10 Apr 2006

Incineration killing us?

Although I guess few of you will make this as it is Brighton, UK, tommorrow night, I am flagging it for two reasons.

1. Incineration....increasingly rubbish is simply being burnt, dioxins are now less of a worry, however incinerators produce mb10s....the tinist particles imaginable, I read the whole of Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalists and he in this book which is a hymn to free market progress and accuses environmentalists of many mistakes, identifies mb10s as the most dangerous particle size and a worry, so if a man who says don't worry about the greenhouse effect and shouts that the environment is getting cleaner mentions an environmental problem may be we could take a look.

2. Greens getting serious. Greens need to improve their political education and debate the tough stuff, Martin Grimshaw provides a template for green debating events that you can put into action with your local Green Party whether you are in Sao Paulo or Sunderland.

Have open sourced the title a bit!

The Burning Question – You decide

Tuesday 11th April 2006
Incineration: What Are The Options?

7.30pm £Free! (donations welcome)
Terraces Bar & Dining Room, Marine Parade (next to Sea Life Centre)

Main Speakers: Graham Ennis, Director Omega Institute
Christine Wiltshire, waste campaigner, Friends of The Earth
Kat Neeser, Take It Back anti packaging campaign

Following the success of last month’s Greenspeak on nuclear power, Tuesday sees our guest speakers tackle the controversial subject of what we do with our waste, what the options are and what is all this waste anyway?

Local plans for an Incinerator at Newhaven, Waste Transfer Station at Hollingdean and the Council’s Waste Local Plan have been the subject of much scrutiny and opposition and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has also recently launched its Waste Strategy Review and Consultation which has re-opened the debate nationally with many new incinerators planned to be built over the next few years.

As Brighton & Hove is revealed to have the 17th worst ecological footprint of any town or city in the UK, many are wondering why this city isn’t a beacon of best practice for others to follow. Globally, there are plenty of well studied examples of waste management success stories to be inspired by, which don’t cost the earth.

Meanwhile there have been encouraging signs recently of emerging new waste handling technology which is reported to transform waste into oil, gas, water and mineral solids. The pilot project in Missouri, USA is in need of academic assessment of performance, but has been running since 2003. The process is known as Thermal Depolymerisation and produces no toxic waste.

The monthly series of ethical debates is supported by the Brighton & Hove Green Party. The evenings are friendly and social, non-smoking and with food and drink available if you wish. Upcoming topics include: Green Economics, The Ethics of Food, Airport Expansion, Alternatives to Animal Testing, Housing Within Our Means, The Future of Education. Details of events can be found at www.greenspeak-brighton.org.uk or www.brightonandhovegreenparty.org.uk

Any ideas for future topics? Know any good speakers? Feedback? Want to get involved? Let us know - martin@greenspeak-brighton.org.uk

You might also want to check out the excellent Cafe Scientific, 3rd Tuesday of every month, also at Terraces Bar & Grill. Tue 18th April: 'Fusion - Powering The Future?' with Chris Warwick (UKAEA). More details at http://www.cafe-scientifique-brighton.org.uk

Thanks....see you there?

Martin & Kat x
PS For more information about the topics being looked at on Tuesday, and a follow up to last month's talk 'Do We Need New Nuclear: And Is It A Solution To Climate Change?' including simple action you can take, read on. If you are able to print off and display a poster for 11th April, then please download the attachment. Mucho appreciado.

Incineration / waste

* Greenpeace blueprints for local authorities on waste management best practice:
* http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/contentlookup.cfm?CFID=4527098&CFTOKEN=35314693&ucidparam=20060308140706&MenuPoint=D-D
* Green Party reports: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/groupednews/r=group%3D22
* Defra’s Waste Strategy Review: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/wastestratreview/index.htm
* Take It Back anti packaging campaign: www.dumpthedump.org.uk/takeitback.html
* Local FOE campaign against incinerator: http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/local_groups_and_campaigns/se.htm
* To learn more about the pilot project in Carthage, Missouri, run by a company called CWT, see http://www.thermaldepolymerization.org/

Nuclear follow up: Below is a report on the night, including quotes from speakers and guests. Nearer the bottom, you'll find advice on what you can do (ie respond to the Energy Review by 14th April) and references for research.
Tuesday 14th March saw a large audience enjoy the re-launch of Greenspeak, which took place at Terraces Bar & Grill, Kemptown.

The audience heard respected experts in their field offer a balanced range of opinion on the controversial Government Energy Review, whose Public Consultation is happening now. The debate was titled ‘Do We Need New Nuclear – And Is It A Solution To Climate Change?’

Many have questioned the purpose of this Review, suggesting that a decision has already been made to build new nuclear power stations. This being despite the previous Energy White Paper of 2003 decisively recommending no new nuclear and noting that the issue of waste has not yet been dealt with.

Moreover the Government has been criticised for not actually doing much consultation, hence the need for Greenspeak to address the subject on their behalf. Greenspeak invited the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) to support and attend the evening, but were informed that they were already too busy consulting to attend, or even send some Consultation Response Forms. Luckily Greenspeak downloaded a few at their own expense which were snapped up by members of the audience

Many Sussex residents will be especially concerned about any proposal to build new nuclear. Local French owned supplier EDF Energy, whose UK headquarters are in East Grinstead, runs the national French nuclear power programme and has enthusiastically attempted to influence the Government here. They sponsored an opinion poll published in November 2005 which aimed to show that the public was in favour of building more nuclear power stations, and Chief Executive Vincent De Rivaz has asked MPs to do so.

Speaker Professor Gordon MacKerron, Director of the Sussex Energy Group and Chair of the UK Committee on Radioactive Waste Management said "Most people in the energy community are surprised by the Government's decision to hold another energy review only three years after its previous one. The main reasons for the review - higher oil and gas prices and a perception that energy security is threatened - do not provide sufficient grounds to change the direction set in the 2003 review“.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Grimston – Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College and Chatham House – said "If the industry is able to deliver, then even with the gas price at half current levels, nuclear starts to look extremely economic. Nuclear is a hedge against becoming totally dependent on Middle Eastern and Russian gas."

Green Party South East Energy spokesperson Philip Smith, who kindly stood in as a speaker at the last minute remarked “The Labour government made no mention of its intention to build a new generation of nuclear reactors in their Election manifesto of 2005. This new Energy review is merely a window-dressing exercise to justify a u-turn in Britain's energy policy just months after a General Election. Building a new generation of nuclear power stations at enormous cost will make little contribution to preventing climate change and will pose a new threat to the nation's security and environment.”

Greenspeak co-organiser Martin Grimshaw said “To put this in perspective, it has been estimated that 6% of UK domestic electricity consumption goes to just leaving our TVs and other appliances on standby – turn them off properly, not just from the remote. Turn your lights off at all times when not in a room, and the video and computer when not in use.”

Audience member Sarah Dawson, off duty journalist, said of the event “It opened my eyes to these issues. I think the vast majority are in denial; this made me want to get off my backside and get active.” Hannah Wylie, permaculture student, remarked “Greenspeak is a positive, open forum. I think people have left feeling fired up and ready to take some action”

“An exceptionally high calibre of speakers, debate & discussion, such as is typically absent in the field”, felt Duncan Fry, barrister, while Rachel Fryer, pianist and teacher, commented “A fantastic, enjoyable evening, full of lively and highly informed debate. I look forward to the next one.”

You can respond to the Energy Review Consultation by 14th April. Go to the Department of Trade and Industry website www.dti.gov.uk/energy and respond directly online or download a response form. Alternatively write a letter telling the Government how it should shape energy policy for the coming decades and meet Carbon Reduction targets.

You can help reduce climate change:

* Try to walk, bus or cycle instead of using the car
* Switch Energy supplier to one investing seriously in renewables and make use of generous grants available now to insulate your home – visit www.greenenergyworks.org.uk
* Think about ways in which you can reduce your consumption – such as only using the amount of water you need when boiling a kettle, buying more local food from local shops and markets
* Tell Tony Blair that he needs to do more: visit www.stopclimatechaos.org.uk
* Comment on Brighton & Hove Council’s proposed sustainable development plan by visiting www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sustainability

1. Between 2004 – summer 05 Greenspeak was organised by Anthea Ballam, a leading Green Party activist. The events are now organised by Martin & Kat but are supported by the Brighton & Hove Green Party. It is run by volunteers and speakers give their time without payment. Donations will be asked for on the night to help towards costs.

2. The Energy Review and public consultation is being conducted by Malcolm Wicks - Minister of State for Energy at the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) see: http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy and http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/review/energy_review_intro.pdf

3. There has been much coverage of the Review and the Government’s possible motives over nuclear, very recently and over the last year. See for example The Guardian piece by Michael Meacher ‘Returning to Nuclear Power Could Prove a Deadly U-Turn’ http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,,1698832,00.html

4. See the report published 7 March 06 by the Sustainable Development Commission ‘Is Nuclear the Answer?’ which recommends that the government do not approve new nuclear www.sd-commission.org.uk

6. Re. EDF Energy: See the Telegraph article from Nov 05 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2005/11/06/cnucl06.xml

5. Malcolm Grimston is respected nationally for authoring several books & papers, delivering lectures and lobbying on behalf of the Nuclear Industry. He is in favour of building new nuclear power stations to cope with the coming energy crisis. He is Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College & Chatham House (formerly Royal Institute of International Affairs), as well as Conservative Councillor for Wandsworth.

6. Professor Gordon MacKerron is a respected expert on energy policy and offers a critical but also neutral explanation of the arguments. As Director of the Sussex Energy Group, part of the SPRU (Science & Technology Policy Research Unit) within the University of Sussex he is the co-author of a briefing for journalists ‘2006 Energy Review: 20 Critical Questions’ - http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/1-4-7-5-6.html . Professor MacKerron is also Chair of the UK Committee on Radioactive Waste Management and will be making contributions to the government’s consultation.

7. Keith Taylor had to pull out of the debate due to illness. Keith almost beat the Tories into 2nd place in last year’s general election for the Brighton Pavillion constituency, scoring the highest ever vote for a Green Party candidate. He is co-principal speaker for the Green Party, the closest position to a leader and is also a Brighton & Hove City Councillor. He is currently on a national lecture tour on the subject of ‘Nuclear versus Renewables’
See also Guardian article 28 Feb by Political Correspondent Matthew Tempest ‘Green party challenges 'push' to nuclear power’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/nuclear/article/0,,1720101,00.html
Philip Smith kindly stood in at the last minute, and is South East Energy spokesperson for the Green Party.

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