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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Minutes of Telecom with Tesco regarding biofuels

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for making time for the telecom on Tuesday, 26th August. To reiterate the main points of our conversation and agreements that we came to:
  • The CO2 levels in our atmosphere are far in excess of past measurements. As a result we are in uncharted territory. It is thus difficult to predict with any accuracy the resultant temperature that the climate will stabilise at, other than to conclude it will be far in excess of today's temperatures and most probably not conducive to life on earth.
  • As a consequence of this build up of CO2, we face the very real prospect of catastrophic climate change. To have any chance of avoiding this, we must preserve what we can of our biosphere to allow CO2 to be removed from our atmosphere.
  • I have explained to you that preservation of our biosphere is not compatible with expanding biofuels.
  • You have agreed that Tesco proceeded down the route of biofuel, along with other companies, before the science was fully settled.
  • You said that Tesco's are preparing a response to the Gallagher report. I have agreed to provide information to you that will support your response.
  • I have explained that the the concept of biofuel fails when one factors in the loss of CO2 absorption from the atmosphere. I explained to you that given that extremely high CO2 in the atmosphere then the first priority must be to have a functioning biosphere that allows the CO2 to reduce. I further pointed out to you that that Gallagher report does not cover how this loss of CO2 absorption will be covered following biofuel developments.
  • I also explained that the conclusions of the Gallagher report, i.e. that we should slow down the introduction of biofuel targets is not compatible with underlying message of the report, which is largely that biofuel use leads to increased CO2 emissions due to land use change. I also explained that the main justification that the Gallagher report uses for its final position is to preserve the biofuel industry and to ignore the risk to the environment. This is clearly an unsustainable position.
  • I explained my demand, that Tesco divest from Greenergy and support calls for a moratorium on biofuel. You have explained that Tesco will consider solid scientific evidence towards this demand.
  • I have explained to you that those objecting to biofuel, ranging from individual protestors such as myself to world organisations such as the UN World Food programme are all losing the battle on biofuel as more land gets converted to biofuel, more money gets invested into biofuel and new government targets are being imposed.
  • Finally, I explained to you that it is increasingly clear that our economy is a zero sum game as limits to growth are appearing simultaneously in numerous areas, e.g. food supply, water availability, CO2 build up. In a zero sum game, (such as chess) one person's gain is another person's loss and no additional resources come into play. In a zero sum game, the only strategy to adopt is competition. This is a nightmare scenario which all sides must recognise and do all to avoid. It places a special onus on organisations such as yours to take full cognisance of the available science to avoid further damage.
A copy of the presentation outlining the position is attached. I will provide the information that you request within the next 4 weeks.

These minutes will be posted on my blog.

Kevin Lister

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Letter to David Drew MP - following Climate Camp at Kingsnorth Power Station

Dear David,
I was at the climate camp last week. As you may have seen on the news, the police response was completely totally over the top and was blatant oppression. We had helicopters over us during the night to stop us sleeping, we had helicopters over us during the day to stop us talking. We were searched when entering and leaving the camp. The camp was frequently attacked by riot police at 5:00 am. This is a disaster for free speech and could be taken out of the worst nightmares from George Orwell.

As you are aware, climate change is going to become a bigger and bigger issue and it will become more contentious. The authorities, who are clearly frightened were this will lead, are taking the worst possible approach to this by driving us towards a police state.
Further to this, Eon has been successful in getting a misleading message across about how clean the new power station will be compared to the existing station that they plan to replace. They have kept reiterating that the new power plant will be 20% more efficient that the existing. However, in Eon's environment statement it says that the power plant operates at 37% efficiency, so the 20% improvement will merely raise the efficiency to 45%. So the absolute improvement is only 8%. Furthermore, the existing power plant is rated at 450MW and the new power is 800MW, representing an increase in emissions of 77% . With their projected increase in efficiency, the total emissions from the power plant will increase by 63%. This picture of massively increasing emissions is completely counter to that presented by Eon and is disastrous when we now face the prospect of catastrophic climate change.

I would therefore like the following question to be asked to the either John Hutton, or Malcom Wicks:

"Can ministers confirm that the absolute increase in efficiency at Kingsnorth Power station is only 8%, based on Eons environment statement (page 4). Also given that the output of the new plant is planned to be 77% higher that the existing plant, then the total CO2 emission increase is 63% once the efficiency improvement is taken into account. Can ministers explain how this is justified in light of the government's climate change bill?"

Also you may have seen the article in the Guardian by Prof Watson, the chief advisor to DEFRA, who states that the fight against climate change is now lost and that we should focus on adapting to a 4 deg C increase. Adaptation to a 4 deg C increase will be done by dieing in our billions and taking the natural world down with us. To give the lie that we can adapt to a change of this order, is the worst spin that has yet been thrown at us.

If no questions have been asked on this, could you ask:

"Can ministers explain what adaptation is possible if we get the 4 deg C temperature increase that Prof Watson warns, given that our cities will be flooded, our food chains will have collapsed and we will be managing a massive environmental refugee crisis. Is is not better to ban the building of more fossil fuel power stations, such as Kingsnorth, to invest in nuclear and renewables, and immediately start the implementation of a carbon rationing scheme?"

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Protesters injured at Tesco's Subsiduary company following failure to deliver sustainability report

Dear Sir Terry,

Following our repeated requests from your organisation for sustainability reports for your biofuel products, we have still not received any further information. I summarise below the statements that your organisation has provided so far:

1.Your organisation stated that your biofuels were sustainably sourced and environmental audits could be provided.
2. After email correspondence your organisation admitted that the science supporting biofuel was no longer clear and that you would be commissioning a study with Manchester University which would be made publically available.
3. We asked for a copy of the remit that you would provide Manchester University and a timescale for delivery of the report. We received no response.
4. We contacted Manchester University and they confirmed that no remit could be agreed.
5. Your Andrew Slight was commissioned to look at the situation and confirmed Tesco's policy was to provide a sustainability report as initially promised.

As a result of your continued delay to provide any assurances on the sustainability of your biofuel products and the gravitas of the problem of biodiversity loss and global warming, my colleagues have been left with no option but to blockade your subsidiary company, Greenergy to highlight the consequences of your policies.

You should be aware, that this protest brought about by your policies and inability to provide evidence of sustainablity has resulted in several of my colleagues being seriously injured.

We now view your organisation's inability to provide the evidence that we have reasonably requested extremely seriously

This email will be post on my blog.

Kevin Lister