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sustainable materials

Review: Sustainable Materials Without the Hot Air

A couple of months ago I reviewed the volume on urban transport, and here’s another in the series from UIT Cambridge – Sustainable Materials Without the Hot Air, by Julian Allwood and Johnathan Cullen. They and their team of eight spent five years researching sustainable materials, and this is the result. The book looks at […]

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The sources of China’s carbon emissions

When writing about climate change and how to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the focus in Britain tends to be on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Rightly so. A third of our emissions by source are from the residential sector (more on that again soon), so reducing waste at the household level is a real […]

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costa rica

How Costa Rica is going carbon neutral

I’ve expressed my admiration for Costa Rica before, and their ambition to be the world’s first carbon neutral country. They’re making good progress towards that on the electricity front, if not every other sector. At 94% renewable energy, the country is streets ahead of us in Britain. “Use us as an experiment” says one contributor […]

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Farming with nature

A few years ago the BBC showed a fascinating little documentary called A Farm for the Future. It argued that farming had got it wrong for thousands of years when it came to managing the soil, and that there were better techniques that used less energy and didn’t disturb the ground. It was a beautiful […]

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The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change

Over the last few months we’ve had the Lambeth Declaration committing the church of England to action on climate change, and then Pope Francis’ encyclical on the subject. This week sees a similar commitment from the Muslim world, in the form of the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change. It’s been issued by an international […]

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solar farm

Four ways to support this blog

In the seven years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve had a few general rules that I’ve stuck to. I don’t write about the blog stats, and I don’t accept advertising. And since the blog is a gift, I don’t ask for things. Those rules were easier to keep when I started. They didn’t cost […]

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What we learned this week

I’ve been away from the blog for three weeks, which is the longest I’ve put it down since I started. We’ve been visiting family, and took the kids to Ireland on the ferry. I’ve been thinking about other things, and reading a long and detailed biography of Harry Houdini at Rob Wringham‘s recommendation. By way […]

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How to hide a power station

A few weeks ago I wondered if it was possible to build a beautiful power station, something Britain’s energy minister has suggested. I think you can, but another possibility comes to mind: can you hide a power station? Well, we’ve already done it a couple of times. Cruachan, the ‘hollow mountain’, is one of them. […]

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How to be Wild, by Simon Barnes

Simon Barnes is an unusual writer. He was a sports writer and editor for the Times for over 30 years, and he also had a birdwatching column, and writes books about horses and about conservation. Sports and ecology aren’t worlds that don’t often go together, but Barnes writes with passion and flair about both. How […]

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What we learned this week

This week the government dropped plans for zero carbon homes – throwing away 9 years of a decade-long drive in innovation and efficiency. (This was announced in a Treasury document called ‘Fixing the Foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation’) The government also reversed previous commitments this week and decided that fracking will be allowed on […]

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