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Transition Culture moving ahead in UK

Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
Several recent posts about this relocalization movement in the UK:

Totnes Pound Press Generates Press Frenzy!
Transition Interviews on YouTube.
Food & Farming in Transition: The Renaissance of British Food Culture as the Age of Easy Oil Draws to a Close.
Transition Network Inaugural Conference, Ruskin Mill, Nailsworth.
(6 June 2007)

London Goes Carbon Crazy

Joel Makower, WorldChanging
To paraphrase Kermit: It isn’t easy being red, white, and blue.

Arriving in London this past week was something of a shock to the system, a jolt of reality that was both delightful and disarming. The town seems to have gone carbon crazy, offering up a display of initiatives from both the public and private sectors that highlighted how far behind the U.S. has fallen. The consciousness about carbon here seems to be sky-high.

Within minutes of deplaning at Heathrow on Wednesday, I was greeted by this intriguing headline: “GREEN LABELS FOR SHOPPERS.” Suffice to say, as someone who’s been tracking green consumer and labeling issues for nearly two decades, it caught my eye.

…It was clear that carbon labeling and personal carbon trading are part of a larger effort to foment a carbon mentality among British consumers.

You could see signs of it everywhere — in stores, in media, in billboards and broadsides. (“Lower carbon footprint, lower price,” read one bus shelter ad for the Renault Eco2 automobile.) This is not entirely surprising for a place where gas sells for the equivalent of $6.50 a gallon, thanks to taxes designed to discourage consumption. (Gas sells for about that price in Norway, too, where this is being written, despite the fact that Norway is the third-largest crude oil exporter in the world.)

In another sharp contrast with the U.S., carbon and climate are now part of a broad political consensus in Britain. “No one from any of the political parties would come out in opposition to environmental regulations these days,” said one business reporter I met with.
(5 June 2007)

Free monitor will persuade home-owners to be thrifty

Valerie Elliott, Times (UK)
A gadget to monitor household energy use is to be given free to every home that wants one.
The move is intended to make households think about the amount of energy they waste and for them to learn new habits such as switching off lights and turning off TVs and computers at the wall.

Energy companies are to supply the visual display units, which can show “real-time” energy use, to any customer who asks for them for a two-year period from next year. They must also supply them to every new home and whenever a meter is being replaced.

Ministers believe that consumers will soon economise on energy when they realise the amount of money they are wasting on unnecessary energy use that leads to higher bills.

A control is attached to a household meter and the consumer uses the display unit to test the electricity use of each appliance in the house – from games console to table lamp and washing machine.

The main government goal is for every home to have a “smart meter” for gas and electricity installed within ten years.
(24 May 2007)
Contributor John Dailey writes:
Finally, there is a way for me to see how much electricity I’m using as i use it. I can see how much each appliance is costing me to run and in turn, I am able to save money. It is especially great during Peak Electricity times in summer and winter months.

This is a great offer. I already have mine and it works great. I now know when appliances or lights are left on and exactly how much my washer and dryer are costing me to run them.

I would recommended it to everyone, and best of all National Grid is offering it free of charge, normally priced at $135. Product site

Sounds like a commercial message, but apparently UK consumers on the National Grid can get them free. By all accounts, electricity monitoring is an excellent way to reduce demand.

I can persuade George Bush on climate change – Blair

Patrick Wintour and Larry Elliott, Guardian
Tony Blair insisted yesterday that he could persuade President Bush to agree for the first time to a global target for a “substantial cut” in greenhouse gases within a framework sanctioned by the United Nations.

In an interview with the Guardian on the eve of the G8 summit, the prime minister said both elusive goals were now achievable and that America was “on the move” in its position on climate change.

Although Mr Blair said it would take tough negotiations over the next three days and it was still unclear exactly what the president would agree to, he was sure Mr Bush’s speech last week, in which he talked about establishing a US-led initiative to tackle global warming, was not a ploy to undermine the UN or the G8.

” I think the announcement by President Bush last week was significant and important, and it is absurd to say otherwise, since it moved things on. On the other hand you then need to flesh out what it means.” He stressed that any agreement reached between the G8 and the five leading developing countries would have to be sanctioned by the entire United Nations.
(6 June 2007)