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Britain’s land use

Last week the Centre for Alternative Technology launched the latest edition of the Zero Carbon Britain report. It’s a framework for moving Britain to a sustainable, postcarbon way of life, and it looks at energy, transport, waste and land use. It’s an ambitious but practical plan, but the thing that caught my eye most of […]

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The falling costs of zero carbon homes

From 2016 all new homes built in Britain will be zero carbon. It’s one of those targets that struck fear into some when it was announced, because the additional costs to build to zero carbon standard added tens of thousands of pounds to the bill. It could add £15,000 to a flat, and £40,000 to […]

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How long does a century of oil actually last?

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function”, professor Albert Bartlett used to famously say. We tend to underestimate the impact of something growing at a steady rate, and nowhere is that more true than in the area of resource depletion. Because we don’t understand the effect of […]

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What we learned this week

The new Zero Carbon Britain report was launched on Wednesday. It’s always one of the more ambitious decarbonisation plans out there, but always well presented and inspiring, and I shall be reading it in due course. How Lego are exploring the circular economy. Living at the top of a steep hill, I am envious of […]

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jlr solar roof

Building of the week: the JLR engine factory

Last week Britain’s largest roof-top solar array was unveiled in Staffordshire. It has 21,000 PV panels and generates 5.8MW of power. By the end of the year that will be 6.3 MW, enough to power 1,600 homes. It is, unfortunately, on the roof of an engine factory – but let’s not hold that against it. […]

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Flatpack democracy

The little Somerset town of Frome may not be the first name to spring to mind when thinking about radical grassroots democracy, but something rather interesting has been going on there in recent years. In 2011, a group of people up-ended the local council by offering a real alternative to party politics. They ran as […]

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rough ride to the future

A rough ride to the future, by James Lovelock

James Lovelock is one of Britain’s most influential scientists. For most of his career he worked independently, a free ranging maverick who could turn his mind to anything that caught his imagination. He came up with Gaia theory, invented the measuring devices that made it possible to detect CFCs in the atmosphere, and built tools […]

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Enough is Enough

I was at the Joy in Enough conference last weekend and Dan O’Neill was speaking, author of Enough is Enough. It occurred to me that I’d bookmarked this video and never got round to posting it. I’m sure a number of you have seen it already, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s a […]

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The Death of Money, by James Rickards

Books called ‘the death of’ something or ‘the end of’ are almost never about the literal end of that thing. Money can’t die, after all – if all else fails, we can use ringpulls, or marbles, or spoons. So the book isn’t about the death of money per se. It’s about the decline of the […]

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The four footprints

As the world’s population grows and the middle classes expand, there is mounting pressure on the world’s resources. That is pushing up prices, and resource stewardship is a growing priority for governments, businesses and individuals. In order to help us understand resource efficiency and reduce our ecological impact, Friends of the Earth Europe has been […]

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