Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The Bali summit: Why is the British government's energy policy not delivering on its climate change targets?

Reposted from:

David Thorpe

The energy battle

The Bali summit: Why is the British government's energy policy not delivering on its climate change targets? Because it has been nobbled

December 4, 2007 7:00 PM | Printable version

The beautiful resort of Nusa Dua, Bali, is the scene this week of a battle of world-wide significance. Yes, it's yet another UN climate conference.

We're all used by now to how these things involve the spouting of giga-tonnes of hot air, and this one promises to be only slightly different. The IPCC report issued two weeks ago was the last warning salvo fired by the scientific community before the talks, and its most extreme warning yet. But no one expects any big breakthroughs.

The British position for Bali is to support the Washington Declaration but to expect to wait at least a year for progress, and hope that President Bush's successor will be more on board.

Away from the sun-kissed beaches of Indonesia, though, the action that's more of relevance to us in Britain is happening closer to our rain-drenched shores.

An assessment by the EU of progress towards the pitiably modest Kyoto targets shows Spain leading the way among the 26 member states, with the UK in the lower half - 10th from bottom and 16th from the top.

Why has Britain falled behind on renewable energy and carbon emissions? Why has the government seemed to say so much yet do so little? Why is the government expecting to build more nuclear power plants, and rely on carbon capture and storage to capture the rogue gas and bury it underground or at the bottom of the sea?

Why is it going to argue in Europe during the next few months that the UK must not have to reach the European target of 20% of renewable electricity by 2020?

These are the fruits of a bitter dispute at the heart of UK energy policy development, in which support for new nuclear build, gas and carbon capture is pitted against support for renewables (in which a feed-in law should have a rightful place). The lobbying battle has been led by the conventional energy industry giants and the nuclear industry.

These companies have successfully nobbled both BERR (the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) and the Treasury. They have not nobbled Defra, which has responsibility for climate change but not energy. Defra, and many back-benchers in parliament, support a feed-in tarriff, but whenever such a question is addressed to energy minister Malcolm Wicks, as it has been several times this month in parliament, he bats it away very smartly, and talks like a robot about the Renewables Obligation, partly because the energy giants (Eurelectric et al) have mobilised a fresh campaign against feed-in tarriffs.

A feed-in tariff simply guarantees producers a fixed price for electricity generated from PVs (solar panels). It was introduced in Germany in 2000, and revised in 2004 to cover the full costs involved in producing solar electricity, sparking a boom. Germany will have almost 20 times as much PV by the end of 2007 as in 2000 when there was just 44MW, according to the German Solar Industry Association. It has led to around 800,000 properties having the technology installed and 55% of the world's photovoltaic power is generated on solar panels set up between the Baltic Sea and the Black Forest. Just what we need here.

Both the Conservatives and the LibDems have made feed-in part of their policy. But in the UK we have the Renewables Obligation, which is supposed to compel suppliers to purchase an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources. In 2006/07 the proportion should be 6.7% (2.6% in Northern Ireland) rising to 10.4% by 2011-12. But actually we are behind this target. The Obligation has often been criticised for being ineffective, bureaucratic, slow, and in particular excluding small generators such as householders.

Which is just how the large energy producers like it - they don't want a lot of microgeneration schemes all over the country. Good grief, if everyone is making their own electricity, who is going to buy from them? And the unions agree. It's worth noting that the unions are well represented in the conventional energy industry, with coal and nuclear carrying significant union membership. But the UK renewables industry has no union. Conversely, the big energy companies are all members of the only lobbying bodies the renewables industry has, their trade associations.

There have been any number of well-researched reports showing how Britain can meet and exceed its climate targets, from Zero Carbon Britain to last week's Home Truths report from Oxford University. But instead the government will be resurrecting civil nuclear power - just as seven of the UK's 16 nuclear power plants are off-line for repairs and maintenance.

The comeback of nuclear power is based on the allegation that it is almost carbon-free. The Treasury has accepted evidence that its lifecycle carbon emissions are equivalent to those of wind power: between seven and 22g CO2/kWh.
However, extensively peer-reviewed empirical analysis of the energy intensity and carbon emissions at each stage of the nuclear cycle has produced much higher figures. In fact, nuclear power produces roughly one quarter to one third as much carbon dioxide as the delivery of the same quantity of electricity from natural gas, ie 88-134g CO2/kWh. Gas-fired electricity production involves the emission of around 400g CO2/kWh.
Nuclear is still lower than gas, but nowhere near wind.

However, don't expect the government to listen to this. It has already decided, in a mind-bogglingly cavalier fashion, that it is fine to proceed with new power stations. Why? Because the present government will not have to foot the construction costs or the clean-up bill for these power stations (we already have a £73 billion bill for the current clean-up costs).

Meanwhile the energy companies have persuaded the government to persuade Europe - in the second round of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) - to create a new set of certificates which will pretend to save carbon but make them money. For each kWh of green electricity produced, the producer can ask a competent national body to issue a green certificate. This can be traded and will be counted towards the national target in the country into which the certificate is sold - a developing country, most likely. The country from which the certificate originates will not be able to count it under its own national target achievement plan. In this way, the energy cartel vigorously defends a domestic system which blocks out everyone except themselves.

The biggest success of the Emissions Trading System so far has been to generate profits for the big energy companies. No wonder they love it. A report by Open Europe, in July 2006, found that profits were £10.2m for Esso; £17.9m for BP; and £20.7m for Shell. Conversely, smaller organisations like hospitals and universities, who had been given far fewer credits, were forced to go out and buy them - while the price was still high. So, for example, Manchester university spent £92,500.

The permits to burn fossil fuels were given away to 5,000 of the EU's biggest polluters. At one point, the price of permits rose to €27 per tonne, making the whole distribution worth €177 billion. This inflated their profits and enabled them to out-compete cleaner, less energy-hungry firms. It also enabled them to finance further lobbying in the manner described above. If, instead, the emissions permits had been given to every EU resident, we could each have been better off by up to €280 a year, Irish sustainable development group Feasta has calculated.

As for carbon capture and storage (CCS), the big energy companies would love to count tonnes of the gas buried as qualifying for allowances under the European Emissions Trading Scheme. Yet a draft of the European Directive on the topic, due to be presented by the Commission in January, says that although it will be included in the ETS, credits won't be allowed, on the grounds that the technology is "immature".

One high-ranking Commission official close to the work recently admitted that the Commission "has perhaps been too optimistic" on CCS and that making the technology viable is going to be "more costly and more complicated" than initially thought," says Euractiv, the independent Brussels media portal. Our government has meanwhile tendered for a demonstration project and is working with Norway in the North Sea on CCS projects.

So all of the policies lobbied for by the large energy companies are of dubious value in reducing carbon emissions, yet they are about to be enshrined in law in the Energy Bill, while the Climate Change Bill, although it makes many provisions, doesn't actually contain any proper policies.

In my opinion, only two central policies are required, from which all other policies and implementations could follow.

The first is the feed-in law referred to above. The second is cap-and-share (or TEQs - Tradeable Energy Quotas). They both involve taking the choice out of consumers' hands. What? I hear you say. We can't do that! But educating consumers to buy energy-saving products is not sufficient. As long as the products are on the market - and patio heaters and digital gadgets will be - people will buy them. Especially if they've saved money by saving energy - they're bound to spend it - and all spending involves an energy quotient.

So what do you do? You allocate a cap on the amount of carbon that can be emitted in the country, and reduce it year by year. You apportion that amount to each individual and let them spend it. Two main systems of doing this are competing for adoption. In Ireland, cap-and-share is the successful one, and AEA Environmental Consulting has just announced that it has won the job of producing a feasibility study on its implementation over there. Cap-and-share lets individuals choose whether to destroy or sell back to energy producers their allowances. These companies (and there aren't many) can only emit the carbon thus permitted.

Under TEQs being trialled in several communities in the UK, individuals spend their allowances whenever they purchase energy. If they outspend their quota in a year, they must buy more off those who haven't. This system engenders more consumer awareness of how their activities use energy.

Both policy solutions take power from the energy cartel - literally - not to mention their gravy train. You can see why they don't like them.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Tackling climate change - Bali summit

Reposted from:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has opened high-level talks at the climate change conference in Bali with a call to action.

He said that if no action was taken, the world would face impacts such as drought, famine and rising sea levels.

Delegates are hoping to agree a "Bali roadmap" leading to further cuts in greenhouse gas emissions when the Kyoto Protocol targets expire in 2012.

The US and Canada are among countries opposed to further binding targets.

The UN itself wants developed countries to commit to cuts of 25-40% from 1990 levels by 2020.

'No plan B'

"We gather because the time for equivocation is over," said Mr Ban.

"Climate change is the defining challenge of our age. The science is clear; climate change is happening, the impact is real. The time to act is now."

It's no good accepting that something is a problem and then failing to do anything about it
Andy Atkins, Tearfund
The newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd handed documents to Mr Ban confirming his government's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

"The community of nations must reach agreement," he told delegates.

"There is no plan B; there is no other planet any of us can escape to."

The Australian decision leaves the US as the only industrialised nation outside the Kyoto process.

Security at the summit was enhanced because of the car bomb attack on UN premises in Algeria, which left at least 26 people dead.

Replacing Kyoto

Negotiators have been trying to map out a two-year process that would result in a further set of emissions cuts to replace the current Kyoto Protocol targets.

Broad building-blocks have already been agreed, but much of the detail remains contentious, in particular how much weight to give to the heavy emissions cuts recommended by the UN's panel of scientists.

In a major assessment this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that emissions should peak and begin to fall within 10-15 years in order to avoid damaging impacts.

While acknowledging the science, the US argues for voluntary agreements rather than a global system of binding cuts.

Dealing with drought

There has also been debate about adaptation - how to help developing countries protect their societies and economies against the worst impacts of climate change.

Studies indicate that the sums needed run into tens of billions of dollars per year, but funds committed so far amount to tens of millions of dollars.

"The main issue we've been trying to get across is that climate change is already hitting the poorest - it's not something for the future, it's something that's happening now," said Andy Atkins from the development charity Tearfund.

Mr Atkins said that in Niger, farmers have seen a rainy season shrink from three months each year to just six weeks.

"People in Bali are accepting adaptation will have to be part of a deal," he said. "But it's no good accepting that something is a big problem and then failing to do anything about it."

Sunday, 9 December 2007


Reposted from: via BHA e-bulletin

For the one world we have
The National Climate Change March is taking place on Saturday 8th December in Central London. The march aims to show that there is popular support from across the community for strong action on Climate Change from the UK and international governments. More than 10,000 people are expected to participate in this event which is timed to coincide with the international UN Climate Talks in Bali. The march is also part of a global day of action on climate, with simultaneous events taking place in more than 50 countries. Speakers include: Chris Huhne MP, Michael Meacher MP, Caroline Lucas MEP and George Monbiot.

Assemble at Millbank (Westminster Tube) at noon for the main march, with a rally at the US Embassy at 2.30pm. Further details from the Campaign Against Climate Change.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Labour are tackling climate change in small steps - they should look at Conservatives ideas

Reposted from:

Zac Goldsmith

Greenish Brown

The prime minister is tackling climate change in small steps. But if he wants to see ambitious reform, he should look to the Conservatives

November 20, 2007 7:20 PM | Printable version

"Building a low carbon economy," Gordon Brown said yesterday, "demands a worldwide commitment on a comparable financial scale to the post-war Marshall plan."

The prime minister seems finally to have understood the significance of the environmental challenges we face. But so far at least, there's very little to inspire confidence in his willingness or ability to provide solutions.

It's all very well, for instance, to set ambitious targets - and Gordon Brown's latest targets on emissions reductions are impressive. But it's another thing to identify mechanisms that will actually enable us to meet them.

If, as the prime minister promises, Britain will fully contribute to a EU target that 20% of our total energy will come from renewable sources by 2020, that requires radical action now. We will need, for instance to increase the amount of renewable electricity we generate to 40%. At present, only 2% of energy in the UK comes from renewable sources.

How? Enabling local communities to benefit directly from wind farms, as he suggested, may help. Sending energy teams to the 50 poorest areas in the UK to help install energy efficiency measures will also help. Smart meters too. But these are small steps.

And they will, in any case, be overshadowed by government contradictions elsewhere. We are seeing increasing risk, for instance, of flooding, and yet we continue to build on flood plains. We are committed to cutting emissions, and yet current policy is geared towards trebling of our airport capacity.

This is what is so deeply frustrating. Gordon Brown has made the right noises. But he has failed to come up with significant answers. I think the problem is that he confuses "cost" with investment, and has been unable to see opportunities presented by the shift to a cleaner economy.

He also fears a voter backlash. But if there have been rumblings of an anti-green backlash, I believe Gordon Brown is partially to blame. It has been successive, clumsy initiatives by his government that have contributed to eroding people's appetite for green solutions, and worse, legitimising scepticism about politicians' motives.

Gordon Brown's previous idea, for example, of imposing an extra £50 on vehicle excise duty for a car they have already bought clearly won't lead to any shift in behaviour. Similarly tax reductions on "zero carbon homes". It sounds great, but what's the point in offering carrots for goals that are currently unattainable?

The best mechanism for pricing pollution and the use of scarce resources is through a shift in taxation. If the tax emphasis shifts from good things like employment to bad things like pollution, companies will necessarily begin designing waste out of the way they operate.
But governments need to accept that people do not trust them. So if a tax is levied against a "bad" activity, it must be seen to be offset against "good" activities.

In principle, Brown is committed to "green taxation". But, in practice, the change on his watch has been negligible. The actual level of green taxation has fallen since 1997 from 9.4% to 7.7%, even while the tax take generally has soared.

Gordon Brown said yesterday, we need "governing not gimmickry". A good first step is to examine the successes of other governments.
If "feed-in tariffs" have triggered a renewable energy boom in Germany, why not implement them here, as the Conservative party has proposed?
German householders are guaranteed a high price for the energy they generate and sell back to the grid. As a result, a single town in Bavaria generates more solar energy than the whole of the UK.

If existing energy-efficient appliances can deliver massive energy savings, why not demonstrate real leadership by raising appliance standards, instead of distributing token lightbulbs? We know the manufacturers can and will respond.

Change will happen, one way or another. It's a mathematical certainty. But if we take the lead now, it will happen on our terms, and we can emerge with a cleaner, leaner, more efficient economy.

Monday, 19 November 2007

PM outlines climate action plan

Reposted from:

PM outlines climate action plan
Gordon Brown
Mr Brown said there were hard choices ahead

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said there will be a "green hotline" to advise people on what they can do to cut their impact on the environment.

Mr Brown, who said the UK's emission target of a 60% cut by 2050 could be increased to 80%, said he would also seek the end of one-use plastic bags.

In his first speech on the environment as PM he said there would be "hard choices and tough decisions".

But he said Britain could lead the world and gain thousands of jobs.

The new Green Homes Service - a telephone line, website and advice centres - aims to provide a single point of contact for people who want a "home energy audit".

Home energy

It will also give advice on saving water, reducing waste and other ways to be more environmentally friendly.

Mr Brown said, in 50 of Britain's poorest areas, homes would be offered energy efficiency deals, and for those selling or buying energy wasting homes it would offer discounted help.

While the richest countries have caused climate change it is the poorest who are already suffering its effects
Gordon Brown

He said it represented "the biggest improvement in home energy efficiency in our history", with a third of households offered help over the next three years to reduce their emissions.

In his wide-ranging speech, the prime minister said climate change had been the product of many generations, but "overcoming it must be the great project of this generation".

Emissions cap

He added: "I believe it will require no less than a fourth technological revolution. In the past the steam engine, the internal combustion engine, the microprocessor transformed not just technology but the way our society has been organised and the way people live.

"Now we're about to embark on a comparable technological transformation to low carbon energy and energy efficiency and this represents an immense challenge to Britain, but it is also an opportunity."

Chimneys billowing smoke
High targets have been set for Britain's cut in emissions

Mr Brown said he wanted Britain to become a "world leader" in building a low carbon economy, which could lead to thousands of new British businesses, hundreds of thousands of new jobs and a "vast export market".

And the prime minister also said he wanted to work with countries like the US and Japan to establish a new "funding framework", to help developing countries adjust to low carbon growth, adapt to climate change and tackle deforestation.

"While the richest countries have caused climate change it is the poorest who are already suffering its effects," Mr Brown said.

Plastic bags

He said the Climate Change Bill put a "statutory cap" on Britain's carbon emissions - with five year "carbon budgets" to give certainty for businesses and investors.

And he said he wants the post-2012 agreement, to be discussed at a climate change summit in Bali in December, to include "binding emissions caps" for all developed countries.

The Climate Change Bill would ensure Britain met its target of a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050.

Until Gordon Brown learns that tough action is needed to back up his warm words, he cannot be the change the country needs
Peter Ainsworth

But he said new evidence suggested developed countries may have to reduce emissions by up to 80% - and he would ask the committee on climate change "to advise us, as it begins to consider the first three five-year budgets, on whether our own domestic target should be tightened up to 80%".

Mr Brown also said the government would convene a forum of supermarkets, the British Retail Consortium and others to look at how to reduce plastic bags to cut landfill waste.

"I am convinced that we can eliminate single-use disposable bags altogether, in favour of long-lasting and more sustainable alternatives," he said.


Britain is "absolutely committed to meeting our share" of the EU's 2020 renewable energy target, he said.

It could mean the UK will have to produce between 40 and 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 - the current figure is about 5%.

BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin said this would be "staggering", but he said that the government was seeking to negotiate down the EU target.

The government blithely talks of the opportunities created by green industries yet refuses to promote fledgling initiatives properly
Chris Huhne
Liberal Democrats

Shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth said Mr Brown's record on the environment consisted of "missing targets, then scrapping them, then cutting the budgets that deal with them".

"Just this weekend, we learnt of a further #300 million of crippling cuts to key environmental services.

"Until Gordon Brown learns that tough action is needed to back up his warm words, he cannot be the change the country needs," he said.

Global deal

Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Chris Huhne said he wanted to see whether Mr Brown was prepared to meet promises on renewable energy without counting nuclear power.

And he added: "The government blithely talks of the opportunities created by green industries yet refuses to promote fledgling initiatives properly.

"Boasts of a new green home service seem shallow when recent cuts to the New Millennium Grants will dissuade many homeowners from installing energy saving measures in their homes."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has challenged governments to act on the findings of a major new report on climate change, saying real and affordable ways to deal with the problem existed.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says climate change is "unequivocal" and may bring "abrupt and irreversible" impacts.

Climate change will be discussed at a forthcoming summit of Commonwealth leaders, just ahead of a UN meeting in Indonesia where a new global deal on emissions will be considered.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

4th and final 2007 IPCC report

Reposted from:

UN challenges states on warming
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Valencia

Drought-hit river bed (Getty Images)
The IPCC says more heat waves are very likely in the future
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has challenged governments to act on the findings of a major new report on climate change.

Launching the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he said real and affordable ways to deal with the problem existed.

The IPCC states that climate change is "unequivocal" and may bring "abrupt and irreversible" impacts.

Mr Ban urged politicians to respond at a UN climate change conference in Bali.

"Today the world's scientists have spoken clearly and with one voice," he said. "In Bali I expect the world's policymakers to do the same."

Mr Ban arrived at the IPCC meeting in Valencia from a fact-finding trip to Antarctic and South America.

We are all in this together - we must work together
Ban Ki-moon

"I come to you humbled after seeing some of the most precious treasures of our planet threatened by humanity's own hand," he said.

"All humanity must assume responsibility for these treasures."

Unavoidable effects

The IPCC report synthesises the three aspects of climate change that it has already pronounced on earlier in the year, on the science, the likely impacts, and options for dealing with the problem.

Among the top-line conclusions are that climate change is "unequivocal", that humankind's emissions of greenhouse gases are more than 90% likely to be the main cause, and that impacts can be reduced at reasonable cost.


One declaration that reportedly caused heated discussion during the week-long talks here states that climate change may bring "abrupt and irreversible" impacts.

Such impacts could include the fast melting of glaciers and species extinctions.

"Approximately 20-30% of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5-2.5C (relative to the 1980-1999 average)," the summary concludes.

Other potential impacts highlighted in the text include:

  • between 75m and 250m people are projected to have scarcer fresh water supplies than at present
  • yields from rain-fed agriculture could be halved
  • food security is likely to be further compromised in Africa
  • there will be widespread impacts on coral reefs

The panel's chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, highlighted the need to deal with impacts which are coming whether or not global emissions are curbed.

Even if levels of CO2 in the atmosphere stayed where they are now, he said, research showed sea levels would rise by between 0.4 and 1.4 metres simply because sea water would continue warming up, which makes it expand.

"This is a very important finding, likely to bring major changes to coastlines and inundating low-lying areas, with a great effect in river deltas and low-lying islands," he said.

"If you add to this the melting of some of the ice bodies on Earth, this gives a picture of the kinds of issue we are likely to face."

Worse case

Probable temperature rise between 1.8C and 4C
Possible temperature rise between 1.1C and 6.4C
Sea level most likely to rise by 28-43cm
Arctic summer sea ice disappears in second half of century
Increase in heat waves very likely
Increase in tropical storm intensity likely

This is the IPCC's fourth major assessment of global climate change since its formation nearly 20 years ago.

During the course of its existence, it has become more certain that modern-day climate change is real and principally due to human activities; it has also become firmer about the scale of the impacts.

"If you look at the overall picture of impacts, both those occurring now and those projected for the future, they appear to be both larger and appearing earlier than we thought [in our 2001 report]," Martin Parry, co-chair of the impacts working group, told BBC News.

"Some of the changes that we previously projected for around 2020 or 2030 are occurring now, such as the Arctic melt and shifts in the locations of various species."

There are indications that projected increases in droughts are also happening earlier than expected, he said, though that was less certain.

The IPCC considered about 29,000 pieces of real-world evidence in compiling this report, as well as the projections of computer models.

These include observations showing that dry areas of the world such as the Sahel and southern Africa are receiving less rainfall, while it has increased in northern Europe and parts of the Americas.

The panel suggests societies need to adapt to future impacts, as well as curbing emissions.

Without extra measures, carbon dioxide emissions will continue to rise; they are already growing faster than a decade ago, partly because of increasing use of coal.

The IPCC's economic analyses say that trend can be reversed at reasonable cost. Indeed, it says, there is "much evidence that mitigation actions can result in near-term co-benefits (e.g. improved health due to reduced air pollution)" that may offset costs.

The panel's scientists say the reversal needs to come within a decade or so if the worst effects of global warming are to be avoided.

The findings will feed into the Bali talks on the UN climate convention and the Kyoto Protocol which open on 3 December.

Friday, 16 November 2007

climate change? No! Climate Catastrophe!!

Reposted from:

Rupert Read

Emergency talk

Some people think the rhetoric of climate change is too emotive. But faced with a global catastrophe it would be unwise to tone down our language

November 13, 2007 9:00 AM

We are all familiar by now with the shrill voices of climate change deniers. But with every passing week they become more and more irrelevant, as their 'scepticism' about the reality of man-made climate change is exposed as risible.
The issue now is not whether we are certain that dangerous climate change is real and is happening - the issue is only how we are going to tackle it. So how do we motivate people to act?
How do we persuade them not to seek refuge in psychological defence mechanisms of the kind Leo Hickman chronicled in the Guardian last week?

As Hickman wrote, one of my colleagues at the University of East Anglia, the eminent climate scientist Professor Mike Hulme, has warned us off using terms such as "catastrophe" in describing the potential impact of global warming. Some have gone further, lambasting the predictions of what will happen if we do not dramatically curb CO2 emissions as "climate porn".

Now, I agree that it is absolutely not enough to scare people.

We need to emphasise that the changes needed to stop manmade climate change are in themselves life-improving.
And I agree that
we need to ensure that people don't think that the mountain is too big to climb: people need to be given tools to see that preventing catastrophic climate change is possible. But it is unwise of us to tone down our language. I do not agree that we should leave aside talk of "catastrophe". In fact, by sticking to talking of "climate change" rather than of "climate chaos" and "potential climate catastrophe", we end up playing the same game as the more subtle and intelligent of the climate change deniers by adopting their language.
That ought to be enough to make anyone stop, think, and question what they are doing.

In his book, Unspeak, the Guardian's Steven Poole shows how the term "climate change" became the term of choice for the Saudis, for US oil companies and for the Republicans, displacing even the fairly anodyne "global warming". As the leading Republican pollster Frank Luntz put it in a leaked document:

"1) 'Climate change' is less frightening than 'global warming'. As one focus group participant noted, climate change 'sounds like you're going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale'. While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge."

A less emotional challenge ... but shouldn't we be willing to get a little "emotional" over the potential destruction of our entire future as a civilisation? Frank Luntz wants us to stay coolheaded over "climate change" - a goal he shares with Mike Hulme.

I believe that people ought to be scared and angry and itching to do something about it. How might the total destruction of human civilisation outside a few outposts in Antarctica not constitute a "catastrophe"?
Several billion deaths: since when is that not catastrophic? This is the scenario that the government's chief scientist, Anthony King, described as a factually likely outcome, if no effective action is taken to prevent global overheating.

This is not crying wolf. It is simply telling the truth. Runaway climate change could, within a century or so, collapse civilisation on lifeboat Earth entirely, just as (for example) civilisation and population levels on Easter Island collapsed over a much shorter period.

So my linguistic proposal is pretty straightforward. "Climate change" is an Orwellian construct, and should be dropped. To use it is to be complicit with the agendas of Exxon and Bush. It is, I believe, still to be in denial. We should speak honestly of "climate chaos", "climate crisis", "global over-heating", and the risk of "climate catastrophe".
To do so is to do no more than call attention directly to the utterly drastic consequences of untrammelled consumerism. It is, literally, truth-in-advertising.

Hulme wants to maintain scientific decorum. But it is not the job of climate scientists to tell us how to describe what the human consequences would be of us ignoring their predictions. That is rather the task of artists, activists, politicians and philosophers. It is they who will give us the wake-up call that we still evidently need, if anyone will. Talking about averting "climate catastrophe" is not alarmism. It is simply calling something by its true name.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

An inconvenient peace prize

Reposted from:

Björn Lomborg

While the IPCC painstakingly establishes what the world should expect from climate change, Al Gore only tells us what to fear.

October 12, 2007 3:36 PM

This year's Nobel peace prize justly rewards the thousands of scientists of the United Nations climate change panel (the IPCC). These scientists are engaged in excellent, painstaking work that establishes exactly what the world should expect from climate change.

The other award winner, former US vice-president Al Gore, has spent much more time telling us what to fear. While the IPCC's estimates and conclusions are grounded in careful study, Gore doesn't seem to be similarly restrained.

Gore told the world in his Academy Award-winning movie (recently labelled "one-sided" and containing "scientific errors" by a British judge) to expect 20-foot sea-level rises over this century. But his Nobel co-winners, the IPCC, conclude that sea levels will rise between only a half-foot and two feet over this century, with their best expectation being about one foot - similar to what the world experienced over the past 150 years.

Likewise, Gore agonises over the accelerated melting of ice in Greenland, but overlooks the IPCC's conclusion that, if sustained, the current rate of melting would add just three inches to the sea level rise by the end of the century. Gore also takes no notice of research showing that Greenland's temperatures were higher in 1941 than they are today.

Gore also frets over a predicted rise in heat-related deaths, without mentioning that rising temperatures will reduce the number of cold spells, which are a much bigger killer than heat. The best study shows that by 2050, heat will claim 400,000 more lives, but 1.8 million fewer will die because of cold. Indeed, global warming will actually save lives.

The IPCC has magnanimously declared that it would have been happy if Gore had received the Nobel peace prize alone. I am glad that he did not.

Unfortunately, Gore's prize will only intensify our focus on climate change to the detriment of other planetary challenges.

Gore concentrates above all else on his call for world leaders to cut CO2 emissions, yet other policies would do much more for the planet. Over the coming century, developing nations will be increasingly dependent on food imports from developed countries, not primarily as a result of global warming, but because of more people and less arable land in the developing world.

The number of hungry people depends much less on climate than on demographics and income. Extremely expensive cuts in carbon emissions could mean more malnourished people. If our goal is to fight malnutrition, policies like getting nutrients to those who need them are 5,000 times more effective at saving lives than spending billions of dollars cutting carbon emissions.


global warming will probably slightly increase malaria, but CO2 reductions will be far less effective at fighting this disease than mosquito nets and medication, which can cheaply save 850,000 lives every year. By contrast, the expensive Kyoto protocol will prevent just 1,400 deaths from malaria each year.

While we worry about the far-off effects of climate change, we do nothing to deal with issues facing the planet today. This year, malnutrition will kill almost 4 million people. Three million lives will be lost to HIV/Aids. Two and a half million people will die because of indoor and outdoor air pollution. A lack of micronutrients and clean drinking water will claim two million lives each.

With attention and money in scarce supply, we should first tackle the problems with the best solutions, thereby doing the most good throughout the century. Focusing on solving today's problems will leave communities strengthened, economies more vibrant, and infrastructures more robust. This will enable us to deal much better with future problems - including global warming - whereas committing to massive cuts in carbon emissions will leave future generations poorer and less able to adapt to challenges.

To be fair, Gore deserves some form of recognition for his resolute passion. However, the contrast between this year's Nobel winners could not be sharper. The IPCC engages in meticulous research where facts rule over everything else. Gore has a very different approach.

In cooperation with Project Syndicate, 2007.

Gore and peace

Reposted from:

Jonathan Freedland

Gore and peace

The former vice-president deserves his shared Nobel prize, and there will be a feverish hope in the US that he will now enter the 2008 election race.

Well, that certainly puts Judge Michael Burton in his place. Earlier this week, the high court judge ruled that Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, contained nine scientific errors which had arisen in the context of "alarmism and exaggeration", and that therefore the film should only be shown in British schools with some balancing guidance notes. Somehow I suspect the blow of that court ruling will be softened by today's news that

Al Gore, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has won the Nobel peace prize for his advocacy on the issue of global warming
- at the heart of which is, of course, An Inconvenient Truth.

When I saw the film more than a year ago, I wrote that it was a "model of political communication", somehow taking facts that you might have already known in your head and using them to reach your gut - which is where lasting political convictions reside. Many who had known abstractly about climate change before seeing Gore's movie admit they only truly cared about it, and saw its urgency, afterwards. And that turnaround has been repeated in countless countries among millions of people. For that remarkable achievement alone, Gore richly deserves his shared Nobel.


Gore's unhappiness with the life of a political candidate is real. He's also come to believe that even a US president is powerless to act on climate change unless public opinion has moved, that acting as a teacher and advocate can have a greater political impact. And in a way the Nobel jury have just proved him right. In this area, at least, a failed presidential candidate has achieved much, much more than the man who took the White House from him.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Gore and UN share Nobel peace prize

Reposted from:

The former US vice-president Al Gore and the UN climate change panel will share the 2007 Nobel peace prize for raising awareness of the risks of climate change, the Nobel committee announced today.

Chosen from a field of 181 candidates, Mr Gore and the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) will split the $1.5m (£750,000) prize.

The Norwegian committee praised Mr Gore for his strong commitment to the struggle against climate change.

Mr Gore responded by telling a press conference that climate change was the "most dangerous challenge we've ever faced".

"I will be doing everything I can to try to understand how to best use the honour and recognition of this award as a way of speeding up the change in awareness and the change in urgency," Mr Gore said.

"It truly is a planetary emergency: we have to respond quickly. I'm going back to work right now. This is just the beginning."

Mr Gore, who lost the 2000 presidential election to George Bush, ignored questions on whether he planned to run again for president.

The Norwegian committee said Mr Gore was "probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted".

However, Mr Gore's award-winning film on the issue, An Inconvenient Truth, was this week criticised in a British high court case for allegedly containing inaccuracies.

Mr Gore said he would donate his share of the prize money to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a group seeking to change public opinion in the US and around the world about the urgency of dealing with climate change.

"I am deeply honoured to receive the Nobel peace prize," Mr Gore said in an earlier statement.

"This award is even more meaningful because I have the honour of sharing it with the IPCC - the world's pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis - a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years."

The Nobel committee said the IPCC had created an ever broader, informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.

"Thousands of scientists and officials from over 100 countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming," the panel said. "Whereas in the 1980s global warming seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support."

The Nobel committee said that by awarding the prize to the IPCC and Mr Gore, it wanted to bring a sharper focus on the processes and decisions needed to protect the world's future climate.

"Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man's control," the panel warned.

The joint award to Mr Gore, who was the favourite among the contenders, is expected to galvanise his supporters, who are pushing him to run again for the White House, despite his loss eight years ago.

Since then, Mr Gore has appeared more relaxed, shedding an uptight image that did him no favours in contrast to Mr Bush, who projected an easygoing charm.

Should Mr Gore take the plunge, he can count on strong grassroots support, though his detractors believe that, in the glare of presidential politics, he will revert to his old, wooden self.

The "draft Gore" movement has been gaining momentum, accumulating about 127,000 signatures this year, 10,000 of them in the last week of September alone.

Mr Gore has consistently said he is not interested in running again for the White House, insisting he can be more effective in the fight against climate change outside mainstream politics.

But his denials of interest have done little to dampen the enthusiasm of supporters, who feel that as president he would have the credibility required to push through tough measures to slow climate change.

The other presidential candidates - Hillary Clinton, in particular - have so far disappointed environmental activists by shying away from promising aggressive action to deal with America's contribution to climate change.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Al Gore's Climate film allowed in UK schools

Reposted from:
Climate film allowed in schools
Al Gore in promotional still
Al Gore's film was sent to schools in England, Wales and Scotland
Ex-US vice president Al Gore's climate change documentary can be shown in England's secondary schools, a High Court judge has said.

An Inconvenient Truth promotes "partisan political views" but it is not unlawful to show to students, Mr Justice Burton said.

He made the comments after a hearing in which Kent parent Stewart Dimmock asked for the film to be banned.

The judge said teachers must follow updated guidance when showing the film.

The guidance, updated this week by the government at the urging of Mr Justice Burton, is designed to prevent the film being wrongly "promoted" to children.

Mr Dimmock, from Dover, argued the film was unfit for schools because it was politically partisan and contains serious scientific inaccuracies, as well as "sentimental mush".

Although the judge is to give his judgement next week after a four-day case, he indicated what his ruling would be for the benefit of schools.


Children's Minister Kevin Brennan said: "The judge's decision is clear that schools can continue to use An Inconvenient Truth as part of their teaching on climate change in accordance with the amended guidance which will be available online tomorrow [3 October].

"Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. Schools have a special role to play in helping pupils understand its causes and in exploring if and how we should respond."

He said the updated guidance made "it clearer for teachers as to the stated IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] position on a number of scientific points raised in the film".

He added that the key arguments in the documentary - "that climate change is mainly caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases and will have serious adverse consequences" - are supported by scientific opinion.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

The greening of Bush

Reposted from:

Tony Juniper

The greening of Bush

The US climate change summit is a clear attempt to undermine UN talks and a deliberate move to wreck our last chance to avoid disaster.

September 28, 2007 3:00 PM

President George Bush today embarks on the second of his two-day climate change summit to which he has invited a group of "major emitters", including not only large industrialised country polluters, but also large developing countries such as China and India.

The plan, he says, is to stage a series of top-level talks that will feed into UN talks later this year and beyond, to develop a new consensus of what the shape of a new global deal could look like.

A huge shift in US policy; finally an emphasis on the real challenge of the 21st century; the world saved? Sadly not I fear, or at least not yet.

Far from signalling a fundamental change of heart, to many eyes the meeting is just the latest phase in the Administration campaign to block orchestrated international action on global warming.
Environmental campaigners, including my colleagues from Friends of the Earth USA, will today demonstrate outside the meeting in Washington DC to mark the apparent change of direction from Bush with the slogan "wrong turn".

From the start of his presidency, Bush put in place anti-environmental policies on everything from protected areas to pollution control.

The star in the crown for the old "free"-market corporate ideologues was, however, his deep opposition to taking action on climate change.

In 2001 he loudly announced how he would never allow the USA to implement the Kyoto Protocol, or indeed anything like it. He objected to official internationally-agreed targets and timetables that set out who would reduce pollution by what amount by when. He also believed that the fact that India and China and others didn't have binding reduction targets was unfair (despite the per capita emissions of these countries' mainly poverty-stricken citizens being only a tiny fraction of his own wasteful population).

It was even worse than this though. Not only did he reject the logic of the Kyoto-style policy response,

he even disputed that there was a problem. The science was not proven he said, it was too early to make a clear conclusion, and therefore there was no need to act.
Backed up and influenced by corporate interests, including companies such as Exxon and lobby groups including the Competitive Enterprise Institute,
Bush resisted the scientific information coming from all sides, including an increasing number of US scientists. That science has said with increasing certainty and confidence there was a major threat and urgent action was warranted.

Tony Blair saw this as the first hurdle to getting US participation and during the early stages of his G8 presidency in 2005 focused on persuading the Administration that they had to face facts and accept the science. There were grudging moves from Washington, leading more recently to a fuller acceptance of the scale of the problem.

On the back of the recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and because of intense diplomatic pressure not only from the UK but also Germany and others, Bush was forced to move. He was also forced to shift his views because of changes at home.

Not only had be become isolated internationally, he was more and more alone at home. States, city leaders, his own scientists, the public, even the religious right, a big part of his power base, had moved and called for action. Katrina was an additional and very practical demonstration of what his denial meant and was a further rallying point for pressure.

By 2007 it was all too much and Bush had to signal a change of heart, and on the science he has now done that, with officials from his Administration setting out the potentially dire consequences of inaction.
Fundamentally, however, his position remains the same: no targets, no timetables, every country does what it wants, and let's rely on technology, remains his core message.

Posing the false choice between technology and targets is a familiar Bush ploy, and again it is on the table at this meeting. In reality though without both we can't do either. Targets are needed to force technology, while technology is essential for meeting targets. And if we are to do enough emissions reductions in time, then we need a clear science-based route forward that is the basis for the international agreement. This is the real challenge, not as Bush seeks to do in putting blind faith in voluntary moves toward an unspecified role for technology (some of which won't work anyway - such as nuclear and over-reliance on biofuels).

The UN climate talks in Bali later this year must set the scene for the industrialised countries collectively agreeing a new round of emissions reductions to come into effect in 2012.
It will need to be a round of talks leading to more Kyoto-style reductions. And that is what Bush does not want: hence today's meeting. By starting up a parallel track with talks about voluntary approaches to technology, he hopes to draw energy out of the UN and to undermine the prospects of new targets being agreed.
He has been forced to move on the science, but his basic position has not changed.

He is also playing a domestic game. Should the Republicans lose the presidency (as looks increasingly likely), then the Democrats will certainly improve US policy on climate change. The more he can do to block them, even after he has gone, the better. By setting in place a weak framework at home as well as undermining international target setting, he can leave the US well behind the pack and thus protect the backward-looking corporate interests who wrote his policy in the first place.
The US could be a world leader in a rapid shift toward a low-carbon future, but not with the present policy and leadership.

Today's meeting is a transparent attempt to undermine UN talks and as such amounts to a deliberate move to wreck humanity's collective last chance to avoid disaster. The sooner he is gone the better.

Bush seeks flexible CO2 targets

reposted from:

Bush seeks flexible CO2 targets
US President George W Bush at the Washington climate forum
Mr Bush said the US was taking the climate change issue seriously
US President George W Bush has said every country must set its own targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Correspondents say Mr Bush's comments, at a meeting of the top 16 polluting nations, suggest the US may not agree to any internationally-binding cuts.

He also said combating climate change should not hinder economic growth.

Critics say

the US position could dilute attempts to reach a global agreement through the UN, ahead of the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

Mr Bush, who shortly after taking office in 2001 said he would not submit the protocol to Congress for ratification, has opposed mandatory cuts.

He has instead championed voluntary approaches - echoed by China and India.

'New approach'

Addressing the US-sponsored forum on

energy security and climate change, Mr Bush said the two issues were "the great challenges of our time" which the US was taking seriously.

Each nation must decide for itself the right mix of tools and technology to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective
US President George W Bush

He urged the participants to jointly set a long-term goal for reducing the CO2 emissions that were causing the climate to heat up.

"By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem. And by setting this goal, we commit ourselves to doing something about it," Mr Bush said.

He proposed to hold a summit next summer to finalise the goal and other key elements of what he described as "a new international approach" on CO2 gases.

Mr Bush also said such measures would help "advance negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change".

'Clean technologies'

But he stressed that it was possible to cut emissions without harming economies.

File photograph of a car exhaust
Activists want the US to take the lead in solving the climate crisis

"Our guiding principle is clear - we must lead the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and we must do it in a way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from delivering greater prosperity for their people," he said.

He said developing clean energy technologies was the key to success, adding that the global demand for energy was expected to increase by 50% by 2030.

The president announced a new international clean technology fund to help developing countries take advantage of new greener methods of generating energy.

But Mr Bush again hinted that the US would not commit itself to mandatory CO2 cuts, despite growing pressure by some of the forum's participants.

"Each nation must decide for itself the right mix of tools and technology to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective," Mr Bush said.

The top UN climate official, Yvo de Boer, said he believed the discussions at the conference could feed back into the UN process.

Mr de Boer said it was crucial that industrialised nations committed to an approach that went "well beyond present efforts, given their historic responsibilities and economic capabilities".

Teams from Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, the EU, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Russia and the US were taking part in the Washington forum.

The meeting was called by the US as a precursor to UN talks in Indonesia in December, which will seek to launch a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Lovelock urges ocean climate fix

reposted from:

Lovelock urges ocean climate fix
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Salps occur in great swarms

Two of Britain's leading environmental thinkers say it is time to develop a quick technical fix for climate change.

Writing in the journal Nature, Science Museum head Chris Rapley and Gaia theorist James Lovelock suggest looking at boosting ocean take-up of CO2.

Their idea, already being investigated by a US firm, involves huge flotillas of vertical pipes in the tropical seas.

The two scientists say they doubt that existing plans for curbing carbon emissions can work quickly enough.

The stakes are terribly high
James Lovelock

"We are taking the very strong line that we are not going to save the planet by the regular approaches like the Kyoto Protocol or renewable energy," Professor Lovelock told BBC News.

"What we have to do is to look at it in a systems sense, or a Gaian sense, and see if it's curable by direct action."

Natural cycles

Professor Rapley, who has just moved to head up the Science Museum from a similar post at the British Antarctic survey, said the two men developed the ocean pipes concept during country walks in James Lovelock's beloved Devon.

It's worth investigating these kinds of ideas, but premature to start deploying them
Ken Caldeira

Unbeknown to them, a US company, Atmocean, had already begun trials of a very similar technology.

Floating pipes reaching down from the top of the ocean into colder water below move up and down with the swell.

As the pipe moves down, cold water flows up and out onto the ocean surface. A simple valve blocks any downward flow when the pipe is moving upwards.

Colder water is more "productive" - it contains more life, and so in principle can absorb more carbon.

One of the life-forms that might benefit, Atmocean believes, is the salp, a tiny tube which excretes carbon in its solid faecal pellets, which descend to the ocean floor, perhaps storing the carbon away for millennia.

Atmocean CEO Phil Kithil has calculated that deploying about 134 million pipes could potentially sequester about one-third of the carbon dioxide produced by human activities each year. But he acknowledges that research is in the early stages.

Gray whale. Image: Geoff Shester
The scheme could pose problems for marine creatures such as whales
"There is much yet to be learned," he told BBC News. "We need not only to move towards the final design and size (of the pipes), but also to characterise the ecological effects.

"The problem we would be most concerned about would be acidification. We're bringing up higher levels of CO2 along with the nutrients, so it all has to be analysed as to the net carbon balance and the net carbon flux."

Atmocean deployed experimental tubes earlier this year and gathered engineering data. The pipes brought cold water to the surface from a depth of 200m, but no research has yet been done on whether this approach has any net impact on greenhouse gas levels.

The company says a further advantage of cooling surface waters in regions such as the Gulf of Mexico could be a reduction in the number of hurricanes, which need warm water in order to form.

And Professors Lovelock and Rapley suggest that the ocean pipes could also stimulate growth of algae that produce dimethyl sulphide (DMS), a chemical which helps clouds form above the ocean, reflecting sunlight away from the Earth's surface and bringing a further cooling.

Ethical fix

In recent years, scientists have developed a wide range of technical "geo-engineering" ideas for curbing global warming.

Seeding the ocean with iron filings to stimulate plankton growth, putting sunshades in space, and firing sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere from a giant cannon have all been proposed; the iron filings idea has been extensively tested.

But the whole idea of pursuing these "technical fixes" is controversial.

Chris Rapley.  Image: BBC
There's evidence that the Earth's response to climate change might be going faster than people have predicted
Chris Rapley

"One has to understand what the consequences of doing these things are," commented Ken Caldeira from the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University in California, who has published a number of analyses of geo-engineering technologies.

"There are scientific questions of safety and efficacy; then there are the broader ethical, social and political dimensions, and one of the most disturbing is that if people start getting the idea that technical fixes are available and cheaper than curbing carbon emissions, then people might start relying on them as an alternative to curbing emissions.

"So I think it's worth investigating these kinds of ideas, but premature to start deploying them."

Chris Rapley does not believe ideas like the ocean pipes are complete answers to man-made global warming, but may buy time while society develops a more comprehensive response.

"It's encouraging to see how much serious effort is going into technical attempts to reduce carbon emissions, and the renewed commitment to finding an international agreement," he said.

"But in the meantime, there's evidence that the Earth's response to climate change might be going faster than people have predicted. The dramatic loss of ice in the Arctic, for example, poses a serious concern for the northern hemisphere climate."

High stakes

Professor Rapley said the letter to Nature, one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals, was intended to get people thinking about the concept of technical fixes rather than just to advocate ocean pipes.

"If you think of how the science community has organised itself," he said, "with the World Climate Research Programme, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, International Polar Year and so on - you've got all this intensive interdisciplinary collaboration figuring out what Earth systems are up to and figuring out how they work, but we don't have a similar network working across the entire piece as to what we can actually do to mitigate and adapt."

Faecal pellets (Madin/WHOI)
Salp pellets take carbon to the floor of the ocean
He said there was a need for some sort of global collaboration to explore potential climate-fixing technologies.

"Geo-engineering is one of the types of thing that are worth investigating," opined Ken Caldeira, "and yes, the amount of effort going into thinking of innovative solutions is far too little.

"If we can generate 100 ideas, and 97 are bad and we land up with 3 good ones, then the whole thing will have been worthwhile; so I applaud Lovelock and Rapley for thinking along these lines."

He observed that human emissions of greenhouse gases are bringing huge changes to natural ecosystems anyway, so there was nothing morally difficult in principle about deliberately altering the same natural ecosystems to curb climatic change.

But changing patterns of ocean life could potentially have major consequences for marine species. Whales that feed on krill, for example, could find their favourite food displaced by salps.

These would all have to be investigated, James Lovelock acknowledged.

But, he said, it is time to start. "There may be all sorts of ecological consequences, but the stakes are terribly high."

Pump graphic
1. Buoy: Helps hold the pump in position
2. Pump: James Lovelock believes the tubes would be about 100m long to access deep cold water, and 10m wide; Phil Kithil thinks 200m long and 3m wide could be optimum
3. Valve: Could be at the top or bottom of the pipe; top perhaps preferable for maintenance. Water is drawn through the open valve on wave down slopes; no external power needed
4. Cold water: On wave up slopes, cool water spills out of the pump
5. Pump sites: Locations could also be chosen to reduce hurricane risk by cooling surface waters