Monday, 27 June 2011

Back to the Future: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2011

This report primarily relates to the US market but the UK should note the volume of the transactions traded in 2010 -  131 MtCO2e (or mega-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).  This is way ahead of anything happening elsewhere and is something we must take note of.  Links to the publications are available from the website

The report quotes that 'the future was in the forests' but this is to miss the point that in terms of carbon storage peatland is a much better, longer-lived store.  The public awareness of forestry as the answer to the carbon sequestration and storage problem is a credit to the forest industry, but I believe that the industry's pre-eminent position could look very shaky if the argument for peat is put properly.

The short Executive Summary of the main report comments on the emergence of registries as a way to provide credibility to voluntary agreements and also reports on an apparent shift away from the compliance market in favour of the voluntary market.  Is this a view of the future that we ought to be gearing up for in UK? 

Wildfire 2011 Conference, Buxton, 14-15 September 2011

Bookings are being taken for this event.  See the website.

After the busy 'wildfire season' this spring, we need to raise the profile of wildfire issues.  Attendance at this conference would give you an understanding of many technical issues and a knowledge of what is being done to promote the threat posed by wildfire.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Asulam - the latest

This is the update provided by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate, yesterday:

'Due to legal procedural technicalities, there will be a repeat of the vote on asulam at the Standing Committee’s meeting on 14-15 July. This is required because the earlier vote in May was taken under Council Directive 91/414/EEC and was not implemented before Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 came into force on 14 June. Therefore, the vote needs to be taken again under the new Regulation. This is just a technical matter and will not change the previous outcome. It does however, mean that the Appeal Committee will not convene until the autumn as the Commission more or less shuts down over the summer.'

In summary, a further stay of execution, but it serves to extend the period of uncertainty.  Defra believes that the best chance of getting any change of course is at the Appeals Committee, when political issues stand a better chance of success against the pure technical arguments.

By the way, I am first in the queue for a job with the EU, so that I can also 'more or less shutdown over the summer' - assuming we get one this year.  To quote Flanders & Swann,  'I missed it last year, I was in the bath'!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Scotland: Fighting the Silent Tide of Bracken on Mull

Picture: Scottish Farmer
See the article in The Scottish Farmer for a view of the threat that bracken poses on Mull.  This serves to emphasise the importance of keeping the ability to apply Asulam by helicopter, the most effective control method in remote areas. See the previous post on this subject.

Beltie Power?

Is substituting carbon footprints for carbon hoofprints the way forward, at the same time as making better use of our grazing livestock.  See The Scottish Farmer's Royal Highland Show edition for more.

National Ecosystems Assessment

While many people may see this as a 'big yawn' it should not be ignored.  To quote from the Foreword: 
"The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) provides a comprehensive overview of the state of the natural environment in the UK and a new way of estimating our national wealth. It shows how we have under-valued our natural resources. Valuing them properly will enable better decision making, more certain investment, new avenues to wealth creation and jobs, and greater human well-being in changing times ahead."

If you are looking for a gentle introduction to the findings of this work that has just been published I recommend Alan Spedding's Briefing that is part of his excellent RuSource series.  If this whets your appetite for more, the briefing contains a link to the Synthesis of Key Findings that has been published as part of the output from the assessment project.

Should conservation schemes pay for action or results?

See the article in Conservation Magazine that discusses a recent article published by a team from Bangor University and Imperial College London.  Is the balance between payments for action or payments for results all in the cost of monitoring?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

In support of balanced upland management

See the article in yesterday's Darlington & Stockton Times quoting Ken Lumley, the north-east regional chairman of the Tenant Farmer's Association.

There is not much to disagree with here.  Balanced upland management is a key message for the Trust, or put another way, we like to be seen to be 'promoting integrated moorland management'.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Curbing black carbon would bring dramatic, quick benefits to all

Photograph: Sang Tan/AP
See the article from The Guardian explaining this.  This might offer a route to a quick win and reduce the amount of climate change emissions that are driving 'global warming'.

PDG Helicopters fighting moorland fires May 2011

Especially for addicts of 'Apocalypse Now', here is the PDG helicopters version.

It gives a good impression of the work rate of a helicopter when there is a source of open water nearby.

Scottish Land & Estates

Welcome to Scottish Land & Estates that has been spawned from the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA) and the Scottish Estates Business Group (SEBG).  For details of the new organisation see yesterday's press release.  There are two articles in the press today that give a view on the challenges facing the new organisation:

More than just a new name..., Andrew Arbuckle in The Scotsman

Monday, 6 June 2011

Looking to the Hills - JNCC Publication

The latest and last edition of this publication can be downloaded from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's website.  There are a many good articles and reports but in particular I recommend:

  • EU review of LFA (by HT Board member Ian Condliffe) (p3) which summarises the EU-speak that surrounds the move from Less Favoured Areas to Areas with natural Handicap.
  • Crowberry dieback in Moorlands (p7) - can anyone help Penny Anderson with the search for more information.  If so, please contact Penny, but let me know as well.
  • Culling of Mountain Hares to Control Ticks (p27).  Culling hares does not necessarily lead to greater production of red grouse.
Looking to the Hills has been produced by Des Thompson and Sally Johnson at SNH for JNCC, but the Welcome explains that this publication has been sacrificed at the altar of funding and will no longer be produced.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Wildfire on the BBC

See the Moorland Forum's Blog for details of the coverage 
planned by the BBC for tomorrow (Friday, 3 June 2011)