Too good to waste

The February meeting of Friends of the Earth Falkirk will concentrate on the issue of waste. A discussion will follow a presentation by Robin Baird, Falkirk Council's Waste Strategy Co-ordinator. The group meet on Monday 26th February at the Christian Centre, Glebe Street, Falkirk between 7.30 and 9.30. Anyone interested in waste minimisation and recycling welcome to come along and join in the discussion.

(Apologies to all for the late posting)


Climate change contributions

Posted with permission - credit to the Centre for Alternative Technology carbon gym team.

Humans are probably a significant driver of global climate change, by emission of 'infrared active' gases: CO2, CH4, NOx etc. We can estimate the contribution of our various activities - roughly, half are 'individual' e.g. car exhaust, and half, 'joint' e.g. burning fossil fuels to heat public buildings.

CAT is about to re-launch their Carbon Gym calculator. They think in terms of four types of emissions: (1) Direct and measurable; (2) Indirect, pro-rated on the bases of purchases; (3) Indirect, not pro-rated and attributed to the industrial sectors; (4) Fixed infrastructure, not pro-rated and attributable to government policy. They quote the following:

UK national average: 11 tonnes CO2 equivalent per person per year.
Breakdown: Direct - 35%; Indirect - 50%; Infrastructure - 15%.
Global per capita sustainable target: 2.5 tonnes CO2e per year

"The data comes from a variety of different sources including the Department for Trade and Industry, Department for Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Office of National Statistics."

On the basis of this research, CAT advise on ways to reduce CO2e. (They do not include work-related activities e.g. business trips). In rough order of priority:

(1) Fly less - you, and your goods.
Rough CO2e (tonne per person per trip) from the UK: 0.25 UK, 0.6 Europe, 2.0 USA, 3.0 India, 5.0 Australia.

(2) Drive less - you, and your goods.
Rough CO2e (tonne per vehicle per year): 1 per 5000 miles.

(3) Watch what you eat - prefer local, organic, unprocessed plant foods.
Rough CO2e (tonne per person per year) eating ordinary supermarket ready meals: 8
eating vegetarian supermarket ready meals: 2.5
cooking omnivorous supermarket food from scratch: 3
cooking omnivorous local organic: 0.5
cooking local vegan-organic: 0.1

(4) Don't heat with electricity - use solar, wood or gas.
Rough CO2e (tonne per person per year): Kept 'nice and warm' with electric heat: 5
with mains gas: 2
(assumes two occupants, moderate size detached house not to current building regulations)
Kept 'comfortable', mains gas, wall insulation, thermal glazing: 1

(5) Buy less - your indirect emissions are strongly correlated with 'disposed income'.

(6) Get political - to reduce 'infrastructure' and 'industry' emissions.


UK wind power reaches 2 gigawatts milestone

From the BBC website UK Wind power reaches milestone

The UK has become only the seventh nation in the world to have more than two gigawatts (GW) of operational wind power capacity.

The milestone was passed on Friday when the Braes O'Doune wind farm, near Stirling, began producing electricity.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling described it as a "major landmark" for the UK wind industry.

The government has set a target for 10% of electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2010.

The 36-turbine Braes O'Doune wind farm, built and operated by Airtricity, has a generating capacity of 72 megawatts (MW), enough to supply electricity to 45,000 homes in the area, according to the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA).

Maria McCaffery, BWEA's chief executive, said passing the 2GW mark, equivalent to two coal-fired power stations, was a "tremendous step forward".

Progress visible from parts of Falkirk.