The perfect storm ahead: 4 months on and it looks no calmer.

Following on from my last blog entry and my new determination to get this blog up and running, I revisited a draft post I worked on shortly after joining WordPress in February (see below).  I thought the post was particularly relevant given the recent criticism the government has received from the Confederation of British Industry regarding its environmental policy http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/08/coalition-miss-emissions-targets-cbi.  The CBI’s climate change tracker http://climatechange.cbi.org.uk/policy/climate-change-tracker/climate-change-tracker found that greenhouse gas emissions from industry and transport remains high as new policies are not yet taking effect.  Therefore, four months on from his speech to the the RGS, evidence to support Chris Huhne’s optimisum  regarding the perfect storm sadly looks scant. 

February 2011 -Recently I was lucky enough to attend the RGS’s Perfect Storm conference.  The conference gathered academics, NGOs, environmental activists, business leaders and government ministers to discuss future environmental challenges and climate change. 

The conference took its name form a report by the UK’s chief scientist, John Beddington, which stated that the combination of food, water and energy shortages will unleash public unrest and international conflict.  The conference demonstrated that all environmental issues are connected and antagonised by each other and that therefore a holistic approach to their management is required.  Many at the conference advocated urgent action as the perfect storm is not just a likely future event but is beginning to occur right now,  particularly in relation to water, food and energy resources.

One of the highlights of the day was a talk given by the Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne.  The minister spoke confidently and passionately on the issue of climate change, stating that it was a clear and present danger. He used the examples of the 2000 UK floods, which damaged 10,000 homes and cost £1.3bn to the insurance industry and the 2003 European heatwave, in which thousands died to show that the storm is here.  The minister addressed the need for and the benefits of action on climate change.  Stating that  he remained confident that a global deal on carbon emissions will happen and stated that UK has already reduced its carbon emissions and will continue to make real progress in the future.

Despite the minister’s confidence in the current approach to tackling the ‘perfect storm’ being questioned by a number of the audience, I was struck by the minister’s passion and eloquence on the subject and was left looking forward to seeing the evidence of his confidence in future national and international environmental agreements and actions.

A transcript of the Minister’s speech can be found here http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/RGS_speech/RGS_speech.aspx

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The difficulties of starting a blog: Less is more and frequent is even better!

So it’s been nearly 4 months since I started this blog and since then I have struggled to move on with it and develop it further.  This is not through lack of interest or ideas but simply because I have struggled to devote time to it and have found adapting to the style of writing required for blogging difficult.  The process of responding to something quickly enough to make an up to date and interesting blog post is very different to the style I am currently required to use for my work.  As a young researcher I work to write papers that can be published in peer-reviewed journals. This is a process which requires working with a number of authors and through a process of sometimes seemingly endless reviews.  With a blog post I do not have any collaborators or the time for many revisions.  This difference has led me to start a number of posts but then not have the courage to hit that publish button.

Despite these difficulties in starting out I remained committed to the idea of blogging about green issue and convinced of the enjoyment and benefit I would get out of it.  With this in mind I decided to take the blogs, twitters, wiki and other web-based tools course run over the last 2 months by the library at Imperial College London.  The course started with a 2 hours introduction and then consisted of online modules at http://research20atimperial.wordpress.com/.  The course provided an introduction to web 2 technologies and convinced me further of the benefit of using such tools for scientists and research students.  The course also provided me with opportunity and necessity to practice my blogging skills.  This has made me realise that a blog post does not need to be a great piece of  literature or a full report but it does need to be current and informative.  With this in mind I have decided that I will focus on producing shorter but  more frequently and instantaneous blog posts so that I can build up my posts and begin to develop my skills.  I am sure that developing the ability to adapt my writing skills will be just one of the many benefits I get out of writing a blog.  I’m looking forward to getting properly started, stay posted to see how I get on!

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Science Blogging Workshop

Feeling really enthused and inspired after going to the Science Blogging workshop at Imperial College today. Thanks to Erika, Stephen, Richard and Jenny for sharing their experience and tips.  I can’t wait to start my  blog properly now.

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My take on all things green!

Welcome to my blog!

I am a young researcher working for the Centre for Environmental Policy in London.   I enjoy keeping myself up to date with a whole range of environmental issues and I hope this blog will provide a useful commentary on environmental current affairs and share my enthusiasm for all things green! 

For more info about myself please check out the about section.

Thanks,

Alex

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