Category Archives: Climate change

Global Warming -farming-recycling

 

Jet contrails do produce “global dimming” which reduces global warming but, in the process, produce enormous amounts of CO2. That can be removed in enormous quantities actually quite easily.

 

In the 24 June issue of New Scientist, Ed Hawkins, University of Reading, UK, and Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, both are quoted as observing that we really do need, urgently, to invent a way to remove Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a huge scale.

The classic way of solving a problem is to find a mirror image problem and put the two together.  Link farming (globally we need more food) and urban waste production (as global population and wealth rise, we get more unban waste) in the right way and that could deliver the invention. Well, we already have it and it has been done and on a scale that could be applied globally.

Search https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Sustainable-Energy-Wastes-Shale/dp/1523264217 The Carbon dioxide bit starts at page 45.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 6 August 17

Global Warming can be arrested.

 

Ferguson and Conservation Agriculture

Ferguson was a revolution which will always be part of production on the land. However, there are opportunities to add new dimensions.

There is no doubt that Sir Harry Ferguson’s invention of the farm tractor 3-point linkage, which gave weight transfer off the cultivation tool down the top link onto the driving wheels of the tractor, revolutionised world farming and has saved many millions of the human race, including ourselves in the West, from starvation. There is no doubt that it is still relevant.

Nevertheless, we have moved on into an era where we need less damage to soil structure, less nutrient loss to ground water, less energy use, less pressure on climate change. And more food to feed a rocketing population.

Quite simply, we need to recycle urban waste to land and use zero till wherever feasible. To do this, another step in tractor development is now a marketing opportunity. Back in the1970’s, I published an article in the then journal “Big Farm Management” which predicted that the global tractor market would split into 5 roughly equal sectors; (i) mid-range, Ferguson design “maid of all work”, (i)  similar but small, up to 30 horse power, (iii) very large over 150 hp and moving to tracked, rather than wheeled, (iv) MHT’s – materials handling tractors, mainly telescopic loaders, and (v) HST’s – High Speed Transport tractors; lighter-weight, transport tractors equipped with PTO and capable of field work.

That prophesy has turned out as predicted for the first 4 categories.  Now, the need to move to conservation agriculture and zero-till, makes the move to this last category of lighter weight, transport-capable, versatile tractors,  over-due and a real opportunity for the tractor trade to supply emerging trends on conservation coupled to more efficient production.

Land Research Ltd, 14 April 2017

Survival

 

Global warming is destroying food production in central Africa. We had better be careful.

The news reports of starvation in central Africa are pitiful. But this is a picture of the human race not paying attention to its future. The devastation will not stop in central Africa unless we are much more active in heading off the crisis and it is not just a question of sending a bit of cash and feeding a few people.  Logically (this will sound awful and it is), we should abandon the area (we will do that of course). We need to put our own house in order. Produce food at home right here in the UK whenever possible.  Do it with much less energy. Stop building on farm land. Wind up production using wastes rather than fertilisers made using energy.

Remember one figure and think about it.  1 tonne of Nitrogen fertiliser (say 3 tonnes of ammonium nitrate) made in a modern, relatively efficient, USA factory, according to UN sponsored research, takes 21,000 KW hours of electricity to make it and deliver it.

We urgently need to change the way we do things and value farming and our future.

 

Bill Butterworth,   Land Research Ltd,   March 2017

Dial 105

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Will the lights go out? What happens if they do?

There is an advertisement on at least one commercial radio station inviting us to dial 105 if we have a power cut. This implies that not only does the establishment know we are on the edge of power cuts on a large scale but they want us to prepare for it.  Now, I have colleagues who know far more about the national grid power supply than I do and they are quite certain that we are close to significant power cuts and, if all the relevant strains come on at once in a cold spell, then we may get a national shut down.  If we do, they some will be off for days rather than hours.  It will be inconvenient for most of us, will be very expensive for industry and cost lives.

Whatever we ought to do in terms of renewable power, the truth is that the quickest way, and lowest cost, to secure our power supply is to build gas-fired power stations. Other than nuclear (of which many of us have some reservations), gas is an almost totally clean burn. We area standing on enormous reserves of gas.  What does common sense tell us?

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 1 January 2017

Hydro at Lynmouth

 

Some will remember the flood of Lynmouth in 1952 in which 34 people died.  Lynmouth, however, has a much more positive contribution to world power history.   In 1890, a small scale hydro-power system was built in the gorge above Lymouth and it was the first in the world to provide pump-back storage at the top to provide a reserve of water to produce power at peak demand. In 1987, a 500m long, 500mm diameter pipe with a 77m head was commissioned to drive a 300kW turbine. Since, the feed pipe diameter has been increased to 700mm and two more turbines. The organisers want to expand further and, to our national shame, get political prevarication and ignorance from the authorities. The truth is that hydro here lives quite satisfactorily with an SSSI and a very pretty area of natural beauty of significant tourist attraction and an example to the rest of the world. Hydro is one of the answers to reducing global warming and we need more urgently, very urgently.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd., 10 November 2016

Flash-flooding and survival

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Flash flooding will happen more often because of population density increases, consequential building and hard-surface increases and global warming.

Composts will absorb and hold between 5 and 16 times their own weight of water.  That might be useful in creating jobs in upland composting in Cumbria, Lancashire, and anywhere in the upland catchment areas for any of our rivers running through urban areas, including London.

“Survival – Sustainable Energy, Wastes, Shale Gas and The Land” by Bill Butterworth, published by Land Research, has just been released and is available in paperback from good bookshops or Amazon on the web as paperback (at around £10) or electronic version (at only £2.46) for computer or Kindle.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 10 July 2016

The circular economy: 5. Not as clever as we might think

 

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Working from the bottom upwards; The earth beneath our feet is complex, we are in the early stages of developing energy sources which are not only “renewable” but also sustainable. Now look at the sky; think how much energy is needed to evaporate enough water to form a single cloud.

The science: The problem with ignorance is that it does not know what it does not know. Whatever we might think, the global biosphere is very complex.  Think of the super-computers that are now being used to try to forecast the weather in the UK – not very easy because weather systems are very complex, global and involve enormous amounts of energy and atmospheric gases.

The bad news: When ice melts at the polar icecaps, sea levels rise on low level islands and people lose their homes or drown. As we produce more Carbon dioxide, coral reefs die. By the way, the Thames barrage is just about on its limit; if the wrong combination of moon (tides) and wind occurs, it may not be high enough – will not soon but we do not know exactly when.

The good news: I remain optimistic about our technological ability to slow down and hold the decline.  There is some progress. What I am less optimistic about is whether our politicians, who because of democracy are inevitably interested in the next election,  will do enough, fast enough – because it will involve some tough decisions.

Bill Butterworth 12th March 2016

PS If you are a gardener, try reading “How garden composting works” published by MX Publishing and set your garden soil alive.