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25 March 2008



Sorry Mike, cant agree with you on this one.

Far from having an off day Monbiot is challenging the CCS industries, and governments to get their act together on CCS. From where we are now, can we really take the risk that technology will save the day? As the Nasa scientist James Hansen says, there is enough CO2 in coal alone to take us to tipping point.

On the issue of the No Coal Wear Blue campaign, these are not activists in the sense you imply, but respected professionals and students from the architecture, design and construction world who, recognise the relationship between our wasteful built environment sector and the coal power stations, and are doing something about it. Where else do you see our sector taking a stance on such issues? Wearing blue wont change anything other than increase awareness and a sense of doing something - and a little fun along the way. Always better than doing nothing or waiting for others to do it for us.

Can I suggest you take a look at the articles and videos at www.architecture2030.org and indeed on the isite blog.



Thanks for your comments. Perhaps I misread Monbiot's piece. I got the distinct feeling - shared by other readers, partial though they may be - that he was dismissing out of hand a promising technology which would, at least for a while, help us meet requirements to cut CO2 emissions while generating much-needed power.

If, as you say, he was encouraging the industry and the Government to bring this technology forward to meet our requirements as you say, then I applaud him. And I applaud you for suggesting this.

I agree that Kingsnorth should not be brought on stream without a CCS facility and will go further and say that I believe that it must - and all power stations really must - be either a combined heat and power plant or a district heating plant. I'm 'doing my bit.' The press people at Kingsnorth know that I am watching what they doing in this regard.

Perhaps, then, we should agree that we are not going to cut power consumption overnight; in fact it looks set to go on rising and we somehow have to meet our need for power.

If we can only, at present, meet our growing need with non-renewable energy, we might as well invest money in technology that will help to cut carbon emissions.

But at the same time, we should be developing sustainable power generative technologies and reducing need and improving efficiency. When film cameras died, Kodak didn't disappear; it had been developing digital cameras and scanners, point of purchase machines and software behind the scenes.

Perhaps we are in a crisis. Let's for the sake of it agree we are. That is not - aparently - enough to shift people's behaviour.

We still live in the world of the real rather than the ideal and we still need to work with that.
Will demonstrators stop a new runway at Heathrow? No. Did Greenpeace applaud Branson's early attempts to fly with biofuels? Of course not. They called it a publicity stunt. How boring. Do they not want to find better ways of powering flight? Sometimes I wonder.

We face a complex challenge in combating climate change, and I think we need to act like Kodak and say 'yes' more than we say 'no' and, perhaps, trust that industry and Government are trying to do what they say they are doing.

With regard to CCS, I'd put money on it, because the process stands to generate money and jobs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

With regard to blue jumper-wearing, I don't think non-professionals (amateurs? the working classes?) have the last word on activism. I might even wear a blue jumper myself. People say blue suits me.


Blue is good - clear thinking, clear skies and all that

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