Global Warming: Is it too Late to Save the Planet?

Global Warming is here to stay and there nothing we can do about it

Is it too late to save the planet? Should we stop trying to cut CO2 emissions and start planning for the worst?

Many scientist are quietly saying that we have past the tipping point and what ever we do now, the temperature is going to increase by 5-8 degrees. Leaving much of the planet in the next 100+ years as either desert or flooded by a 3-10m rise in sea level.

The worst drought ever, is currently hitting the USA.  Europe, Russia, China and other parts of Asia have; or are currently experiencing, some of the worst flooding in living memory.

Famine, drought, flooding, and unprecedented crop failures, could lead to 3rd world starvation on a never before seen scale, mass migration, and even world war. (see BBC Mass Migration)

Over the top? Alarmist?  Scaremongering?………… May be!

But already global food prices are set to rocket for the 3rd year in a row and if the USA, (the bread basket of the world) has two more similar years of failed harvests, then the developed countries could struggle to feed themselves, let alone the poorer nations.

When global scientist are said to have reach a consensus on climate change (when do scientist ever reach a consensus??? they either agree or disagree!!) we know we are in trouble!  The whole climate change/science debate, has allot more to do with politics than it does real science.

For example in 2009 it was revealed in the press that Sea levels were predicted to rise twice as fast as first predicted in 2007 (see Guardian and Independent report)

The IPCC's 2007 report ‘missed out’ the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets which would be the key drivers in dramatic sea level rises. And these figures today are still not included in the report.

Yet Greenland alone is loosing enough water per year, to cover a country the size of Germany 3 feet/1m deep in water.

This might not sound much in global terms, but ice and snow are incredibly reflective.  The less ice, the less reflective surface there is to reflect the suns heat.

This in turn, allows the oceans to heat up, and in the process expand in volume due to thermal expansion.

If that isn’t bad enough, as the artic tundra regions begins to thaw, they will release millions of tonnes of stored methane, which is significantly more dangerous than CO2

Scientist believe that the tipping point to a 5 degree temperature increase could be the discharging of this methane gas, as once released into the atmosphere, there will be an unstoppable bounce in global temperature.

Professor James Lovelock believes we should now be planning for the worst.  Small islands such as Britain, New Zealand, Ice land the parts of the artic circle and Canada could still support farming and therefore a viable human population. But mankind will be reduced from 8 billion to just 1 billion in a mater of a few 100 years.

Depressing indeed! Unfortunately most governments only have a 4-5 year political life before they need to get re-elected. Climate change is an in-precise science, so no one has the political will to deal with it.

Coal, gas and oil fired power stations all emit unacceptable levels of CO2.

Wind power is not cost effective and unreliable. Hydro and wave can't supply enough energy. Europe needs to build Nuclear power stations if we are not to be held ransom by less stable countries; at least until countries like Spain and Africa can build enough Solar farms and start selling electricity to there neighbours

Just as some of the greatest strides in science and human ingenuity happen during war time, governments have to come together and treat this issue as the worst global catastrophe in human existence.


APN12 Avoid Damage to Trees by Paving and Excavation

APN 12_Page_1

This blog describes the techniques for the construction of access drives, which may avoid or lessen the damage caused to trees. Compaction of the soil, pollution, changes in soil levels in the root zone and cutting roots can all kill existing trees.

Most tree roots are contained within the top 900mm/3ft of soil. and many of the trees feed roots within the top 100mm/4”.   It may not be wise to make even shallow excavations within the root zone of existing mature trees which are to be retained. Where Planning Permission is needed Local Authorities may make special construction techniques mandatory for any paving and drainage, etc. in what are known as Tree Protection Zones (TPZs).

The objective is to avoid damaging roots, preventing compaction of the soil and to allow water and oxygen to permeate through any construction. Details are shown in the current edition of BS 5837 or APN12 e.g. using a geogrid fabric, Type 1 sub-base and a porous block pavers or a no-fines gravel topping. The area affected should be restricted to >20% of the root zone.

APN12 is a very useful document for all landscape designers and architects and I would recommend all design practices own a copy of APN12 in the design library. APN12 embraces the principles first published as 'Driveways Close to Trees' (APN1) and reviews where the principles may be applied in practice.