternative.  And if you do insist on driving a small tank/ SUV then at least salve your conscience by running it on bio-diesel.
For further details please visit our website or call 01989 567041.

Posted: Sat - September 17, 2005 at 10:14 PM