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« Green children..... | Main | 'Conversation that Matters' with Freeman Dyson »
Tuesday
Apr072015

Diary dates, not to be missed edition

I recently became aware of a seminar taking place in London at the end of the month. Run by the Central London branch of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association, it looks as if it absolutely should not be missed.

Central London BUIRA Seminar

Climate Change, Work, Labour and Trade Unions, with Professor Fred Steward (Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster) on Labour and the Green Economy and Dr Paul Hampton (Fire Brigades Union) on Trade unions and climate change in the UK: prisoners of neoliberalism or swords of climate justice?

Followed by round table discussion on what trade unions can do with Sarah Pearce (Unison), Graham Petersen (UCU), Igor Diaz and Jairo Quiroz from the Columbian coal miners’ union SINTRACARBON, and Christine Haigh from Global Justice.

Friday 24 April 2015, 10.30am – 13.00pm, followed by buffet lunch

University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS  (opposite Madame Tussauds and nearly opposite Baker Street tube) Room M205 (lunch M206)

For further details and to reserve a place, please contact Linda Clarke.

This regular monthly seminar is about the implications of climate change for work, labour and the trade unions. Fred Steward from the Policy Studies Institute will set a framework for addressing the green economy, labour and governance issues, including the benefits for workers and workplaces of the green policy shift. Paul Hampton from the Fire Brigades Union will examine the response by trade unions in the UK to climate change for over 25 years and the debates, conflicts and contradictions existing between competing union views, including on coal and aviation. He will question how unions frame climate politics, how far they have really engaged with (or accommodated to) the dominant climate politics and to what extent they have articulated their own independent and innovative conception.

The presentations from Fred and Paul will be followed by a panel discussion, including:

  • Graham Petersen, the Environment Co-ordinator of UCU which works closely with the NUS and People & Planet on campaigns in the education sector e.g. on  divestment from fossil fuels as part of an alternative energy strategy
  • Sarah Pearce from UNISON, who was the TUC’s Green Workplaces Project Leader from 2008–2011, supporting union branches to organise and negotiate on environmental issues in the workplace, and is now editor of the TUC’s Green Workplaces Newsletter and setting up a European Green Workplaces Network;
  • Igor Diaz and Jairo Quiroz, officials from the Columbian coal miners’ union Sintracarbon, which organises miners at the Cerrejon coal mine, is working in solidarity with local communities near the mine to resist its expansion, and is starting to engage with issues of climate change.
  • Christine Haigh from Global Justice which links up with unions championing energy democracy.

This seminar is an opportunity to air and discuss these issues in an open forum and consider their implications for industrial relations. Anyone interested is welcome to attend this event. Do also feel free to distribute yourselves. These meetings can be full though so, if you would like to attend and to help forecast catering provision, please contact: Professor Linda Clarke or 020350 66528.

I don't know about you, but I would be fascinated to hear from the Colombian trade unionists about their campaign to stop their members' place of work from growing. Is this a way to try to keep wages high?

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Reader Comments (41)

Presumably they invite Colombian coalminers because they can't find any in the UK?

Or is it just because they espouse the right doctrines?

Apr 7, 2015 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Who will tell the Columbians they're the ones filling up the death trains?

Apr 7, 2015 at 8:14 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

"not to be missed" ..very sarcastic
..you'll need a box of blood pressure tablets ..if you are rational

Apr 7, 2015 at 8:32 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

We are invited to book early "to help forecast catering provision". I think that using the best, and most up to date information available, to make a forecast, is a brilliant idea. I wonder if it will catch on, in climate science?

Apr 7, 2015 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

My goodness, there's a whole different world out there, glad I'm not in it, esconced as I am in Cream Tea Country! I wonder just how much taxpayers' cash is mixed up in that little lot, as I dare say it is somewhere down the line!!!

Apr 7, 2015 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Will they be employing real-time translation services? 'Cos wtf is:

prisoners of neoliberalism or swords of climate justice?
supposed to mean?

Apr 7, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Pure Agenda 21 driven claptrap from beginning to end I imagine.

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward


Followed by round table discussion on what trade unions can do with Sarah Pearce (Unison), Graham Petersen (UCU), Igor Diaz and Jairo Quiroz from the Columbian coal miners’ union SINTRACARBON, and Christine Haigh from Global Justice.

I'm tempted to go just to find out what they intend to do with that lot and why.

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaptain Fatty

Hopefully the fire brigade union will turn up
If they can find time away from their second jobs

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Boeing just PATENTED a laser PLASMA SHIELD [1], that Washington Post asked [2] and may AVERT electro-volcanic [3] and other electric disasters, such an expected new Carrington event, as the July 2012 near-miss disaster, that NASA [4] and even Fmr CIA Director constantly warns about!!! [5]
1. http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/23/boeing-plasma-shield/
2. “create a SHIELD that powers up or powers down anytime NASA’s early-warning system detects unusual activity.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/07/31/extreme-solar-storms-spark-a-need-for-innovation/
3. Based on the diversion of atmosphere-magma stimulating cosmic rays' electricity, as we do with spacecrafts and satellites:
"Explosive volcanic eruptions triggered by cosmic rays: Volcano as a bubble chamber" - Ebisuzaki et al www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1342937X10001966
4. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/23jul_superstorm/
5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBfALe8X9C8

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRepel Damocles swords

kellydown on Apr 7, 2015 at 8:10 AM

Are not these people absent from the meeting, or is there a comma missing?

"Followed by round table discussion on what trade unions can do[,] with Sarah Pearce (Unison), Graham Petersen (UCU), Igor Diaz and Jairo Quiroz from the Columbian coal miners’ union SINTRACARBON, and Christine Haigh from Global Justice."

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

An old fashion 'beer and sandwiches ' meeting of the comrades , but would anyone care to tell me the scientific principle behind 'social justice ' that is if anyone can define what it actually means .

Meanwhile at the Guardian they have hit a 'hilarity high point ' has they have written an article about what climate 'science' from religion about selling the message .
And its hilarious in two ways , one its hard see what new they could learn given they already take a religions approach in regarding 'strength of faith' to be more important that 'strength of data' and secondly despite this they are ,ironical, constant denial about this so you would have thought going down this route would be the last thing they do.

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Wow! A Colombian trade unionist against helping his company expand and grow! Unbelievable.

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSankara

I'm somewhat curious to know what:

energy democracy

is supposed to mean.

Is it only the wind turbines and solar panels that will be accorded the vote in this brave new world envisioned by Christine Haigh and her cohorts at Global Justice*?!

*Evidently this is really "Global Justice Now" (which used to be the "World Development Movement")

Apr 7, 2015 at 11:20 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Who or what the hell is "Global Justice Now"? A bunch of shouty fools whose objective is to make everyone equally poor I expect. They have a marvelous event on 21st April when there will apparently be a talk about Latin Americá's social movements. Will they be talking about the socialist paradise of Venezuela I wonder?

http://www.globaljustice.org.uk/events/until-rulers-obey

Apr 7, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Apr 7, 2015 at 11:20 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

I think in this context there are parallels between "energy democracy" and all those former communist "democratic republics". It means the retards at the top of the tree can impose on the rest of us forms of energy which are more expensive and less reliable than those we have benefitted from for the last 100+ years, all in the name of CAGW orthodoxy, and in accordance with the latest 5-year plan. 'Success' can then be measured against the quotas set out in the plan, and the retards can wallow in their own self-righteousness.

Apr 7, 2015 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Graham Petersen, the Environment Co-ordinator of UCU which works closely with the NUS and People & Planet on campaigns in the education sector e.g. on divestment from fossil fuels as part of an alternative energy strategy
Sarah Pearce from UNISON, who was the TUC’s Green Workplaces Project Leader from 2008–2011, supporting union branches to organise and negotiate on environmental issues in the workplace, and is now editor of the TUC’s Green Workplaces Newsletter and setting up a European Green Workplaces Network;
Igor Diaz and Jairo Quiroz, officials from the Columbian coal miners’ union Sintracarbon, which organises miners at the Cerrejon coal mine, is working in solidarity with local communities near the mine to resist its expansion, and is starting to engage with issues of climate change.
Christine Haigh from Global Justice which links up with unions championing energy democracy.

Do any of the above have or ever had a proper job of work?

Apr 7, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

"Do any of the above have, or have ever had, a proper job of work?"
Yet another 'QTWTAIN!'

Apr 7, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterOswald Thake

According to the Center for Social Inclusion:

What is Energy Democracy?

Imagine a community of farmers in the heartland harnessing the wind for clean, reliable power or an urban neighborhood generating solar energy in a public space that feeds the energy needs of a whole neighborhood. This is a future that is possible today. It’s a future of people coming together, solving local, national and global problems. We call this Energy Democracy and it produces solutions for everyone.
Energy democracy means that community residents are innovators, planners, and decision-makers on how to use and create energy that is local and renewable. By making our energy solutions more democratic, we can make places environmentally healthier, reduce mounting energy costs so that families can take better care of their needs, and help stem the tide of climate change.

I was expecting more along the lines of "From each according to their means to each according to their needs, after the UN's cut."

Apr 7, 2015 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Dunford

I presume the miners will be taking part in the discussion using Skype so that they don't have to fly all the way from South America. Cos if they are at the meeting in person that makes them hypocritical twits on a jolly to London. Also, who would be paying for their airfares?

Apr 7, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

Peter Dunford thank you for thar explanation about Energy Democracy.

It would appear that when the sun does not shine, and the wind does not blow, Energy Democracy will be ruled by those with the biggest generators. Unless of course whole communities, pooled their money, and bought one big genset.

It could then be like lots of mini community 'grids', similar to the National Grid, and central energy generation, but not as economic, nor efficient, nor reliable, and quite probably more pollutiing aswell.

This sounds like one of the red/green progressives, better ideas.

Apr 7, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Has anybody worked out why people would want to mine coal, if nobody is allowed to burn it?

Unless the miners need a reliable source of power to operate the mine shaft lifts, supply hot water for the showers etc. If they are going to need electricity all the time, they could sell any surplus to the local community. With a bit of imagination, you could create an industry, mining coal, to make electricity.

I wonder if anyone has thought of this. Think of the economies and efficiencies, if you did this on a large scale., you might even be able to run an industrial economy around coal mining and electricity generation.

Apr 7, 2015 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

'Energy Democracy' sounds like the first step toward ensuring that we all burn our bullocks' dung to cook with, and if we want anything more we cart bushels of crops to the Lord's castle to beg for a few minutes of his diesel generator.

Apr 7, 2015 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

Peter Dunford,

Thanks for the info about the ridiculous "Energy Democracy". I loved your comment about the UN taking a cut :)
I've got an image of a huge argument starting in a 'solar powered' neighbourhood when some guy decides to fire up his home welder to work on his kit car one night and drains all the power that had been stored in the 'Community Batteries' that were needed for when the sun's not shining.

Apr 7, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

You have to wonder if the union isn't being sponsored by the local coca growers' monopoly, with special implants from the Coghui.

Apr 7, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Excelent heads up- Tracking the metasis of climate reactionary thinking into so many aspects of life is important.
typo alert: "Colombia" is the proper spellilng of the nation "Colombia", not "Columbia". (yes, I of all posters should not be a spelling cop, but my family is mostly Colombian and they care about these things).

Apr 7, 2015 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunterter

Peter Dunford
"Imagine ... an urban neighborhood generating solar energy in a public space that feeds the energy needs of a whole neighborhood."

So let's imagine Hyde Park covered with entirely with solar panels. The total area of the park is 142 ha so if a solar panel can produce 1 kWh per square meter per day (assuming 5 hours of sunlight) these would generate 1.42 GWh of electricity per day. The urban neighborhood in this case is the borough of Westminster which uses 8,692 KWh per day.

So imagine losing a major amenity like Hyde Park to produce less than 0.2% of the neighborhood's electricity.

Apr 7, 2015 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon

Don't be silly, Westminster won't have to rely on renewables, the "clean", intermittent power is for the peasants. The elite will never want for reliable electricity, you can be sure of that.

Apr 7, 2015 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

@ Ron: "(assuming 5 hours of sunlight)" - yeah right - more like assuming that you can economically employ an army of cleaners to keep 142 ha of panels clear of pigeon poo for long enough for them to absorb 5 hours of sunlight.

Apr 7, 2015 at 7:42 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Golf Charlie - there's an application in for one of these 'community projects' up here. It's been dragging on since 2011 and started off as 2 turbines with a combined TIC of 1.25 kW (ish), now down to a single turbine of 500 kW.

Despite that, those behind the scheme reckon it will power 240 homes, cover the £1.5 million construction cost, and provide a healthy dividend for the backers. It seems a greenies and their money are easily parted........

Apr 7, 2015 at 8:53 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian, it won't be the Greenies parting with a single penny. It will be tax payer funded grants and subsidies, marketed as Green taxes on electricity bills.

Apr 7, 2015 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@Salopian:

...now down to a single turbine of 500 kW.
Isn't that something to do with what Philip Bratby discovered: the FiTs for wind turbines derated to under 500 kW are greater than those above that figure?

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

@Ron:

[assuming 5 hours of sunlight] these would generate 1.42 GWh of electricity per day.
Nope. Only for five hours, surely. They don't give anything for the other 19. Anyway, I think your numbers are a tad out: 8,692 KWh per day is 8.7 MWhrs - slightly less than the 1.42GWhrs your panels 'could' generate (for five hours).

However, whichever way you look at it I figure it's a wonderful idea - for demonstrating how stoopid government can be if they even thought this was possible.

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

@ Harry Passfield:

I don't think so. The original proposal was for two turbines, one 500 kW and one larger. When they realised it was a no hoper, they just dropped the bigger turbine and put in an application for the single 500kW turbine. No mention of derating, but they haven't actually specified an actual model yet.

Apr 7, 2015 at 10:37 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

My father was an apprentice with the Teignmouth Electricity Co in the 1920s. They had a DC supply using two ex German U boat diesel generators that charged a battery for night use. One summer there was a recital of the 1812 on the front with fireworks etc and to heighten the effect the producer switched off the lights. The person in charge of the generators thought that was it, changed over, shut down the diesels and went home. They then switched all the lights on and the whole town went dark.

Apr 7, 2015 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterChrisM

Harry Passfield and Salopian

It would be easier and cheaper, to have a fake windmill, that is known not to generate anything more than oohs and aahhs from Green Luvvies, and leave the properties connected to the grid.

If they were known not to generate anything, the windmills could be used as May poles, for dancing, and if arranged carefully, even celebrate the solstices, with fake druids, and hence relieve traffic jams near stonehenge.

Birds killed, of all species, could then be turned into 'Ye Olde Country Pies' and flogged off as traditional 'fayre' served in honour of the wind of god, to gullible tourists, and in trendy city eateries.

All of this could be achieved, without compromising electrical supplies.

Apr 7, 2015 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@Peter Dunford: Indeed - even though you seem to have got your units mixed up.

It would be a bit like a stage show I saw once which was allegedly being powered by a line of bicycles mounted on stands and turning their dynamos, on which members of the audience were invited to take a turn. At a guess there was 20-30kW of lighting on the stage - probably 1000 times the power being generated, and it was noticeable that nothing dimmed even when the bicycles slowed down or stopped for a "shift change". I suppose there were a few primary school teachers and Labour activists who believed it all; there's always some mug.

Apr 8, 2015 at 8:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

What is climate justice? Is it a human right? Will our judges decide what weather we should have? Who will be put on trial if the weather does not do what it is told?

Apr 8, 2015 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

@Roy The Climate Change Dispatch have a new essay on the U.S Left's Perverse Climate “Morality

Apr 8, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

From believe it or not http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Colombia_and_coal

So the government want to nearly double coal output in 5 years. how many jobs will that create. Trouble is 30 odd years ago the same sort of lefties that are involved in this project would have been marching with Arthur Scargill.

Colombia is the world's tenth largest producer of hard coals and the fourth largest exporter of coal, based on 2009 data The U.S. Geological Survey states that Colombia is the largest coal producer in South America and has the largest reserves in the region. It also states that coal mining for export is booming in Colombia, with production having increased by 80% since 1999.

Coal output in 2010 stood at 74.35 million tons, a 2% increase from 2009 but below the government's target of 80 million tons, reportedly due to unusually heavy rains in the last months of the year. Colombia's total coal exports for 2010 came in at 68.14 million tons. Carlos Rodado, Colombia's mining minister, has said coal output will reach 144 million tons in 2020

Apr 8, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrianJay

When Hilary Benn was DEFRA minister in the last Labour government, he was a member of the The Socialist International Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which was created in 2007. The first meeting was held at 10 Downing St, in November 2007, hosted by PM Gordon Brown.

Labour's energy policy can be found here, written before Copenhagen:

"From a High Carbon Economy to a Low Carbon Society"
http://www.socialistinternational.org/viewArticle.cfm?ArticleID=2032

"There is no longer the slightest doubt that greenhouse gas emissions have to be radically reduced to ensure that ongoing climate change does not descend into catastrophic climate disruption, threatening the delicate balance that makes human life on this planet possible.

No less a priority is to devise and carry out a global programme for adapting to the already inevitable consequences of climate change, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable people of this world who even now, in what can best be described as climate injustice, are suffering the most amidst accelerating changes to the Earth’s biosphere for which they are the least responsible, including increasingly extreme and volatile weather patterns, drought, desertification and rising sea levels."

Apr 8, 2015 at 6:46 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

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