Thursday, July 23, 2015

Weathering the Storm

London’s economy at risk from extreme world weather

GLA report calls for promotion of low carbon economy 
and climate change adaption strategy

From the London Assembly Economy Committee

London’s status as a global city makes its economy increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Not only do we face higher risk of flooding, drought and heatwaves at home, but we also ‘import’ risk through the insurance sector, overseas investments and our supply chains.

However we have found that the adaptation economy is strong and growing. And London is well placed to take advantage of further opportunities for growth in a sector in which it has internationally recognised strengths. The time is right for responsible investment in, and promotion of, the green economy as an alternative to coal and other fossil fuels.

The London Assembly Economy Committee has investigated the impact of climate change on London’s economy in terms of risks and opportunities.

During the investigation, the Committee held two public meetings with representatives for a number of organisations, including Lloyd’s of London, PwC, LSE and Siemens. Written submissions were also received from the Mayor of London, the Federation of Small Businesses and the City of London Corporation amongst others.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
  • The London Climate Change Partnership should map the major supply chain vulnerabilities of London’s economy.
  • The Mayor should commit to the principle of a transition away from investment in certain fossil fuels, namely coal and towards reinvestment in responsible funds.
  • The Mayor should launch an award for climate change adaptation to reward innovative initiatives by London businesses.
  • The Mayor should drive forward a resilient low carbon economy for London by promoting skills in this area and encourage innovation in the green economy.
  • Climate change adaptation should be integrated into the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, as currently it doesn’t feature.


  1. Ever heard the expression, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing?

  2. I wasn't going to comment on this because I suppose it's all been said but these 'green' people have driven me to it. I am sick to death of hearing about climate change! OF COURSE the climate is changing. It always has and always will. It's been changing for eons since the earth was formed; long before re-cycling, carbon footprints, emissions from internal combustion engines and I dare say from cattle. Have these folk never seen the pictures of barbecues on the frozen Thames a few years ago? The UK is an infinitesimal speck on the surface of the earth compared with the enormous land masses of Asia, Australia and North and South America. What makes all these intelligent idiots (and I do not deny their intelligence) think that whatever measures we take here to 'combat' climate change will make the slightest difference to anything at all except possibly to make a lot of people very rich. It's like trying to fight a forest fire with an eye-dropper! We should all be campaigning to divert the billions being spent on this futile quest to the construction of hospitals, the elimination of disease and giving subsistence and hope to those who have little or nothing to live on. It's not gonna happen though, is it?

    1. But we've got the "Greenest Government ever"!

    2. If you go to the Museum of London you will see, not far from the entrance, a large graph displaying the changes in climate in the UK over several millennia. We are exactly where we would expect to be - just short of the warmest ever, about to peak and then fall away into a period of cooling.

      My issues are not with global warming but with global waste. We are consuming finite resources with what I can only describe as reckless abandon - using unreplaceable fossil fuels to make cheap plastic toys to put in Christmas crackers, for example - and will all suffer when they run out. We will not be able to put a stop to anything that has the potential to make a small group of people extremely rich unless we all understand that this is what is going on and use the power of our purses to refuse to buy what we don't want and certainly don't need. And yes, the UK is only a small part of what is happening but - you in your small corner and I in mine - those of us who really get this have a duty to shine with a pure clear light and keep repeating the message till it finally gets through.

  3. Like it or not, we stil use a lot of coal in this country - as I write, just over 20% of our electricity is coming from coal and we have the capacity to generate nearly four times as much.

    Yet we import all of it.

    However, as the Welsh announce Britain's first 'energy positive' house, Friends of the Earth are fighting to stop the opening of a new opencast coal mine in Wales preferring instead to continue to import it - in itself hardly green. Don't fool yourself into thinking that we wont need this coal, with no new power stations being built for a considerable time and no prospect that I know of off any realistically planned for the future, the lights will soon start going out without it!

    1. So what? Good! When things are scarce we learn to adapt. The 3-day week made no difference to me as we found we didn't actually need to have the lights on during daylight hours. And the pubs were still open - candles.
      Energy efficiciency and conservation plus green and clean local sources are the way we have to go, both environmentally and economically. And, get this, the market is going to enforce it because clean and green technology gives power to the consumer and not the supplier. No amount of whingeing by you or the big energy companies is going to stop it. It is coming our way so grab hold and enjoy the ride.

    2. "And the pubs were still open - candles"

      Oh! The two faced hypocrisy! The power's off, so let's go to the pub and burn (hydrocarbon) [wax] candles ...

      I'm all in favour of wave energy which, if staggered so that tidal patterns complement each other, is capable of producing power continuously over a 24 hour period unlike solar, which inconveniently switches off just when it's most needed, or wind power which just sulks any time it feels like it ...

      I'm all in favour with reducing pollution, within reasonable limits - I grew up on the bank of the Thames and remember all the slate roofs that were white, a by-product of the local cement manufacturing industry - so it isn't just hydrocarbons we have to worry about ...

      Interesting that we don't hear much about nuclear energy these days - could this be because the Greens have successfully implanted the idea in most minds of our early weapons-grade uranium and plutonium production plants (which also generated some electricity as a by-product)?

      Modern nuclear power stations are not only much cleaner but can even re-use their own waste to produce more energy, with a consequent reduction in the level of radio activity in the resultant waste.

      Radio activity isn't exclusive to nuclear energy (or weapons) - the background radiation in the granite areas of the south west and Scotland can reach very dangerous proportions if not dealt with properly, for example.

      It is the bulk of low level waste that seems to be the problem. If it is stored in large quantities then, like the build-up of radon gas under houses in Cornwall, the radiation levels can exceed safe limits. However, this does not need to be a problem - simply spread it out until it is virtually impossible to detect, let alone cause a problem. One way of doing this is to encapsulate it into glass 'pebbles' which can then be used for road building ...

      Nuclear isn't the total solution to our energy needs - far from it! Nuclear power stations can't respond to rapid changes in demand but they are ideally suited to what is known as 'base load'. Reference to the graphs here (on the left) show that the base load currently is around the 20GW level with peak demand being of the order of 30GW.

      The most efficient use of resources would be to generate all the base load from nuclear yet, at present, the best we can do is about a third, with coal and gas making up the rest of it, assisted by the wind, if it isn't sulking at the moment ...

      We've been switching off power stations (of all varieties) for years but haven't built a single replacement.

      In another thread in this blog there is reference to 'developments in battery storage'. However, there is no indication of the technology involved in the link. It turns out to be lithium-ion, so nothing new after all then ...

      In the battle to eliminate our use of (hydrocarbons), the Greens seem to overlook the vital part they play in our lives because, if we stop using them for fuel, we will lose all the by-products that we take for granted - after all, who is going to refine oil to produce large quantities of volatile liquids that they can't sell, just so that you can use products made from the by-products?

      Ask a Green to demonstrate that none of their clothes or carpets include any man-made (hydrocarbon) fibres, for example ...

      I would be particularly interested to see how this blog is produced using hardware completely devoid of hydrocarbon products ...

      For an interesting and informative film on the subject (now over 50 years old!) take a look here:

      Oh, perhaps I should warn the greens that this is a Shell film ...

    3. As I said, no amount of business as usual Neo-luddite whingeing is going to change things. A new pardigm is emerging and it is being driven by the market and advances in technology, not the greens. And as we all know, you can't buck the market. Have a nice day.

  4. "A new pardigm (sic) is emerging and it is being driven by the market and advances in technology ..."

    As you say but ...

    Take a look at that house in Wales with its 'latest technology' solar panels and massive lithium-ion battery.

    It is still projected to source 75% of its energy requirements from the grid in December and January plus 50% in November and February, yet use only 50% of the energy it generates between April and July. Fine. But it still needs power stations to keep it going in the winter and a market for its surplus in the summer.

    I'm quite struck by the idea, as is my wife, and if we could only find a suitable plot of land somewhere ...

    However, we'd need a house to live in while it was being built and banks don't like lending money to old fogeys like us these days ...

    We would also pass on our 110 year old house to someone else and you can guarantee that they won't be demolishing it and a building a replacement energy efficient house in its place!

    This is the problem you have yet to solve. Take a look at central Ilford where Cameron Corbett swept along the High Road in the last few tears of the nineteenth century and the the first few of the twentieth, buying up all the farmland he could lay his hands on and replacing it with housing. Barring a few replacements for buildings deemed beyond their useful life, like the Pioneer Market and Palais, a bit of infill and replacements for bombed houses during the war, the vast majority - say well over 99% are still over a hundred years old and they are by no means the oldest houses in Ilford.

    How long is it going to take to replace them with new energy efficient houses? Obviously it is going to be a very long time!

    "And, get this, the market is going to enforce it because clean and green technology gives power to the consumer and not the supplier."

    Come now, we both know exactly what will happen if everything is left to 'market forces' - goodbye Oakfield, goodbye green belt ...

    Oh, and where is the land coming from for all the sheep? And (but not in this country, of course) the new cotton plantations? Remember, no man made fibres for clothing without hydro-carbons ...

    Change will come - but not at the pace you seem to be predicting.

    When the houses in Ilford were built, there was no central heating, many toilets were outside and the cellars were kept full up with coal. That isn't the situation today and you could argue that it is due to development and 'market forces' but it has taken a very long time. The houses now have (or should have) copious quantities of loft insulation - they are too old, of course, to have cavity walls and the dubious benefit that cavity insulation brings.

    But they are still here and destined to be so for a very long time but the rooves aren't big enough for adequate solar heating panels to supply all their (much higher) energy needs and the sheer size and cost of the much higher capacity lithium iron batteries that would be required makes them a non starter. Remember also that batteries, in any house, will require replacement as they age so, whilst solar energy might be 'free' it still costs a lot of money to make use of it!

    This is not " business as usual Neo-luddite whingeing" - just plain common sense. Change is inevitable - it has always been so - but it will occur in its own sweet time.

    Hydrocarbons and nuclear, whatever you might think of them, aren't dead yet by any stretch of the imagination!

    Finally, I hit send yesterday before I'd edited the link to the Shell film, so once more with feeling: - Prospect for Plastics.

    1. Well, at least you do recognise that change will come even though we may disagree on timescales. I said on the other post “a generation” which is usually held to be 25 years and the general consensus seems to be that the rapidity of change is increasing.

      How long did it take to transform a mobile phone from the size and weight of a brick to the 3G device you have in your pocket? How long did it take for VCRs to catch on and then die? How long did it take for the internet to catch on? Or desktop PCs to decimate the printing unions? Printed newspapers are really struggling financially and attacking the BBC because they are now a direct competitor for news on the move.

      We have changed the way we access news and we will not only change the way we use energy but also how much of it we consume.

      BTW, this bloke has transformed his victorian terrace in Camberwell into a carbon-negative dwelling and that was in 2007. Why not give it a go yourself?

      He is featured in this book “How to live off-grid”.

      So theiyr’re!

  5. "BTW, this bloke ..."

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