Category Archives: Climate change

Double Whammy from composting urban wastes

If the UK Environment Agency is serious about the environment, then it needs to ensure nearly every UK farm has a compost opertion, not on concrete.


The new blockbuster climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations makes two things startlingly clear. First, we must massively accelerate the decarbonisation of the global economy. This will require rapid system-wide transformations in the way we build our cities, generate energy, grow food and manufacture goods. And second, we must capture carbon right out of the air.

What composting of urban wastes does is to reduce and eliminate the use of mineral fertilisers. (One tonne of N made in a modern USA factory typically consumes 21,000 kWh of electricity – which was probably generated using an engine burning fossilised fuel, which produced Carbon dioxide.)  Farming also grows crops with green leaves – which take Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.  These two activities, composting urban wastes and growing green leaves, lock up organic Carbon and reduce the release of the GHG (Green House Gas) Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  What’s more, crops grown on high Carbon soils need less irrigation, less pesticide sprays, lodge less and yield more.  Only farming can do this.

Bill Butterworth,   Land Research Ltd   28 October 18

Renewable Energy; Declining Costs

Solar is getting more efficient and lower cost. Wind turbines are, in terms of energy pay-back a better bet. But we need tidal and wave power, and other renewables, too, in a balaced mix of sources.

The cost of renewable energy has declined precipitously. Between 2009 and 2014, the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules declined by 75 percent, while the cost of wind turbines dropped by 33 percent. Furthermore, the cost of residential solar PV has been declining significantly in recent years: in 2015, it was competitive with natural gas generation in India and nearly so in China. Battery storage is also becoming less expensive, which will make distributed energy even more affordable. Between 2008 and 2014, battery costs have declined 20 percent each year. (Credit to World Resources institute)

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 6 November ’18


Only farmers can do this

This Suffolk soil needed irrigation until large amounts of “urban” composts were added. See this website and go to “Articles”and click on No 6.

While attention is often focused on carbon locked up in trees, in fact, most of this carbon lies in the soil. Below ground Carbon includes an array of sources such as the root systems of trees and soil organic matter. Scientists estimate that by managing the world’s land more sustainably, such as by protecting forests and investing in reforestation, we could achieve up to 37 percent of emissions reductions necessary to limit the global rise in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius by 2030.  So, inescapably, recycle urban organic Carbon wastes to farm land by composting.

Only farmers can do this.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 31 October 8

Reversing global warming IS possible

Yes, the technology is understood to recycle more to land – safely.

In a paper cited by the World Resources Institute, a large number of prominent scientists estimate that by managing the world’s land more sustainably, such as by protecting forests and investing in reforestation, we could achieve up to 37 percent of emissions reductions necessary to limit the global rise in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius by 2030.  We could go even further by recycling urban wastes to that land through composting.

Bill Butterworth,  Land Research Ltd  20 October ‘18

Flood risk-Est Anglia-Essex-Kent

The container port at Felixstowe, and hundreds of thousands of hectares of Land in the SE have a very real flood risk BUT we are not doing what we could be doing.

What will happen in the UK eastern counties of Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Essex and Kent if we do not manage to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C?

Well, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) points out that even at 1.5, as the ice-caps melt, all low-lying land is at risk of flooding. Now, Lincolnshire produces 40% by value of UK farm output and 80 % of Lincolnshire is below sea level. By the way, we also already know that the protection offered to Landon by the Thames Barrage is on its limit and a high tide and the wind in the right direction might push over the limit.  Logically, improving sea defences in these areas might be seen as pretty important. Yet we know that in the last 12 months at least 30,000 tonnes of drilling “wastes” which could have been used to bulk up sea walls has gone elsewhere because of prevarications about UK interpretation of EU regulations.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 19 October ‘18

Reversing global warming

Only farmers can deliver this.

Only farmers can deliver the following.  According to World Bank figures, the global production of urban waste is above 2 billion tonnes and rising. My own experience of composting urban wastes suggests that, technically (if the regulators could come to terms with this) maybe 25% of that could be composted and put to farm land, and possibly more if put to forestry land. If the compost contained only 2% of each of N, P and K, then that would be 10 million tonnes of each.  One tonne of N nutrient, made in a modern USA factory, takes 21,000 kWh to make and deliver.  So, or the N alone, that would save the use of 210,000,000 kWh of electrical power generation, most of which comes from burning coal and oil.  Bearing in mind most N production in the world is several times less efficient than in the USA, and that the rest of the figures err on the side of caution, then recycling urban waste by composting to land would save probably around 1 trillion KWh pa and the associated Carbon dioxide production.  As a rough guide, that would save 350,000,000 tonnes of Carbon dioxide being pumped into out atmosphere, every year.

There is a bonus, crops grown on high organic Carbon soils need less irrigation and less crop protection sprays.  Cereal crop lodge (fall flat) less. Crops yield a little more. What we need is active, controlled enabling, not ever-increasing suppression and indifference form government.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 18 October 18


The beginning of the end

It is not impossible to turn global warming upside down.


The New Scientist this week comments on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that we have 12 years to save the planet. Interestingly, while pointing out that the evidence is overwhelming that the rise in global warming is human-made and really dangerous and already producing problems, they also argue that the evidence is that we can do something about it.

What this blog is sometimes about is that composting urban waste globally could make a real contribution to limiting and even reversing by locking up Carbon in organic matter and by reducing and eliminating the manufacture of Nitrogen fertilisers (which, according to UN-sponsored research takes 21,000 kWh to make one tonne of N nutrient – and that is in a modern and efficient USA factory).

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 16 October 18