Thursday, December 15, 2011

Planet, people, problem

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Bit of discussion on population between me and rocketbob here following some letter about countryside protection from development. Here's my most substantial contribution:

Yes rocketbob population is a very sensitive issue in many ways, as you say for religion and racism, to name just two. All the more reason for wide-ranging, inclusive debate before any changes are decided on. It wont be easy. I would propose we aim for optimum population by reason, information, education and any changes we can establish a reasonable consensus on. This has the advantage of breaking the taboo on this debate and being less controversial but the disadvantage of perhaps not being enough to achieve meaningful change fast enough. Its better than no action at all and allowing problems to build such that we are forced into draconian action by events. The point is on a finite planet and in a finite city resources available are limited and so there are limits to population size and growth rate whether we like to acknowledge them, as you do, or not.

Dont take my word for it. In Sir David Attenborough’s view, there is no major problem facing our planet that would not be easier to solve if there were fewer people and no problem that does not become harder — and ultimately impossible to solve — with ever more. We must find agreed ways to achieve optimum population in cities, countries and around the globe and especially those with already high populations, those with intense impacts and those with very rapidly growing population and impact intensity. See:


*We [Bristol] have a population of about 441,300 - the largest city in the South West.

*Bristol's population is expected to reach 559,600 people by 2028

*World population reached an estimated 7, 000, 000, 000 ie 7 billion last month.

*2 extra people every second, that is 200,000 each day or nearly 80,000,000 per year is human population growth on this planet - all needing food, water, warmth, shelter and aspiring to have good choices and a decent life.

'Let them eat carbon'

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Roger James: Climate change deal is no good for the planet Bristol24-7

Excellent article - here's an extract:

...These, then, are the achievements, but sadly these still leave the planet and particularly its poorest people hurtling towards catastrophic climate change. We have a roadmap, a timeline which might become a protocol, but meanwhile crucial action to limit greenhouse gas emissions is postponed for nine years.

Scientists believe global mean warming could reach about 3.5°C by 2100 with the current reduction proposals on the table. They are definitely insufficient to limit temperature increase to 2°C. Approximate estimates indicate that the most extreme costs will be felt in West Africa and South Asia, with residual damage of 3.5% of regional GDP for 2°C warming and 5-6% for 3°C warming.

With a 2°C warming, adaptation costs would be half those associated with a 3°C temperature rise. Global emissions, which have risen by nearly 50% in the past 20 years, must peak within the next five years. The prospect of stronger action on emissions in the years ahead was minimised, ensuring no new, deeper targets would take effect before 2020...

Badger culling

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Anger as badger culling given go-ahead for next year - Nature - Environment - The Independent

Also see:

Bristol: Carbon City

1 comment:
Really Cllr Kent is deluded - he blows his trumpet very loudly indeed when he says Bristol will get the transport system it deserves. Cllrs love it when they can announce they've got money for something almost no matter what it is. For a start building a new road will ultimately add to the congestion and pollution existing now at high levels - its already very costly to business in pounds and costly to people in health and the environment in lost quality and quantity. Bus Rapid Transit is often not the best technology - and persistently asking just a few questions at public meetings on BRT reveals environmental decision making 'systems' that are simply not joined up thinking. Whatever happened to building a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all, the aim of Bristol Green Capital?



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Cllr Richard Eddy says he sympathises with '...the desire to protect our precious countryside from major development ' (here **). Why then does he favour constructing the South Bristol Link Road through it, stressing that he is a 'long-standing supporter of getting it finished' (see here)? Obviously protecting the countryside is not that high on his agenda - and mostly features in his world when seeking public political advantage with greenspeak!

Or is this more of Bristol Tory Cllr Eddy's special kind of 'logic'...the kind that allows him to say that the link road will 'ease congestion'(see here), despite all the weight of research evidence and experience for decades that shows building roads encourages car use which quickly fills them up to the point of congestion.


**(Great letter on countryside protection from James Burden and Des Baker on the same page by the way - go to the link they give for more )