Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Cute blog about DIY and eco-friendly renovation. It has how to make a refrigerator that uses 1/10th the amount of energy of a traditional refrigerator.

It also has the link to ecofont which uses 20% less ink when printing.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

London has a desalination plant?!?!?!

Themes water is building a desalination plant to supply water to London. I can't believe that in a country where it rains every day that they really should need one.

I can almost understand countries that don't have a large rainfall or a reliable rainfall going down the desal route but there is so much water in the UK I just don't understand how they justify the energy use.

BBC 4 fontier program
Environmental cost of cocaine

On the BBC4 Today show this morning the Colombian vice-president Francisco Santos Calderon highlighted the environmental costs of cocaine.

He said that 1 gram of cocaine is responsible for destroying 4 square metres of rainforest. Yet another good reason for not taking the drug even for recreation.

There are lots of other reasons for not providing a market for a product that is responsible for devestating a country but I hadn't realised the cost to the rainforest.

BBC News article from May.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

I thought that we had got this figure wrong when I was looking at some old powerpoint slides.

European heatwave caused 35,000 deaths
13:38 10 October 2003
NewScientist.com news service

At least 35,000 people died as a result of the record heatwave that scorched Europe in August 2003, says an environmental think tank.

The Earth Policy Institute (EPI), based in Washington DC, warns that such deaths are likely to increase, as "even more extreme weather events lie ahead".

The EPI calculated the huge death toll from the eight western European countries with data available. "Since reports are not yet available for all European countries, the total heat death toll for the continent is likely to be substantially larger," it says in a statement.

Full article

Monday, 29 September 2008

Coin lamp

This lamp by designer Jethro Macey requires you to insert a coin before it lights up.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Beautiful but supremely depressing

I can't find the verson with the english words at the end that I can put on the blog. It says:
If you give up, they give up. Stop Global Warming.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

In the process of looking for a designer etc to do some corporate branding for me I've found these guys who have done some interesting research into sustainability communications.

They have a couple of interesting publications here.

The site includes their research into Words that Sell: How the public talks about sustainability.

'give waste a second chance' is a cute example of personification. They argue that we've attached tangible or financial values to resourses but we have an oportunity to attach emotional value.

I think the research shows how fast the agenda is moving as few people had heard of the term carbon footprinting. It was done 18mths ago and I'd be really suprised if the general public hadn't heard of the term by now.

They also have a great document that has their recommendations to the Climate Change Communications Working Group (which I can't find a decent reference to).

NHS Confederation

The NHS Confedederation has some great stuff on their website.

In February 2008, the Health Protection Agency and Department of Health published a report setting out the health effects of climate change. Responding, NHS Confederation chief executive, Gill Morgan, said rising temperatures will put significant pressure on the NHS and that the NHS is well placed to be at the heart of positive change. She said: 'There is already excellent work happening on the ground; the NHS is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint and engaging with organisations such as the Sustainable Development Commission to do so. As the UK's largest employer, the NHS can also help promote positive changes in attitude among its 1.3 million staff.'

Monday, 18 August 2008

Shadow Carbon Pricing

Organisations that aren't currently shadow carbon pricing are going to have a tough time when the British government introduces the carbon reduction commitment (CRC).

The Defra website has some information on the CRC.

Anyone in business who thinks that it is something that will happen in the future and that they don't need to worry about it now is going to get a fairly large shock.

The timeline:

  • Qualification year
    Organisations with half hourly meters will need to calculate their electricity use based on information provided by their suppliers. If their electricity consumption through these meters is greater than 6,000MWh per annum (organisation with a total electricity bill of £500,000 or more are likely to be included), the organisation will be covered by CRC.
  • Consultation on draft CRC regulations
    The Climate Change Bill contains enabling powers to introduce new trading schemes, including CRC. Government plans to issue a detailed consultation on the CRC draft regulations in late autumn 2008.
  • Raising awareness
    We will be running seminars to help organisations to familiarise themselves with CRC. We will publish a user guide to support potential participants in assessing whether they are in the scheme
  • Regulations come into force in October
  • Identification of CRC participants
    Early 2009, the Environment Agency – who will administer the CRC – will contact all UK billing addresses with half hourly meters providing them with Registration Packs. If you receive one of these packs, you will need to provide information on your total half-hourly electricity consumption in 2008 together with a list of your half-hourly meters, assisted by your electricity supplier.
  • Introductory phase begins
    Allowances will be sold to participants at a fixed price of £12/tCO2. The first sale will take place in April 2011. Note that this first sale will be unique, in that it will be for both 2010/11 allowances and 2011/12 allowances. All subsequent sales / auctions will only be for allowances for the year ahead.
  • First capped phase begins
    Auctioning of carbon allowances begins
Note: this is happening now and by 2010 it will be in full swing.

More information on the CRC at the Defra website

Shadow Pricing now is going to be helpful for any organisation:

"We use the shadow price of carbon to value the increase or decrease in emissions of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a proposed policy. Put simply, the SPC captures the damage costs of climate change caused by each additional tonne of greenhouse gas emitted, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for ease of comparison."

Sunday, 17 August 2008

NHS top 10

  1. 18 millions tonnes of CO2 per year
  2. 22% carbon footprint from heating, hotwater and energy use
  3. 60% carbon footprint from procurement
  4. 18% carbon footprint from travel (staff and patient)
  5. Responsible for 30% of all public sector emissions in England (world's largest public sector emitter of Carbon)
  6. Responsible for 3.2% of all carbon produced in England
  7. 1.3 million employees (world's third largest employer)
  8. Contact with 1 million patients every 36 hours
  9. If the NHS was a country it would be 30th in the world
  10. Need to reduce carbon by 60% by 2050