Category: Climate crisis

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A monumental COP-out

Tom Scott
'climate criminals': Putin, Morrison, Bolsanaro masks at COP26

“It’s hard not to see the Glasgow Climate Pact as an elaborate suicide note couched in the language of blah-blah-blah”: Tom Scott’s powerful COP26 report. I returned home from a few days at COP26 in Glasgow more bone-tired than I think I’ve ever been in my life, and watching the news coming out of the […]

Don’t be seduced…

Mike Walton

Decarbonising transport – we’ve got it sorted. The UK government has been vocal in its support for electric cars as THE carbon-free future for travel. The transport carbon challenge solved! Or is it? The generously-funded motor lobby is powerful at getting its message across. We could be forgiven for thinking that electric cars are the […]

The rain in Spain falls… oh, wait! It doesn’t!

Mike Zollo

We are all being showered with news and comment about COP26 … but what is the Spanish context regarding the environment and climate change, and how is the climate conference viewed in Spain? Crucial! El Mundo reported on 30 October that the COP26 ‘guerra del clima’ (climate war) was starting in Glasgow “in the midst […]

Time to use our roads to reduce our carbon emissions

Caspar Hughes
light trails on a motorway at night

We’ve seen Insulate Britain emerge onto their M25 stage in the last couple of weeks with their brave and dangerous protests. They are prepared to go to prison as campaigners try to wake the population up to the fact we are careering headlong into the worst crisis humanity has ever faced. The M25 is an […]

The COP26/COPnes26 edition. Two weeks which will shape our future

Editor-in-chief
Gaia by Luke Jerram, art installation

The next two weeks are absolutely critical for the planet and West Country Bylines will be featuring articles on the climate crisis, the conference and the parallel event being run in Totnes with our support. We will be watching closely to see if this government lives up to the green credentials it so frequently claims […]

Seagrass meadows, carbon capture and the hidden costs of pollution

Sadie Parker

Did you know that seagrass meadows are thirty-five times more effective at carbon capture than the typical tropical rainforest? Seagrass meadows account for only 0.1 per cent of the sea’s bed, but an estimated 10 per cent of its carbon capture. They are great for biodiversity, too. Scientists have found that they provide a habitat […]

COPnes26: what’s on!

Editor-in-chief

COP26 is set to dominate the news over the next two weeks. Where does this leave our region and local communities? Totnes has started its own parallel environmental event to COP called ‘COPnes26’, continuing the town’s now well-established tradition of environmental and sustainability awareness. Here are some highlights: One of COPnes26’s roles is to enable community […]

I don’t want a Metaverse, I want a planet Earth

Clare Knight

I was surely not alone in feeling nausea and dread watching Mark Zuckerberg’s promo video for Facebook’s new incarnation (not to mention disgust at Nick Clegg trotting out insultingly complacent platitudes about regulation and data security). But disgust at the absolute sellout by someone who once seemed half decent is as nothing to the emotions […]

COP26 and the five stages of grief

Rob Hopkins

In a few days I head up to Glasgow for COP26. I have no formal role, indeed I don’t know why I’m going there really, and I can only be there for the first week, but I feel drawn to being there. In 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing, the Civil […]

For peat’s sake – restoring Dartmoor’s peatlands

Tony Whitehead

Peat is an accumulation of slowly decaying plant matter formed in cool wet conditions. It is a remarkable substance and one of the most important stores of carbon on the planet. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), globally the remaining area of near-natural peatland (more than three million km²) contains more […]

Insecure Brexiters: George Eustice

Peter Roberts

George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne, Redruth & Hayle, and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The professional Cornishman stood for that famously green political party UKIP in the 1999 EU Parliament elections. He lost. He doesn’t promote his former affiliation on his website, of course, but if I were George Eustice […]

Why I’m clanging for climate on 30 October

Tom Scott

At 6pm on Saturday 30 October, I’ll be standing on my doorstep banging a saucepan more often used for stews. Not because I’ve taken leave of my senses (yet) – it’s part of a big national action called ‘Clang for Climate’ that’s encouraging people in communities across the country to raise the alarm about the […]

Climate of lies

Tom Scott

The BBC’s new docudrama The Trick dramatises events around ‘Climategate’ – the hacking and subsequent false representation of thousands of emails between climate scientists, just before the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit. It’s an episode that can now be seen as a blueprint for a later – and even more devastating – disinformation operation. Writer Owen […]

COPnes26: the parallel COP26 in Totnes keeping us informed, in touch and in action

Jim Funnell

COPnes26: 31 October – 14 November 2021 COPnes26 is a two-week series of planned events across Totnes, an opportunity for the town and wider community across our region to respond to the global climate crisis. Mirroring the international COP26 negotiations held in Glasgow during this same period, the town’s inclusive, conscious community will lead reflection […]

26 Voices for Change

Tom Scott

On Friday I took part in the launch of 26 Voices for Change, a new anthology of work by Cornwall-based writers responding to the climate and ecological emergency. Held in the splendid new performance space at The Cornish Bank in Falmouth as part of the Falmouth Book Festival, the event showcased an incredible diversity of […]

Methane: a threat and an opportunity.

Mick Carter

There have been a lot of letters in the Western Morning News about methane emissions from cattle sparked by a columnist claiming that there was a “spurious and completely unfounded presumption that methane from cows is a problem.” The columnist is a Dartmoor farmer and his response was, in my view, misleading. Methane is a […]

Le mot injuste…

Mike Zollo

As a lifelong linguist, I am only too aware of the power of language: its power to communicate or obfuscate, impress or offend, please or disappoint. Language is power. Years of study, experience and teaching language have blessed – or cursed – me with an acute sense of the value of language, and a feel […]

The media: the biggest obstacle to addressing transport emissions

Caspar Hughes

As is so often the case, the biggest barrier to the required step change for us to reduce our transport emissions is the media. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, they are pushing electric cars as part of the solution to the climate and ecological crises. Electric cars are part of the problem. Globally […]

The final hurricane : Inspiration4 comes at a great cost to the planet

Graham Hurley

Cape Canaveral, home of the Kennedy Space Centre, is in Florida.  The Sunshine State has long been the favourite destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists, many of them British, in search of warmth, fabulous beaches, and the many excitements of Disneyworld.  More recently, along with neighbouring Alabama and Louisiana, it has also become ground […]

“Code red for humanity”

Belinda Bawden

“Climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying” Surely no-one could have missed these headlines on the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 9 August 2021? The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the Working Group’s report was nothing less than “a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening and […]

Everything we love is at stake at COP26

Tom Scott
Gyllingvase Beach

So many of the things we hold dear in our communities and local environment are threatened by the accelerating climate emergency. Tom Scott writes of one spot in Falmouth that’s close to his heart. As Cornish beaches go, Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth is pretty modest – without the thundering surf and miles-long stretches of sand […]