topic: climate change

an argument for scottish independence

(In the Autumn of 2014, the people of Scotland are going to vote in a referendum to decide whether they wish to separate from the UK. There are all kinds of arguments that can be made for and against this separation, I would like to add one of my own.) Humanity seems unable to focus on doing what would have to be done to head off global warming of 2ÂșC – and, the way things […]

a bite of the cherry

policeman in front of a picture of Mao...

It seems that those of us who live in the West may need to get used to the fact that our economies are not going to return to constant growth. The belief that things are going to always continue to get better – at least in the sense of a constantly growing GDP – has always been a fantasy: constant growth of the kind we’ve experienced, that consists of consuming the Earth’s resources, presupposes that […]

climate flicker

No doubt, wherever you may be, you have been experiencing anomalous weather conditions for several years. We are constantly being told that this winter is the coldest since records began; that this summer the driest, this quarter the wettest, this spring the earliest. Though many of us suspect that this must have something to do with global warming, we are told that there is not enough evidence at present to prove that. As I understand […]

in Yazd

I wrote this on the 9th, but it’s taken me a few days to insert the photographs… Before I talk about Yazd, I want to tell you what happened today. I had, with pleasing efficiency, got up early, had a quick breakfast and had managed to see one last garden, as well as breezing through a museum on qanats (more about that later). A last minute rush to change some money, quick packing, ordering a […]

arrival in Istanbul

I hate flying. I hate flying for several reasons. For one being transported like sheep in a truck. For another the being processed like a parcel – moved around on conveyor belts, weighed and stamped, shunted from one tedious wait to another. The apparently glamorous ultra-modernism of grand airport terminals is hardly a compensation, saturated as they are by advertising and all the vulgar excesses of rampant consumerism. Worse of all is that, like the […]

force majeur

Snow has fallen heavily along the coast of the British Isles – 60cm, perhaps. With our maritime climate, this kind of weather is unusual enough that it has never been worthwhile investing vast resources in proofing our infrastructure against it: but common enough that when it happens it brings chaos. From the midst of this chaos rises the usual outcry: why can’t they do something about it? The same voices would be the first to […]

Copenhagen #3: aftermath…

Well, predictably, the Copenhagen conference was a washout. I am not, however, ready to follow George Monbiot in declaring it a disaster. The way I see it is that Copenhagen is the first time we have got together as a species to tackle a common problem. That this happened at all is a clear admission that global warming is a threat that we all now recognize. That in itself is amazing progress. Further, there were […]

folding plug – saviour of the universe

My brother pointed this out to me yesterday and it got me rather excited. Now first of all, for all of you outside the UK, this may be hard to understand. You may even think I’ve lost it. “Plugs? He thinks plugs are going to save the world?” But bear with me… The reason this excited me – apart from the sheer elegance of Min-Kyu Choi’s design – was because it took me completely by […]

Copenhagen #2…

Here is a link to an excellent article in the Guardian that sets the stage for the drama that Copenhagen might turn out to be… I’m sure you’re as concerned as I am about the threat to our planet from global warming. I can’t say that I have great hopes for the meeting that is opening today at Copenhagen to come up with any definitive progress. However, I have become heartened by the way this […]


Here’s another of those wonderful graphics (discussed in a previous post). It instantly makes many things clear. Not least how responsible we are in the West – the US and Europe in particular – for the predicament we find ourselves in. Also how little China and India and Brazil, the new ‘bad boys’, are responsible. And most crucially, how little time there is… Then, when you combine it with this other graphic… noting especially the […]