Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Now is the time to invest, invest, invest in going green!!

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The poorest people in the world are suffering most from climate change and will be the worst affected by climate change to come. The map starkly illustrates this. They need richer countries, who have produced the climate problem in the process of becoming rich, to act seriously and urgently. Higher temperatures mean many of the world's poorest areas face: less water availability; lower crop yields; degraded resources such as woods/forests, biodiversity available; higher disease incidence; weather extremes from prolonged drought to sudden extreme flooding, extreme temperatures to violent storms (see this report on scientific evidence from the IPCC for instance).

That moves have been made to dilute and undermine valuable work on tackling climate change done by the EU is thus very worrying and shortsighted (details here). Governments across Europe, not least our own, are using the current financial crisis to excuse tough action on climate - they are willing to spend billions bailing out banks but action to benefit the world's poorest is not a priority. The potential impacts of the climate crisis are enormous for all of us and you'd think that the effects of not planning, regulating, and investing for both the short, the medium and long term are clearly illustrated by the financial crisis! Action to genuinely tackle climate is just not an option - clearly our society and within it our economy (and within that our financial system) exist within and are dependent on our environment.

Investment needed to build secure, stable, climate-friendly green economies around the globe is just the kind of investment that would help tackle recession too. Hundreds of thousands of jobs could result in Europe alone from the right kind of policies on just energy efficiency and wind power, also excellent for cutting carbon and tackling climate change. This could be repeated around the globe, building green infrastructure in countries both rich and poor. Scope for growth from green investments is very high!

Details on the Green New Deal.
Some background on Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s.

Update: interesting to see that Jonathon Porritt, Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission has made basically the same point as this post on his blog.

This post is part of Blog Action Day 08 - Poverty

Complaint about complaint!

1 comment:
Sent the email below to Bristol City Council today, marked for the urgent attention of Jan Ormondroyd, Chief Executive, Bristol City Council. There appears to be disarray in the handling of my complaint and so I've complained about it!
Please see below details of a complaint I made to the council via the online form available. This was submitted on 18 Sept. I was promised a full and formal response within 15 working days and have not received it. The time period elapsed some time ago and I have followed up on this through both a reminder email, a statement submitted to a full council meeting (14 Oct) and through phoning the complaints dept today and yesterday.

All I have had is a brief indication in a few emails who would be dealing with my points (the last information I have is that Richard Mond would be dealing with it, though it was previously with another person) with some brief discussion on issues. I recently sent a reminder email to Mr Mond asking for the latest on the progress of my complaint but received no response to this. Complaints are very unhappy that the proper procedures have not been followed by those officers dealing with my complaint and I had a conversation early this afternoon with Tim Sheppard from Complaints who is now contacting Richard Mond on my behalf to speed the process up from here. I 've not been contacted this afternoon by Mr Mond.

I'm very concerned about time slipping by however (my complaint has a strong bearing on a planning application that I want to comment on and object to and the time within which I can do this is running out) and thought I would email you too. Mr Mond did not give me information on the stage my complaint had reached, thus this email, which I think means my complaint is at stage 3 (?). I've been advised by my local councillor to contact the local govt ombudsman on the substance of my complaint and the process by which it has (or rather has not) been handled - I'm in the process of looking into doing this now and this message is copied to the local govt ombudsman.

I look forward to your response with interest.

Bristol City Council Complaint

I have two complaints about what appear to be procedural errors on the
part of the council in relation to land on the Bristol to Bath Railway
Path (where the development of the former chocolate factory is now

1. I am very concerned that the council's own procedures on green spaces
disposal or change of use has not and is not being applied to the green
corridor that is the Bristol to Path Railway Path.

The Parks and Green Spaces Strategy mentions the Bristol to Bath Railway
Path as an example of a significant and important green space. Yet it
seems that a strip of land which is council owned has either been sold-off
or is the subject of an in-principle agreement to sell before an Area
Green Space Plan covering the area has been drawn up and consulted upon.

This procedure is clearly outlined in the strategy and so I cant
understand why it has not been followed.

I'm also very concerned that a week ago I emailed Cabinet Member Cllr
Rosalie Walker for clarification of the status/designation of the land and
have not even received an acknowledgement, yet alone a prompt reply.

2. I am also very concerned that the plans for development on the strip of
land at Greenbank that I refer to above have not been subject to an
Environmental Impact Assessment as described by an EU Directive, even
though the directive is supposed to be interpreted and applied broadly in
order to make environmental protection effective.

Ensure that procedures outlined in the Parks and Green Spaces Strategy are
followed and applied to all green land along the Bristol to Bath Railway

Draw up an Area Green Space Plan, after public consulation, covering the
Bristol to Bath Railway Path green spaces, before any land is actually
sold and review urgently any in-principle agreement to sell council-owned
land on the path.

Inform me of the status/designation of the land in question, explaining,
if required, the reasons why the Parks and Green Spaces Strategy does not
cover the green spaces along the Bristol to Bath Railway Path.

Explain why an email to a cabinet member has not even been acknowledged, a
week after it was sent.

Urgently review whether the EU Environmental Impact Assessment procedure
should be applied to developments on/near the Bristol to Bath Railway
Path, interpreting the directive and its use as was intended by its
authors ie broadly.