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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Climate Change

Today I went on a visit to Plymouth.
Today the Royal Society published its brand new report entitled, " Climate Change: a summary of the science".
In Plymouth I stood on the spot where Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh and the Pilgrim Fathers all set out to sail across the Atlantic and around the world and into battle.

Now having read a little about those sailing adventures and rushed through a copy of the Royal Society  report , downloaded from the web, I am struck by a common  characteristic of all these accounts of human endeavour.

In each case history making actions and decisions were taken on very imperfect information and knowledge.

Our imagination helps us feel the act of faith of the early sailors  in for example, 1620 and now the Royal Society under pressure from Members and climate change sceptics using its resources of a wide range of highly qualified Fellows of the Society,  has reviewed the science and concludes its report with these comments:

"Paragraph  59: Like many important decisions, policy choices about climate change have to be made in
the absence of perfect knowledge. Even if the remaining uncertainties were substantially resolved, the wide variety of interests, cultures and beliefs in society would make consensus about such choices difficult to achieve. However, the potential impacts of climate change are sufficiently serious that important decisions will need to be made. Climate science – including the substantial body of knowledge that is already well
established, and the results of future research – is the essential basis for future climate projections and planning, and must be a vital component of public reasoning in this complex and challenging area"

In other words important actions almost always have to be taken with imperfect knowledge and action to respond to the scientific evidence about climate change will have to be taken.

Click here to see the RS report.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Government Consultation on the natural environment. No 5

In previous posts on this subject I've drawn attention to the full DEFRA  consultation document. But there is a simpler form which introduces the full set of questions and it is probably more likely to appeal to most people, including me, who just wants to quickly show their interest and concern about the natural environment.  It gives the following questions:

What are your views on the natural environment?

If you live in England, tell us which parts of the natural environment matter most to you and how we can best protect and enhance them.
Whether you live in a rural or an urban area, tell us your views by visiting our online survey and answering four short questions:
  1. Which parts of the natural environment matter most to you?
  2. How do you feel you benefit from the natural environment?
  3. How do you think we could improve the natural environment?
  4. What would encourage you to get involved in protecting the natural environment?
The deadline for responses is 30 October 2010.

Thus is much easier to cope with! I'll try to post my answers soon.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Government Consultation on the natural environment. No 4

I've just looked through all the questions in the Governments consultation document and quite honestly I will find it very hard to come up with sensible answers.
I got to  the the last one which is :

Question 15: If you could choose just one priority action for the Natural Environment White Paper
to drive forward locally, nationally or internationally – what would it be?

 I'm attending a meeting of the Somerset Wildlife Trust on Tuesday and I hope to get some guidance to bring to my Blog and to help me make a sensible submission on behalf of our local Area Group of the SWT.

The deadline for public responses is in 34 days time on Oct 30th!

Curry Rivel Community Website | Autumn glory | Stunning, Rose

Here is my recent posting of autumnal photos on our local community web site.Click on the link shown below.
The post showed an unusual growth on a self seeded wild rose growing in our local meadow new hedge. I now have the following explanation:

The growth on your rose is caused by a small gall wasp belonging to the Family Cynipidae. These galls are commonly known as Robin's pin cushions!
I'll add the photo here now.

Curry Rivel Community Website | Autumn glory | Stunning, Rose

There seems to be a problem getting to see the photos which are on a Picasa Web Album and not on the local web site at the moment. Please use this link here to view.
Or use this URL :  

As usual I found myself wondering what this Robins Pin Cushion was all about so Wiki gave me a great deal of information. Click here for the link.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Government consultation on the natural environment. No 3

Having checked the references given in my last post I have extracted all the questions asked by Defra and listed in the Summary Doc which can be seen in full  here.

To make sure I read each question myself and respond I intend to post each one and make a comment as a preliminary reply to send in to Defra.

Question 1: What do we need to do to embed the true value of our natural resources in decision making at all levels?

 This is a hard one. What does it mean? Who is going to take the action implicit in the question?  The summary doc gives some guidance and says:

" whilst we have made important progress, we have also continued to see piecemeal degradation –
leading to an ongoing decline in the quality and sustainability of many of our natural assets. These pressures are different from those which we have successfully addressed and require new approaches and solutions.
The White Paper will need to address a range of overarching challenges for future policy on the natural  environment including:
• Climate change – both the challenge to the natural environment represented by climate change and the role of the natural environment in managing the impacts of climate change on people and business as  well as being the source of the renewable energy that will help us mitigate climate change.
• Demographic changes – not just global population growth but also key changes in patterns of
consumption at home and across the globe.
• Incremental impacts – all the apparently minor choices we make that lead to piecemeal degradation of  our natural environment and which together can lead to permanent damage to the natural systems we  all rely on."

My off the cuff answer:    The White Paper shall require every decision taken by all levels of Government to start by making a statement showing its assessment of the effect the decision will have on all aspects of the environment. This would need to cover all levels from Parish Councils all the way to the top of the tree.

Your comments welcome!?

Government consultation on the natural environment. No 2

Chancellors Farm copyright Steve BondI have been neglecting my Blog and as a short term answer I am copying a posting from the Somerset Wildlife Trust web site just to get things moving again! 
From the SWT Web site, link  here
The White Paper on the Natural Environment provides a real opportunity to lay the foundations of nature conservation for the 21st Century. In the build up to the General Election, The Wildlife Trusts called on the next Government to introduce a White Paper for Nature to identify the policy changes needed to restore our natural environment and ecosystems. Now it is time for you to play your part in nature’s recovery.

Act Now…. Your Support Could Make All The Difference

1. Complete the Government’s online survey ­- make sure you, your family and friends complete the Government’s online survey and comment on ‘An invitation to shape the nature of England’ by 30 October 2010.
2. Contact your MP ­- ask your MP to champion an ambitious White Paper to restore nature. Keep us in the loop.
3. Support us ­- join Somerset Wildlife Trust or make a donation to help us restore the natural environment.

A Recovery Plan for Nature in Somerset

Somerset Wildlife Trust has a vision for A Living Landscape. This is a recovery plan for nature to help create a resilient and healthy environment rich in wildlife and provide ecological security for people. Find out about our local Living Landscape projects.

Government Plea to Somerset Wildlife Trust Members

Caroline Spelman, Defra Secretary of State for the Environment, has recorded a video message for Wildlife Trust members inviting them to contribute to the White Paper discussion. Click here to view it.