What to do about climate change right now

So, one of the most obvious things we noticed after going to countless screenings of The Age of Stupid to give short talks afterwards was that people always wanted to know the same thing: what should I actually DO about climate change?

We found ourselves giving a range of nuanced answers about any action being worthwhile, and different approaches being right for different people, yadda yadda yadda etc. I would often speak for ten minutes in this vein, and then someone in the audience would stick their hand up and say, 'But what should I actually DO though?'.

Clearly what was needed was a simple, catchy answer that would be applicable to anyone in any audience. Back at the start of the year, we didn't have one of those. But now - we do.



10:10 is an ambitious project to unite every sector of British society behind one simple idea: that by working together we can achieve a 10% cut in the UK’s carbon emissions in 2010.


Why bother jumping out of the way of a speeding car? Why bother removing a burst appendix?

Cutting 10% in one year is a bold target, but for most of us it’s an achievable one, and is in line with what scientists say we need over the next 18 months. We now know for certain that unless we act quickly to reduce our use of dirty fossil fuels, humanity will face terrible problems in the years to come. Politicians have so far failed to do what needs to be done, so it’s time for ordinary people to step in and show that we’re ready to defend our children’s futures. It’s now or never for the climate.

By signing up to a 10% target we’re not just supporting 10:10 – we’re making it happen. In our homes, in our workplaces, our schools and our hospitals, our galleries and football clubs and universities, we’ll be backing each other up as we take the first steps on the road to becoming a zero-carbon society. It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of a huge problem like climate change, but by uniting everyone behind immediate, effective and achievable action, 10:10 enables all of us to make a meaningful difference.

10:10 is the perfect opportunity to discover what’s possible when we work together. Let’s get started.


Climate Radio: The Great Carbon Offsetting Scandal

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It is the fatal flaw at the heart of both the EU and US climate policies which threatens to make a scientifically robust and fair climate deal in Copenhagen impossible. It is the reason that when the EU says it is cutting greenhouse gases 20% by 2020 or 30% if there is a global deal in Copenhagen, they are in fact putting a cut of just 10 or 15% on the negotiating table. And it is the reason why when the UK says it is cutting greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 it is actually committing itself to a cut of only 40% within the UK.

This week we take a look at the creative accounting mechanism which makes this sleight of hand possible – carbon offsetting under the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism – more commonly known at the CDM.

We take the argument against large-scale carbon offsetting under the CDM to the head of the Market-Based Instruments Unit at the European Commission, Yvon Slingenberg; and we hear from Tom Picken, Head of the International Climate Change at Friends of the Earth, who is co-author why does the military buy viagra of the most accessible report yet on the case against carbon offsetting under the CDM, “A Dangerous Distraction.”



Climate Radio: Climate Camp(s) 2009

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climate camp 09

55-minute special featuring the voices of Climate Camp activists. Arthur of the London Camp for Climate Action media team is live in the studio discussing

  • the rapid take-up of the Climate Camp model around the world – there are over a dozen Camps around the globe this year
  • policing and legal aspects and
  • the justification for direct action in the face of inaction to prevent devastating climate change
We have interviews with four London campers on
  • what’s planned for this year’s camp
  • legal and policing aspects
  • the direct action training that’s on offer and
  • the mass action that’s planned for later in the year

We also have four short statements from the Camps in Australia, New Zealand, US and Finland; and a range of voices taken from a recent Climate Camp promotional video.

A political reality may be emerging here that civil action could well force the government to act. This might even be one of those rare ocassions where everyday but resolute citizens have a lasting impact on the great issue of our time. – Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies, University of Bradford


Climate Radio: Climate Camp 2008 revisited

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climate camp

With this year’s Camp for Climate Action in London fast approaching we revisit our report on last year’s Camp at Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in Kent. The programme provides a window on the gaping gulf between mainstream reporting on the event and the reality of the Camp itself. Includes interviews with some of those involved in some of the associated direct actions. Links and references


Climate Radio: Arctic Special part 2

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arctic 2

In the second part of our Arctic special featuring New Internationalist co-editor Jess Worth we look at

  • the historic Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change and its implications for the UN climate talks in Copenhagen at the end of the year
  • the Arctic’s central position in the climate tipping point story and
  • the rush to exploit the fossil fuel resources in the Arctic opened up by the sea ice melt

We also hear from Vietnam vet and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge campaigner, Robert Thompson, about the potential impacts of an oil spill and about the oil company tactic of bribery that has attempted to split and buy-out local opposition to oil drilling.



Climate Radio: Arctic Special part 1

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The first of two episodes featuring Jess Worth – a co-editor of New Internationalist – who has recently finished editing an issue of the magazine focusing on the Arctic which uncovers the largely untold story of how climate change is impacting already on indigenous peoples and their traditional subsistence lifestyles.

We hear from Gwich’in activist Faith Gemmill (co-odinator of REDOIL) about how indigenous peoples are fighting back against fossil fuel developments on their lands. A recent string of successful legal challenges suggests that indigenous peoples could end up playing a critical role in the fight against climate change. REDOIL have won important victories over Shell, the US government and the Environmental Protection Agency.


Climate Radio: Ricardo Navarro

The 300-350 Show: Ricardo Navarro – Ricardo Navarro (Friends of the Earth El Salvador, CESTA) (09.07.2009)


Climate Radio: The Double Duty

The 300-350 Show: Copenhagen Solutions - The Double Duty – Richard King (Oxfam), Ricardo Navarro (Friends of the Earth El Salvador, CESTA) (02.07.2009)


Climate Radio: Bonn Wrap-Up

The 300-350 Show: Bonn Wrap-Up – Meena Raman (Third World Network) (18.06.2009)


Roll on grid parity

Solar Power

Up until now, Britain's progress towards renewable energy has been all mouth and no trousers - loads of chat, but very little substance. Greenpeace just published a report showing just how weak government back-up for its lofty rhetoric has actually been: the UK is third from bottom in a league table of renewable energy across Europe, with only 1.3% of our energy coming from renewable sources in 2005. In 1995, the figure was 1%. So that's a 0.3% increase in ten years. Given that the UK has the best wind, wave and tidal resources in all of Europe, this half-baked performance is a truly damning inditement of UK renewable energy policy over the last decade.

This picture might just be about to change however, with the introduction of a new set of feed-in tariffs, which have been used successfully by dozens of other countries who are now well ahead of us in the renewables stakes.

The most important thing to come out of the strong support from MPs for feed-in tariffs is that they will bring 'grid parity' tantalisingly close. Grid parity is the point at which renewable energy becomes as cheap as electricty from conventional power stations. From that moment onwards, the rationale for installing new non-renewable power generation infrastructure disappears completely, and demand for renewable energy becomes effectively infinite. 

Amazingly, reports suggest Italy's solar photo-voltaic (PV) generation may reach grid parity as early as next year, with Britain not too far behind at 3-5 years away. Grid parity will change everything for the entire power generation sector, and will signal an historic turning point in the transition to a decarbonised economy. The sooner it comes, the better for everyone.

Keep up to date with all the Not Stupid campaign news, plus lots and lots of other trustworthy sources of news about all things climate related.

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