You don’t read the Worldwatch Institute site for good news on global warming, of course. But it’s worth noting their report that world car production was up 4% last year – reaching a new record output of 67 million vehicles. The most dramatic change in the global industry was a 30% increase in the number of cars made in China – displacing Germany to become the number three produce (more…)
Not even August yet and there’s already an outstanding contender for ‘greenwash as chutzpah’ of the year award, in the shape of Vauxhall’s current ‘eco-ad’, which boasts of its 30% reduction in emissions at its Ellesmere Port plant. I’ll expand on the reasons for this in a moment – but it does point up the need for relaiable and trusted metrics – the subject of a good post by John Thackara on the always excellect doors of perception list.
The rains this week reminded me of a recent workshop I facilitated. One of the participants – who was certainly in a position to know – commented that the recent floods in Doncaster seemed to be ‘the first 21st century flood’ . What I understood him to mean by this was that the flooding had not been caused by sea levels rising, or accumulated run-off reaching the rivers, but simply because the water table and local river systems had been unable to absorb the sheer weight of water that had fallen out of the sky.
The picture is by Dan Kitwood on Flickr.com.
There’s a fascinating article by the geographer Saskia Sassen on Open Democracy which challenges some of the prevailing ‘wisdom’ about globalisation – most notably that it inevitably weakens the power of national government. The article is written in response to Gordon Brown’s announcement in early July that he would hand back certain powers taken by the British executive branch of government from Parliament. As she observes, globalisation strengthens some parts of the executive at the expense of other parts of government.
I haven’t been able to blog for more than a week because the line which has my broadband connection on it went down so I’ve barely had any internet access. But the experience of getting my phone supplier to get BT (the wholesaler) to sort out my fault, which was at the BT exchange, did make it clear to me that the present telecoms model is in no-one’s interests other than BT’s.
The intense rains of last Friday found me in Dublin, waiting for the aviation schedule to sort itself out. My plane eventually left around three hours late, but what was interesting was the pilot’s explanation.
Ulrich Beck, who invented the concept of the ‘risk society’ more than a decade ago is consistently interesting on the way societies are responding to rapid social change. In an article in today’s Guardian he offers a neologism to describe the shape of the world to come: “cosmopolitics”. Globalisation, he suggests, is reaching its limits. (more…)