News from Simon Norton about Cambridgeshire Campaign for Better Transport, the Climate March 01/12 and more

1. Cambridgeshire Campaign for Better Transport is a group campaigning for sustainable transport in Cambridgeshire. It is a branch of the Campaign for Better Transport, the country's leading sustainable transport campaign covering all modes of transport on a national basis. We support the climate change campaign and in fact our most recent newsletter leads on this issue. New members of Cambs CBT are welcome and membership details, together with a newsletter archive and a large number of weblinks including many links that will be useful to people planning journeys by public transport, can be seen on the website here.

2. The Climate March will be taking place this year in London on Sat 1 Dec. It is organised by the Campaign against Climate Change and up to date details can be seen on its website. Because of the Arctic emergency (see next article) this year's Climate March, which is timed to coincide with the climate negotiations in Qatar, is probably particularly important.

3. Report of meeting organised by the Campaign against Climate Change.

On Wed 26 Sept the Campaign against Climate Change organised a meeting on the Arctic emergency. The main speaker was Cambridge's own Prof Peter Wadhams, who has explored the Arctic icecap from underneath by submarine and is in therefore in a unique position to document the crisis it faces.

We were told how, while the area of Arctic ice hadn't decreased by an alarming amount, its thickness, and therefore its volume, was now much reduced. It seems highly likely that the Arctic will be virtually ice-free at the end of the summer season by 2015 at the latest, after which the ice that builds up in the winter will be far less stable than the multi-year ice that used to predominate.

We were also told how the warmer Arctic was affecting weather patterns in the northern hemisphere, causing unusual (or, rather, hitherto unusual) heat, cold, rainfall or drought in differing areas. With the US drought leading to a significant fall in crop yields in a world where overall food security is marginal this is not something to shrug off.

So alarming is the situation that there was a widespread feeling that it was time to consider geoengineering. Prof Wadhams suggested that a harmless and possibly effective method would be to inject water vapour into the Arctic atmosphere so that clouds could screen the ocean from sunlight. Climate campaigners have tended to argue that geoengineering should be a last resort -- but the feeling was that we have now come to the last resort.

However, several things should be borne in mind. First, geoengineering will do no more than buy us a bit of time -- we should not relax in our efforts to keep emissions under control. Second, geoengineering will not be cheap. Third, geoengineering is not guaranteed to work. There must be no flinching from the fact that humanity has now embarked on an unprecedented gamble and there is every possibility that we may lose (remember "The Age of Stupid" ?).

For more information see the website of the Campaign against Climate Change -