Having won their last 4 friendly games, though not convincingly, England seems to be winding down into a comfort, complacency zone, worryingly. Dubbed English football's ‘golden generation', only to fall flat at UEFA EURO 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, South Africa 2010 may well be the last chance of an international trophy for some of the most well-known faces in world football.
However, the appointment of Fabio Capello appears to have brought fresh vigour to the Three Lions' squad, many of whom have a point to prove after lacklustre displays when it mattered most under Sven-Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren. With the tournament due to take place in the South African winter, conditions which should suit the English players and style, so excuses will be at a premium should Wayne Rooney and Co. fall short once more.
Following the disappointment of missing out on a place at the UEFA EURO 2008, England bounced back in emphatic fashion in qualifying for South Africa. Indeed, they stormed to no fewer than nine wins from ten Group 6 games, scoring a European Zone high of 34 goals in the process, with their only defeat coming in Ukraine with qualification already secured.
Leading from the front in terms of both goals and commitment was Manchester United forward Rooney (nicknamed ‘Wazza’, or ‘The White Pele’), who responded to shouldering the main responsibility for England's attacking threat by finding the net nine times in as many games. Also chipping in were midfield duo Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, who hit four and three goals respectively. Rangy front-man Peter Crouch certainly made the most of limited opportunities by grabbing four goals in as many appearances, while Tottenham team-mate Jermain Defoe underlined his finishing prowess with three strikes in just 135 minutes on the field.
Winner of Serie A with AC Milan, AS Roma and Juventus, as well as a two-time La Liga champion at Real Madrid, Italian disciplinarian Capello wasted little time in instilling a renewed work ethic and squad spirit in an England squad packed with big-name stars and equally large egos. Qualification for South Africa 2010 with two games to spare and a solitary competitive defeat speak volumes for Capello's impact in his relatively short time in charge. However, recently his experimentation with previously unfielded and ungelled starting line-ups has heralded some concerns in the English media.
Concern is a word that almost fits well to cover the recently fluctuating moods of British society. Last year a Newsweek piece questioned whether there should still be used a Great before Britain, in light of its apparently paling international significance. Perhaps the ability of a once feistily outward looking, educationally exceptional, adventurous, take-em-as-they-come nation that lost its way will rise again, leaving these judgement seemingly too soon pronounced. But, it must be accepted that some work remains to be done, despite indications of ambitions to revamp its moderately sizeable and not insignificantly prosperous science and technology centers. Can it make what little remains of its industry green and also stimulate renewed excellence in infrastructure, social and financial capital with a sustainable, green heart?
UK Environmental Factsheet
1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is made up of four countries: Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, England being the biggest, with a population of 51,446,000. Average per capita GDP in the 4 countries is $34,619 (the highest per capita GDP being in England, standing at $44,000), which puts it at 34th in the world. The UK's GHG gases per capita are 36th in the world
2. The UK Pavillion at the Shanghai World Expo, though not entirely in keeping with the ‘Better City, Better Life” theme (hell, the London/Nottingham-Ningbo Universities efforts are nearer, displaying ideas towards ‘zero emissions’ in a social and economic development context). However, this being an International Year of Biodiversity, and environmentalists seeing a re-awakening of concern for loss of biodiversity being key to understanding impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, the Pavillion’s theme can be considered well chosen.
3. For the first time in history, a majority of adults in some highly urbanized societies are overweight. In the United States, this applies to 61 percent of all adults. In Russia, the figure is 54 percent; in the United Kingdom, 51 percent; and in Germany, 50 percent. Workers commute by car from home to work in an office or factory, driving quite literally from door to door. Automobiles have eliminated daily walking and cycling. Elevators and escalators have replaced stairs. Leisure time is spent watching television. In the United Kingdom, the two life-style variables that correlate most closely with obesity are television viewing and automobile ownership. Also, people are needlessly throwing away 3.6m tonnes of food each year in England and Wales, research (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7389351.stm) suggests. Moreover, throwaway culture is endemic in the UK, which sends almost two million tonnes of rubbish to China every year: www.chinadialogue.net/.../756-China-must-say-no-to-imported-waste .
4. Two big government acts now enshrined in law have paved the way for the UK to become a low-carbon economy: The aim of the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 (c.19) is to boost the number of heat and electricity microgeneration installations in the UK, so helping to cut carbon emissions and reduce fuel poverty. Microgeneration technologies are seen as having considerable potential by the Government. Microgeneration involves the local production of electricity by homes and businesses from low-energy sources including biomass, biofuels, fuel cells, combined heat and power systems, small scale wind turbines, ground source heat pumps and solar electricity installations. Then the Climate Change Act 2008 (c. 27) made it the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for all six Kyoto greenhouse gases for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline. Mitigation:? It remains to be seen if the new coallition government persists in setting climate change issues as a priority area worthy of prioritising investment towards.
5. Although not part of the central government programme, in local government, a growing number of councils have signed up to the Nottingham Declaration, launched on 25 October 2000, committing them to work towards reducing emissions.
6. Clear Skies organisation, and the Major Photovoltaics Demonstration programme.
In 2006 these were replaced by the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP).
BREEAM has dominated environmental assessment of UK buildings for nearly 20 years. Now there's a competitor from the US: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Environmental assessment of buildings is nothing new, with the first national scheme, BREEAM (the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), appearing in 1990. BREEAM has since expanded massively, going from a 19-page BRE report with 27 credits available, to a massive 350-page technical guide (for the office version) with 105 credits. The principles of BREEAM have also spread across the world. The US Green Building Council launched its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in 1998. The main difference between the two methods is the process of certification. BREEAM has trained assessors who assess the evidence against the credit criteria and report it to the BRE, who validate the assessment and issue the certificate. While LEED does not require training, there is a credit available if an accredited professional (AP) is used. The role of the AP is to help gather the evidence and advise the client. The evidence is then submitted to the US-GBC which does the assessment and issues the certificate. Both schemes share common components (Table 1). Early involvement of the assessor or AP at the design stage is beneficial to the project and the final rating. Both schemes drive the market to improve building design. The judging criteria also keep pace with legislative developments and current best practice. The Dutch Green Building Council has also adopted BREEAM as its favoured environmental assessment method.
There is also a related network forming of people associated with the development of our built environment; from bricks and mortar through design, engineering and planning to communities and regeneration. They provide easy to digest updates and guides for laymen too. This group is called Sponge, has regular meetings in all over the UK, and its website is here:http://www.spongenet.org.
7. In the UK there is a grassroots initiative called 10:10 which is an empowering climate change campaign with the aim of getting individuals, companies and institutions to reduce their carbon footprints by 10% during 2010. The aim is to sign up a large number of individuals, companies and institutions as quickly as possible, and then challenge the government to match their commitment. It is being run by Franny Armstrong (Director of The Age of Stupid)'s team with help from the Guardian, Comic Relief and Freud Communications. An update on its activities can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/10-10 and here: 10:10. (www.1010uk.org/).
8. Due to increasing ‘Supermarketisation’ of consumption in the UK (and corresponding closure of smaller chains) supermarkets are now embedded into daily culture, with even inner-city areas having ‘Metro’ versions of the suburban stores. The largest UK supermarket is Tesco and, thankfully for ‘greenies’ to hear it is pioneering some green initatives, greenwashed or not as they may be, they are a start in the right direction. These include: electric car charging at 3 London stores, a target to sell £1bn of locally sourced products by 2011 (compare this, however, to an operating income of £3.41 billion), the first supermarket to trial the Carbon Trust’s carbon label in our stores – letting customers know the carbon footprint of what they’re buying, a line of line of ecofriendly clothing, the soon-expected opening of an environmentally friendly supermarket in the UK (there is already an e-f Tesco in Ireland, use 45% less energy than a comparable supermarket) promoting more (though, it must be said, not favouring) arrivals by bicycle, and automated recycling machines in all stores. In a survey, more than half of UK consumers are said to want information about the carbon footprint of the products they purchase, and nearly half would switch to brands with smaller carbon footprints.
9. The car giant Nissan has announced it is going to build its new electric car, called the "Leaf" at its plant in Sunderland, the UK. Production begins in three years time and it means hundreds of jobs should be safeguarded. About 50,000 Nissan Leaf hatchbacks, which run entirely on lithium-ion batteries, will roll off the Sunderland production line a year. Already smaller-engined, smart and micro-cars are favoured by many UK consumers, as they receive generous tax preferences for these, less congestion charge, suit the lack of parking space in many UK cities and are not culturally prejudiced against (smaller cars are not considered particularly effeminate, as in some other countries, but more cool, self-effacing). As far as domestically innovated cars go, a ‘Mass-EV’ is being developed in Reading, UK by Turbo Electric Ltd. This car is targeted to be on sale 2011 at a price of £7,000 to the public and charges directly from the UK socket. Roughly the size of a Ford Focus C-Max, will do in excess of 100 miles and motorway speeds. With trailer generator will do in excess of 500 miles on one tank of petrol.
10. The international definition of high-speed rail is new lines with a speed of at least 250 km/h (155 mph) and existing lines with a speed of around 200 km/h (124 mph).
Attempts to increase speeds to 140 mph (225 km/h) on the East Coast Main Line and West Coast Main Line have both failed, as travel above 125 mph (201 km/h) on such routes was judged to require in-cab signalling. The term “High Speed Train” is currently used to refer to the British fleet of diesel-powered 125 mph (201 km/h) InterCity (between major cities such as Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry, Bristol, Portsmouth, Southampton, London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sunderland and Newcastle) trains currently in use, and the Eurostar, from Brussells to Paris tand then on to London. A controversial 2004 study from Lancaster University concluded that a family of four in a modern car traveling from London to Edinburgh would be more efficient than traveling in a diesel-powered UK trains. The study showed that trains had failed to keep up with the advances that the automotive and aviation industries had made in improved fuel efficiency. There are plans to build lines and stock that can be rated better under such terms, or upgrade the existing ones (between Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London) to higher efficiency and speeds: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8561286.stm. In England, bus and rail are popular methods of public transportation, especially London. Rail provides rapid movement into and out of the city of London while busing helps to provide transport within the city itself. As of 2006-2007, the total energy cost of London’s trains was 15 kWh per 100 p-km, about 5 times better than a personal car. Car free days (combined with celebratory festivals, named ‘Freewheel’) have also been trialled in London, to supplement the already effective congestion charge, which act as good deterrents and impetuses.
11. A study by the U.K. Green Party, Aviation’s Economic Downside, describes the extent of subsidies to the U.K. airline industry. The giveaway begins with $18 billion in tax breaks, including a total exemption from the federal tax. External or indirect costs that are not paid, such as treating illness from breathing the air polluted by planes, the costs of climate change, and so forth, add nearly $7.5 billion to the tab. The subsidy in the United Kingdom totals $426 per resident. This is also an inherently regressive tax policy simply because a part of the U.K. population cannot afford to fly, yet they help subsidize this high-cost travel for their more affluent compatriots.
12. Investigations into the exploitation of Geothermal power in the United Kingdom, prompted by the 1973 oil crisis, were abandoned as fuel prices fell. Only one scheme is operational, in Southampton. In 2004 it was announced that a further scheme would be built to heat the UK's first geothermal energy model village near Eastgate, County Durham.
13. The United Kingdom has a 1,000-megawatt offshore wind farm, the London Array, under construction in the Thames Estuary and a 1,500-megawatt wind farm, the Atlantic Array, off the coast of Devon, in the planning stage.
14. Due to the island location of the UK, the country has great potential for generating electricity from wave power and tidal power. To date, wave and tidal power have received very little money for development and consequently have not yet been exploited on a significant commercial basis due to doubts over their economic viability in the UK. Funding for the UK's first wave farm was announced by the Scottish Executive in February 2007. It will be the world's largest, with a capacity of 3 MW generated by four Pelamis machines and a cost of over 4 million pounds. Several political leaders are pushing for an 8,600-megawatt tidal facility in the Severn Estuary, on the county’s southwest coast.
15. Promising a new energy bill in the next parliament, the new government, led by David Cameron, wants to create a green investment bank that would loan individual households the money to invest in carbon-reducing measures, including insulation.
The plan, which builds on the one announced by the outgoing Labour government in its last budget, is called a "pay-as-you-save" approach. The idea is that households borrowing money to make their home greener would repay the loan using money saved through lower energy bills. Labour originally wanted to create a £2bn fund to which households hoping to access money would apply. The private sector was expected to come up with a similar amount.
The new government hasn't said exactly how it will work. In the past, the Tories previously promised £6,500 for each home, and the Lib Dems suggested up to £10,000 could be available. These figures may have to be revised upwards as a typical electricity generating solar scheme costs about £15,000, although these amounts would allow householders to invest in cheaper solar water heaters, or a range of insulation measures. The new energy bill may also contain measures to: Require energy companies to provide more information on energy bills in order to empower consumers and to ensure fair access to energy supplies. Regulate the carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations. Reform energy markets to deliver security of supply and ensure fair competition. Put in place a framework to guide the development of a smart grid that will revolutionise the management of supply and demand for electricity. Ensure that North Sea infrastructure is available to all companies to ease the exploitation of smaller and more difficult oil and gas fields.
16. As far as smart grid is concerned, it is clear that a drive towards it continues to receive government backing, but some believe that recent discussions on introducing smart meters to every household did not include the functionality required to manage electric vehicle charging, which could render the first generation of smart meters obsolete as the electric vehicle market grows." Maybe in this context the way people own cars might have to change, with more car clubs and shared vehicles. Also, seven out of 10 UK people said in a recent poll that they would probably ignore the information smart meters provide — even if it means they could save money on their energy bills. This is perceived to be due to a persisting lack of awareness and apathy. However, the environmental credentials of adopting smart grid technologies to their logical ends seem undeniable: An Italian research team is testing refrigerators that can monitor the grid flow and, when demand rises or supply drops, simply turn themselves off for as long as it is safe to do so. New Scientist reports that if this technology were used in the 30 million refrigerators in the United Kingdom, it would reduce national peak demand by 2,000 megawatts of generating capacity, allowing the country to close four coal-fired power plants.
17. A more recent efficiency challenge has come with the market invasion of large, flat-screen televisions. The screens now on the market use easily twice as much electricity as a traditional cathode ray tube television. If the flat screen is a large-screen plasma model, it can use four times as much electricity. In the United Kingdom, some Cabinet members are proposing to ban the energy-guzzling flat-screen plasma televisions.
18. The Green Energy for Schools program will be providing 100 schools across the UK with solar panels. The first school in Wales was the Tavernspite School, near Whitland, which has received panels worth £20,000, sufficient to produce 3,000kWh of electricity each year.
19. A several hundred million Euro initiative to combat climate change and its effects on a previously unseen scale is announced today, bringing together world leading universities including Imperial College London and major companies and regions across Europe. The creation of the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) signals Europe's commitment to tackling climate change and to making a step-change in its ability to innovate. The initiative is one of three KICs to be established and part-funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), with nations, regions, corporations and universities all providing supporting resources. The Climate KIC aims to create new technologies and new businesses that will dramatically reduce Europe’s carbon emissions - for example by improving how cities are designed and operate - and enable individual regions to increase their resilience to the predicted changes in temperature, rainfall and landscapes in their area. The research and innovation programmes of the Climate-KiC form the very heart of the Climate-KIC. They bring researchers from academia and private partners, entrepreneurs, staff from companies and public institutes and students together. Intensive interaction facilitates and promotes co-creation processes in which new applications for existing knowledge and avenues for new knowledge development and business creation arise. Four focus programmes have been identified: Assessing climate change and managing its drivers; Transitioning to resilient, low-carbon cities; Adaptive water management; Zero carbon production systems. Each programme will link education and innovation with ongoing research.
20. A young Commonwealth Climate Summit was held in London in 2009, including such discussion topics as “Scenarios on Climate Change and Development in Low Income Countries’ (Forum for the Future), “’What can I do?’ Individual and Community Change toward low carbon footprint” and “Socially Responsible Corporations? Role of the private sector in combating climate change”. These are important, as “Youth are a key segment of society and have proven to be an important group on actions to address environmental issues in the past. Youth and children are an important source of creativity, enthusiasm and drive for any actions to address climate change”. They are also, as …. is looking to channel, the leaders of the future. The UK, as former patron (sic.), if patroniser, of commonwealth countries, still may have the chance, due to favourable linguistic ‘winds’ exert some influence on the coming generation, should it continue to sponsor such events.
21. De-centralizing energy generation in Woking, U.K. slashing the city's C02 emissions by 82% (http://www.c40cities.org/bestpractices/energy/woking_efficiency.jsp), Association of British Ports Resource Efficiency Groups (http://www.c40cities.org/bestpractices/ports/uk_abp.jsp) and the congestion charge in London, which cut CO2 emissions by 16%, all are best practise models for the Clinton Climate Initiative’s C40 Cities. London even has its entire city under plans of action, including Green Enterprise Disctricts and a comprehensive Mitigation and Adaptation Action Plan ((http://legacy.london.gov.uk/mayor/priorities/docs/delivering_london...) for the whole city, plus a Climate Change Partnership Group (http://www.london.gov.uk/lccp/), spending over £100 million over three years on direct climate change programmes, and several hundred million more on programmes that are aimed at delivering carbon-free benefits – such as hybrid buses, new sustainably-built homes, and cycling. We are leveraging funding from government through the Homes Energy Efficiency Programme, from Europe through the £100 million JESSICA Fund, and from the private sector through the newly created London Green Fund.
22. Much of supposed ‘urbanisation’ in the UK still is largely composed of towns or suburban areas. Transition Towns, a new phenomena, start off when a small collection of motivated individuals within a community come together with a shared concern: how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil and Climate Change? They begin by forming an initiating group and then adopt the Transition Model (explained here (http://transitiontowns.org/TransitionNetwork/TransitionPrimer) at length, and in bits here (http://www.transitionnetwork.org/community/support/12-ingredients) and here (http://www.transitionnetwork.org/community/support/7-buts)) with the intention of engaging a significant proportion of the people in their community to kick off a Transition Initiative.
A Transition Initiative is a community (lots of examples here (http://transitiontowns.org/TransitionNetwork/TransitionCommunities)) working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this BIG question:
"for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?"
23. The organisers of the 2012 London Olympics have set the following environmental targets:
The Olympic village will be 25% more energy-efficient and carbon emissions will be reduced by 50% for the whole development compared with current building regulations; renewable energy wlll provide 20% of the energy for the Olympic Park and Village; 20% less water than average will be used by the Olympic village; 20% of the materials used to construct the venues and 90% of demolished buildings will be reused or recycled, and; 50 km of new cycling routes and 30km of new walking routes will be built. Time Out London (http://www.timeout.com/london/olympics/features/3333/2012-a_green_O...) and The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/feb/07/energy.society) are both tracking the ambitions and results