There are dramatic pictures in Modern Railways of the landslip at Hatfield Colliery, which damaged the railway at Stainforth.
It just goes to show how dangerous coal is, as it seems to be capable of creating disasters. Luckily this one didn’t cause any injuries or death.
There’s more about it here.
I believe that coal is just too dangerous to mine! It’s also a large producer of carbon dioxide and I would ban its burning worldwide.
As I fly into a snow-bound Britain, I realise that you might be asking where global warming has gone as you shiver in the coldest March for 50 years and wonder what you will do if gas has to be rationed. I have been involved in the climate debate for more than a decade, but I am still amazed at how wrong we get it. Let us try to restart our thinking on global warming.
Yes, global warming is real and mostly man-made, but our policies have failed predictably and spectacularly.
He then goes on to say that Kyoto has failed.
But he does produce a solution that could be a win-win situation for everyone.
He says that we should spend money on research!
He is right!
Just look what has happened to products like computers because money has been spent on research!
I have heard some wacky ideas to generate energy and cut carbon dioxide emissions over the last few years. Some of them might just be the things we do to save the planet.
But then engineers and scientists have a track record in digging us out of the holes that politicians and others have got us into.
Where for instance would Britain be today without the genius of Henry Royce, Lord Hives, RJ Mitchell, Alan Blumlein, Alan Turing and Sydney Camm. Under a Nazi jackboot perhaps?
But they and others answered Churchill’s plea and gave the country the tools to finish the job.
A similar massive effort today on a world-wide basis would I believe solve the problems of global warming and create a world fit for our descendents.
The same approach could be used on all of the major problems of the world like cancer, providing clean water, housing and food production.
It is reported that former Poet Laureate; Andrew Motion has said that second homes must be made very expensive to stop sucking the life out of villages. The full story is here in the Guardian.
I have owned and lived in two houses a couple of times in my life. At one time we were living in Cromwell Tower during the week and also had the house at Debach in Suffolk for the weekend. And then we had Les Ondes in Antibes.
I think in truth,neither arrangements worked out for C and myself, as we were incessant travellers. And fixed bases are not compatible if you want to go long distances abroad for a couple of months a year.
Before we moved to Newmarket, we were not using the house in France, but were flying everywhere in my Cessna 340A. If we hadn’t bought Les Ondes, we might have visited some of the places, I now regret we didn’t.
So my argument against second homes, is that they may look good on paper, but spending the money you save by having only one home, on say travel or something you enjoy is probably better.
Since C died, I’ve been to a few places, where she never went, that to have flown to in a light aircraft would have been fun. For a start on my cruise, there was Corunna.
There is also two other arguments against second homes.
By having a second home, you are effectively denying someone else or another family, a home. That is morally indefensible in times like these, where we don’t have enough homes.
There is also the climate change argument, in that loading a 4×4 up with half your worldly goods each weekend, isn’t a way of cutting CO2 emissions. All it does is create profits for oil companies.
I could throw in a few other arguments too, like the fact that I believe spontaneity and impulse are good for you and do you want to be involved in the various NIMBY arguments that plague the countryside.
Perhaps though, most people don’t think logically about life as I do, and they have so much money, they can’t spend it creatively.
So is Motion’s idea to make second homes more expensive is the only thing, that might curb second home ownership and put more houses on the market for those, who don’t have a nice place to live? But no government would bring in the legislation, as it would be a catastrophic vote loser. Just look at the protest, when Ryanair chopped all those routes to France a few years ago, as it cut the cheap route to second homes.
Similar arguments can also be applied to those individuals from abroad, who buy up desirable properties in the UK and leave it empty.
We need more housing and as we haven’t got the space to built much more, we must maximise our use of what we already have.
To many there isn’t one benefit from using fracking to extract gas from the ground. but here’s one even the most total opponent of the technique might concede.
Modern Railways this month states the following.
The major rail operators in the US are all reporting reduced profits as coal volumes plummeted by up to 20% in the last year. Here, the shift in generation mix is being driven principally by the exploitation of shale gas now being produced on a massive scale as a by-product of crude oil exploitation. although a frighteningly high proportion of this gas is just flared, sufficient is being used in power-generation to undermine the need for coal, and for rail freight.
I would suspect the facts are correct. So fracking is cutting the need to burn coal, thus reducing global warming, as burning gas creates less CO2.
The Sunday Times is reporting the Eco-report for HS2 stretched to 50,000 pages and weighs half-a-ton.
Partly this is due to the fact that Parliament needs a hard copy.
Surely though, that in this case to save a large number of trees, they should receive it electronically.
Thirty or so years ago, I was going to San Jose from San Francisco airport in a limo. There were four of us sharing and one was one of the most dodgy guys I’d seen in some time. He was tall, fit, tanned and about sixty, with a long grey pony-tail, wearing cowboy boots, immaculate blue jeans and a black shirt. His only luggage was a battered brown leather hold-all. He looked just like a Columbian drug baron straight out of Central Casting. But from his accent, we could tell he was an American.
One of the guys politely asked him what he did. It turned out he’d been a US Army Colonel and he’d been recruited by the World Bank to look after projects in the rain forest for the World Bank. He was absolutely fascinating as he told about his work. He said that if you slash and burn the rainforest, you make just a few thousand dollars an acre, but if you harvest it selectively using the local Indians, you make many times more. He told how trees would be left until maturity and how many of the plants were collected for drugs, leaving enough behind to collect in following years.
But he said to do this properly you needed to make tracks, which of course allowed the slash and burn merchants access to the jungle.
He also said that a lot of the problems were down to money lenders and corrupt operators, who drive the eco-system for their own selfish ends.
It was an amazing education in a limousine.
This story about a gas tanker going from Norway to Japan on first glance looks to be a good news story. At least for Norway, who were probably paid a lot for all that gas!
But am I right in thinking, that the trip is only possible because the world is warming and the ice has melted?
Has anybody asked the polar bears for their opinion?
I visited two more of CrossRail’s green walls today, in Hanover Square and Park Lane.
They certainly seem a good way to improve the look of a building site.
The IPPR is reported to be saying that fuel prices should rise, much to the dismay of motorists. It’s all here in the Telegraph.
I don’t care what happens to fuel prices personally, as I don’t have a car and I get my public transport in the London area free.
But I’ve always felt that fuel prices are too low, as this increases consumption, which increases global warming. It also reduces the pressure for vehicle manufacturers to make more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Concerning the latter, I have a lot of hybrid-buses near me, including of course, the New Bus for London. All of these hybrid buses deliver much higher lower fuel consumption and in addition, quantities of black smoke and noise.
Rises in fuel prices would improve our vehicles in other ways.