Saturday, June 02, 2007

'Any Questions?'; Brown...Green?; Factor 10 reductions?

I was in the audience of Radio 4's 'Any Questions?' broadcast live last night from Explore @Bristol, along with green friends and family. . I submitted a couple of questions (below) but many others were submitted, especially on climate change (according to presenter Jonathan Dimbleby) and neither of mine were selected to be put to the panel of public figures.

There was a great discussion following a question on George Bush's recent words on climate change, won hands down by panelist George Monbiot (who was generally very entertaining and crowd pleasing). Debate ranged widely, with questions also covering how to deal best with paedophiles; Catholic views on abortion; Conservative views on grammar schools; where panelists would go on a 'farewell tour' (a la Tony Blair)...

With carbon dioxide emissions now higher than in 1997, can we expect Brown to ever truly be Green?

I'm very sceptical about Gordon Brown's green credentials, as you might expect. There is a huge difference between the bigger parties warm words and their actions! I'd welcome others comments on this though.

With UN World Environment Day this Tues how would the panel assess the scale of progress made towards a sustainable society in the last 10 yrs?

In terms of practical action we have made little or no progress overall (UK carbon dioxide emissions are 1-2% higher now than in 1997 when our very concerned government came to power for instance). I find that most politicians lack a sense of scale when bandying the word sustainability around. The rough rule of thumb I use with my environmental science/technology students is 'factor 10' ie in resource use/pollution/waste production terms we need a tenfold reduction (90%) to approach sustainability in the UK. Of course you cant isolate the UK from the rest of the world but its still a useful rough guide.

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