Sunday, 22 June 2008

The news

The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans - and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer.

(Nothing to do with stuff like this, then? Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of BBC's Top Gear, has struck a multi-million pound deal to promote the motoring programme's "brand" around the world.)

The poll results have shocked campaigners who hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. More than half of those polled did not have confidence in international or British political leaders to tackle climate change.

Hardly surprising, since:

A group of MPs has criticised the Government for failing to reduce potentially deadly air pollution in London. The Commons transport committee singled out the capital's poor record on meeting targets in a report.

It found that targets for nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulates (PM10s) were all missed and in some cases levels were actually rising. The report, based on 2006 readings, found the worst areas included King's Cross, Bloomsbury, Holborn and large swathes of the West End. "The consequences of this failure are not insignificant ... it is estimated that respiratory disorders associated with PM10 episodes are responsible for 8,100 additional deaths and 10,500 additional hospital admissions each year."


The pressure is on Alistair Darling to scrap the 2p rise in fuel duty scheduled for this October and to U-turn on the plan to increase the road tax on gaz-guzzlers.

Green politics matter now more than ever. It is not woolly to be green at this time. It has never been more hard-headed. The crisis over the oil price is just one of many indicators that it is even more imperative to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and make the radical moves necessary to become a low-carbon economy. The fortunate countries of the future will be those with political and business leaders with the foresight to plan for that world by encouraging investment in clean and renewable energies, carbon capture and green transport.


Bristol was appointed as the UK's first official Cycling City by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. Eleven other urban areas have been designated Cycling Demonstration Towns in an attempt to encourage 2.5 million more people to take up cycling, improve their fitness and beat the traffic.

However, “You get cut-up, you get abuse” – see the cycling video here.

And more about cycling in Bristol here.

Boris on cycle helmets:

As soon as I started to wear a helmet, I was denounced as a wimp, a milquetoast, a sell-out to the elf and safety lobby, a man so cravenly attached to his own survival that he was willing to wear this undignified plastic hat. As soon as I was pictured not wearing a helmet, I was attacked for "sending out the wrong signal" and generally poisoning the minds of the young with my own reckless behaviour.

London commuter cycling is dramatically increasing, according to TfL:

More than half a million journeys on London's major roads are made by cyclists each day. The figure represents a 91% rise in cycle journeys on the city's major roads since TfL was created in 2000. In the 12 months to March 2008, cycling on major roads grew by 4.5%, with about 20,500 more cycle journeys every day.

The latest case of someone killed in a fatal collision with a police vehicle:

The parents of a woman who died after a collision between a car and a police van answering an emergency call have paid tribute to their daughter. Angela Purcell, 38, was in a Seat Ibiza which collided with the vehicle in Patricroft, Salford, on Friday. Her five-year-old niece and the male driver were also injured and are being treated in Hope Hospital, Salford.