Another week in links…

First of all, some comments by Professor Sir Bob Watson (Chief Scientist at DEFRA) reported in a BBC News item.  His view is that any hope of restricting the global average temperature rise to 2 degrees C is now “out of the window”.  He urged the Chancellor, George Osborne, to back the UK’s efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

Then, George Monbiot going ballistic in his blog, putting the news about the record arctic sea ice melt in context with (a) demands for a new third runway at Heathrow, and (b) the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida being delayed a day by the severity of Hurricane Isaac.

Finally, a Comment in “Nature” by Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at University College London, about what to do when there is no meeting of minds despite the appearance of rational discussion.  He describes a discussion with a senior UK politician in which the response to his forecasts was a dismissal of serious outcomes and a belief that unregulated markets will accomplish all that is required.  He quotes the economist J.K Galbraith: ““faced with the choice of changing one’s mind and with proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” The more an individual has invested in their position, the more strongly they will seek to justify it.”.  His conclusion is that scientists need to become much more sophisticated in their approaches to communication, inevitably adopting a more ‘political’ role. The article in Nature has restricted access, but a response by Roger Pielke senior throws further light on the issues raised in the article.

Transition Initiatives Daily

This on-line ‘newspaper’ recently came to my attention (thanks, Robin).  It’s a collection of news items that are broadly transition themed, sourced from a variety of media.  It is styled (as the title indicates) the ‘Transition Initiatives Daily‘.  Quite a mixed bag, and global in scope, not just UK items.  It seems worth keeping an eye on, so I have included it as a further link in the list to the right of the page.

Micro dairies

At the last TC meeting there was some discussion about the possibility of a ‘micro dairy’  (along the lines of a micro brewery) given the current issues with dairy farming and milk prices.  There are some examples out there – but I didn’t find that many.  A little investigation turned up the North Aston Dairy featured in this grassrootsfood web article.  The same Oxfordshire dairy was featured in a BBC Radio 4 Food Programme episode back in 2010. This is well worth a listen as it gives a good insight into the difficult economics of dairy farming.  Another example is the Maple Field Milk dairy set up as a Community Interest Company with a grant from the Prince’s Countryside Fund.  A case study about it was published by ‘Making Local Food Work’.  The Maple Field Milk example is also of interest because it seems to be associated with the Campaign for Real Farming, promoted by Colin Tudge.  Finally, I came across an article in Spectator Scoff (also from 2010) on the possibilities of micro dairies.  This article begins as follows:

“Why is it that we are prepared to pay over £3 for a pint of lager, £2 for a cappuccino and £1.50 for a litre of bottled water, but balk if a litre of milk costs more than 75p?”