Hands under the ocean, zero agreement on carbon and why some civil engineering projects in the developing world might be the last of their kind.

Picture of the week

Hello Hello

Is making art about climate change verboten ... ?

These mighty manmade mitts wave under the sea in the manner of fronds of seaweed, generating power. The 20m high BioWAVEs generate 250kW of power each and are part of a A$10.3m (£5m) pilot project to supply 500 houses on two Tasmanian islands with power. The Oz firm, Biopower Systems, hope to bring the product to market in the next couple of years. It also has a product, BioSTREAM, that generates energy from shifting currents modelled after mackerel / shark tails. Will they be competing for the Scottish Government's £10m Saltaire Prize?

Story of the week

The Economist reports on the uncertain fate of a little-known yet massively-funded stream called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which supplied $13 billion of funding to carbon reduction projects in the developing world. The money comes from Western governments to offset the 5% CO2 cuts over 1990 levels that they have to make under the Kyoto Protocol. To help them achieve this, they can fund ‘additional’ projects in the developing world. $59 billion worth of work has been done. But with the programme suffering from administrative turpitude, the Kyoto Protocol soon to run out, and enough projects being funded for Government’s to meet their targets, the CDM’s future is in doubt. And this seems a shame.

Animation of the week

The animation, Carbon Weevils, perhaps a pastiche on an Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin animation (think Bagpuss and the Clangers) looks dispassionately at humankind as a type of animal whose sole desire is to release CO2 into the atmosphere. It contains some very poetic and suggestive language and its science is completely up the spout. Indeed, it’s started a row on a big listserv (LocalSustUK) between those who think that the science is so messed up that it’s just confusing things more when clarity is what’s needed (and a bad thing) and those who think it is an imaginative and charming whimsy that makes no attempt to be scientific, yet drives the point home.

The pro-scientist faction recommends the following video made by a science teacher suggesting that it is not just enertaining, but also correct. Is making art about climate change verboten ...?

Quotes of the week

They are pushing the problem down the line. We need to be driving innovation, not capitulating and allow developers to buy their way out.”

Merton Rule pioneer Adrian Hewitt, objects to the Community Energy Fund levy proposal within the UKGBC’s definition of Zero Carbon launch.

Getting the building industry to pay for energy generation is like asking car makers to buy the fuel!”

Roger Humber, Home Builders Association turns motor mouth at the thought of the cost.