Tag Archives: Bill Butterworth

Rainfall down 46%

Suffolk now. Just wait.

The latest UK government climate change predictions, UKCP18, found British summer temperatures could be 5.4°C higher by 2070 while average rainfall is expected to fall by 47% over the same period. Sea level rise is likely to be around 1.15m in the Thames Estuary by 2100.

Recycling most urban wastes to farm land, reducing the use of manufactured fertilisers, particularly Nitrogen (manufacture has s very high energy cost) can raise yields, reduces irrigation need, reduce crop disease and lock up Carbon.  And the green leaf takes Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and gives us Oxygen back! Only farming can do this.  Far from being difficult with regulation, our children will not forgive us if we do not actively promote and enable this.  No just nice words, real action to enable is necessary.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd  30 November 2018

P.S.  Also see “Reversing Global Warming for Profit”, published by MX Publishing.

Cities must go up, not outwards

This building land was, a few months before this picture was taken, productive farmland. Instead, we will import a bit more food and have a bit more national debt which our kids will probably fail to pay off.

Compact cities produce fewer emissions than urban sprawl because they tend to offer better access to public transit and cycling and walking paths, have greater energy efficiency, have lower environmental costs for infrastructure, and allow for more green spaces. It is more expensive to construct and operate infrastructure that services sprawling communities than it is to serve compact ones (i.e. built upwards). According to the World Recourse Institute, one estimate suggests that a more compact approach to urban growth could reduce global infrastructure capital requirements by more than $3 trillion between 2015 and 2030.  Building upwards can be socially difficult and unsafe but, with good design, it can also be socially beneficial and safer than urban sprawl/

Also, productive farm land is shrinking.  Common sense inescapably says stop building on farm land, build upwards and limit population growth.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 22 November 18


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

Drug residues in rivers

Small amounts of drugs in our drinking water, built up through the food chain, may explain many a malaise of our society, including transgender growth, depression and many others. Maybe not? Nevertheless, it can;t be good.

Researchers in Australia have detected 69 medications in small aquatic creatures in rivers. The residues identified included antidepressants, painkillers, antibiotics, and blood pressure-lowering agents. The highest levels were found in insects near wastewater plants, but low levels were also detected in those from more pristine areas.  There is a food-chain effect with river-borne pharmaceuticals most likely to accumulate in flies and beetles while they are underwater larvae, then transfer to spiders that feed on them after they emerge as adults, and, of course, on upwards into their predators like fish, platypuses, birds, bats and frogs.  Eventually, no doubt, into humans.

How to stop this?  Well, firstly to reduce the use of drugs to what is strictly necessary.  Secondly, by increasing aerobic digestion in waste water treatment works.  Carefully controlled composting can crack these molecules.  There are now new digestion processes developing.  On the scale required, only farmers can do this.


For more detail, go to https://www.newscientist.com/article/2184420-more-than-60-prescription-drugs-are-getting-into-river-foodchains/

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 11 November ‘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


Ethics, regulations and enablement

Life is made up of compromises. How do we balance over-population, care of the environment, regulation and making a profit, to pay taxes, to pay got government, to make regulations?

Listeners to BBC Radio 4 on the morning of 25 Oct 18 would have heard Melvin Bragg discussing, with some very eloquent and informed people, the book “Fable of the Bees” by Bernard Mandeville, published 1714.  The book argues that it is not possible to be ethical and commercially successful. The historian, Jane Marshall, argues that empires always regulate, over regulate and end up destroying themselves. Many large waste producers in the EU, including the UK, survive the costs and delays caused by over-regulation by “avoidance”,  (or is it “evasion”). What we have does not work and can be argued to be counter-productive on all counts. If the economy and the environment are to survive, we need a root and branch review which will give controlled enablement.  Possibly, self-regulation by licensing might work.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 4 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