Climate Change And Planning Applications Reviewed

A White Paper on sustainability and planning rules is about to appear. Ruth Kelly, the Government’s Communities Secretary, wants climate change to be an integral part of the agenda for the overall planning process, regarding both infrastructure and local renewable technologies. So why has the Local Government Association already rejected the White Paper?

The detail is always the issue, of course, but surely the Local Government Association (LGA) is plain wrong to reject – or so it appears – Ruth Kelly’s proposed White Paper on planning rules and sustainability even before it goes to print?
There may well be issues about how planning applications for big projects such as airport terminals are handled, but the present system is hardly perfect. (The time scale – six years – and cost of the process for Heathrow’s fifth terminal is one example.)
Addressing climate change where it makes a difference
The critical point of the intended White Paper is that it attends to the very real challenge of climate change. Yvette Cooper, the Department of Communities and Local Government Housing Minister, is already lined up to head a ‘green buildings
task force’; now Ruth Kelly wants to do her bit by enabling more easily the actual implementation of the essential changes to the way things will be done.
Oliver Letwin, the Conservatives’ policy spokesperson, and (Lord) Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Tory leader of the LGA, have responded to the idea of the Green Paper by talking about loss of ‘local control’.
A global issue, not a local one
I’m all for local people feeling empowered and engaged – the local dimension does matter – but haven’t Messrs Letwin and Bruce-Lockhart lost the plot?
Climate change is a global issue, not one which can be resolved primarily by local consultation, for goodness’ sake.

Posted on May 20, 2007, in Politics, Policies And Process, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, Science Politics And Policy, Sustainability As If People Mattered. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Interesting…
    ‘Scepticism’ over climate claims
    The public believes the effects of global warming on the climate are not as bad as politicians and scientists claim, a poll has suggested.
    The Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults – interviewed between 14 and 20 June – found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change.
    There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.
    The Royal Society said most climate scientists believed humans were having an “unprecedented” effect on climate.
    The survey suggested that terrorism, graffiti, crime and dog mess were all of more concern than climate change.
    People should not be misled by those that exploit the complexity of the issue, seeking to distort the science
    Sir David Read
    Royal Society
    Ipsos Mori’s head of environmental research, Phil Downing, said the research showed there was “still a lot to do” in encouraging “low-carbon lifestyles”.
    “We are alive to climate change and very few people actually reject out of hand the idea the climate is changing or that humans have had at least some part to play in this,” he added.
    “However, a significant number have many doubts about exactly how serious it really is and believe it has been over-hyped.”
    People had been influenced by counter-arguments, he said.
    Royal Society vice-president Sir David Read said: “People should not be misled by those that exploit the complexity of the issue, seeking to distort the science and deny the seriousness of the potential consequences of climate change.
    “The science very clearly points towards the need for us all – nations, businesses and individuals – to do as much as possible, as soon as possible, to avoid the worst consequences of a changing climate.”
    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2007/07/03 00:25:26 GMT

  2. Tony Siebenthaler

    Whilst there are scores of reasons why we should cut back on our energy use, especially that of fossil based non-renewable types, we should take real care to not just go along with the hysteria that has been raised about ‘Man Made’ global warming. This whole drive is a political campaign and not just ‘honest science’ I think that when we can all begin to get a real idea of what is happening around the world.. then that idea will be a much rosier one.
    Who can counter these counter-claims to those heavily politcal claims of the ‘former next president of the United States’ (ahh, how self depreciating, he must tell the truth!) Al Gore?
    Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny
    June 30, 2007
    Chicago Suntimes
    In his new book, The Assault on Reason, Al Gore pleads, “We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public’s ability to discern the truth.” Gore repeatedly asks that science and reason displace cynical political posturing as the central focus of public discourse.
    If Gore really means what he writes, he has an opportunity to make a difference by leading by example on the issue of global warming.
    A cooperative and productive discussion of global warming must be open and honest regarding the science. Global warming threats ought to be studied and mitigated, and they should not be deliberately exaggerated as a means of building support for a desired political position.
    Many of the assertions Gore makes in his movie, ”An Inconvenient Truth,” have been refuted by science, both before and after he made them. Gore can show sincerity in his plea for scientific honesty by publicly acknowledging where science has rebutted his claims.
    For example, Gore claims that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate reported, “Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame.”
    Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, “Although it’s tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests’ humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine.”
    Gore claims global warming is causing more tornadoes. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in February that there has been no scientific link established between global warming and tornadoes.
    Gore claims global warming is causing more frequent and severe hurricanes. However, hurricane expert Chris Landsea published a study on May 1 documenting that hurricane activity is no higher now than in decades past. Hurricane expert William Gray reported just a few days earlier, on April 27, that the number of major hurricanes making landfall on the U.S. Atlantic coast has declined in the past 40 years. Hurricane scientists reported in the April 18 Geophysical Research Letters that global warming enhances wind shear, which will prevent a significant increase in future hurricane activity.
    Gore claims global warming is causing an expansion of African deserts. However, the Sept. 16, 2002, issue of New Scientist reports, “Africa’s deserts are in ‘spectacular’ retreat . . . making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa.”
    Gore argues Greenland is in rapid meltdown, and that this threatens to raise sea levels by 20 feet. But according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Glaciology, “the Greenland ice sheet is thinning at the margins and growing inland, with a small overall mass gain.” In late 2006, researchers at the Danish Meteorological Institute reported that the past two decades were the coldest for Greenland since the 1910s.
    Gore claims the Antarctic ice sheet is melting because of global warming. Yet the Jan. 14, 2002, issue of Nature magazine reported Antarctica as a whole has been dramatically cooling for decades. More recently, scientists reported in the September 2006 issue of the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series A: Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, that satellite measurements of the Antarctic ice sheet showed significant growth between 1992 and 2003. And the U.N. Climate Change panel reported in February 2007 that Antarctica is unlikely to lose any ice mass during the remainder of the century.
    Each of these cases provides an opportunity for Gore to lead by example in his call for an end to the distortion of science. Will he rise to the occasion? Only time will tell.
    James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute.
    Perhaps Liverpool could become the first city to make a genuinely valuable environmentally sustainable policy from what is being really proven by science, rather than responding to what is mainly the politicised dregs of obscure and often contrary half baked notions?

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