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This Beautiful Planet – film with music

by Penny Squire

I am a 78 year old grandmother from Stroud. I compose music. I use it to accompany film in not-for-profit projects about the climate and environmental crisis.

This Beautiful Planet is a ¼-hr film with music showing some of the rich diversity of animal life that shares this planet with us. It is positive and feel-good, but with a reminder that how we live our lives affects all life on this planet. The last movement shows clips from all the previous films.
The music is performed by Distanza Quartet (formed when playing remotely for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra during lockdown).

I’m very pleased to have been featured in an article by, a wonderful volunteer organisation that raises awareness about the climate crisis, the need for immediate action, and the ways individuals can work together. The article tells the story of how I used my musical compositions to raise awareness and encourage positive change.


(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

A ‘polluter pays’ treaty to control global fossil carbon extraction – a big idea for COP26 to get talking about now

by Hugh Richards

In a little reported development, MPs from at least four parties have now expressed support for some form of ‘non-proliferation treaty’ for ‘supply-side’ control of the global extraction of fossil fuels, to complement the ‘demand-side’ approach of the Paris Agreement.

In December 2018 Sir Ed Davey (Lib Dem, now party leader) spoke in favour of the idea at the parliamentary launch of the Rapid Transition Alliance (briefly, 3 mins 40 seconds in). On 10 March 2021, during the COP26 debate in parliament, those to speak in favour of it were Sir Bernard Jenkin (Conservative), Caroline Lucas (Green) and Matthew Pennycook (Labour).

The generic concept of a ‘supply-side’ treaty on fossil carbon extraction was explored by a group of Norwegian academics in an article in Science Magazine in 2019 1 , while at the same time a UK-originated set of proposals for a “fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty” (FF-NPT) was published in the journal Climate Policy 2. The FF-NPT proposals have now become the focus of an international campaign to gather support from civil society , with a focus on cities and other local authorities, and was recently highlighted in an article in The Guardian. Already signed up are City of Barcelona, City of Vancouver, Canada, Amber Valley Borough Council, UK and Lewes Town Council, UK, while Cities of New York and Los Angeles “are currently considering motions to endorse”.

Meanwhile, another supply-side approach known as ‘Carbon Takeback Obligation’ (CTBO) has been launched, developing the ‘SAFE-carbon’ concept developed by the leading Oxford climate scientist Myles Allen and colleagues back in 2009. This proposes a country-by-country approach to imposing ‘extended producer responsibility’ on domestic producers and importers of fossil fuels. A case study for the Netherlands has been developed with funding from the Dutch government and various companies including the Norwegian energy company Equinor (formerly Statoil).

The advocates of CTBO propose it as “the ideal ‘big idea’ for the UK to lead with at COP26”. It could potentially be a mechanism within a globally effective supply-side treaty, which might include elements of the FF-NPT proposals.

On Wednesday 21 April (13:45), CTBO will be the subject of a Radio 4 programme in the series “39 Ways to Save the Planet”, entitled “Polluter Pays”, subsequently available as a podcast on BBC Sounds.

The supply-side approach to getting the global extraction of fossil carbon under control has been called “the road less taken” in a recent paper co-authored by Myles Allen 3. Starting to talk about it within climate campaigning circles and in dialogue with political representatives would make it less likely that it will be “the road never explored”, and hence “the road not taken”.

There is a very short window of opportunity to get such ideas debated and into the discourse before COP26. With cross-party support to point to in the UK, now is the time to start engaging with political representatives, for example by advocating that local authorities should follow the lead of Amber Valley and Lewes in endorsing the FF-NPT proposals.

In my opinion, the FF-NPT proposals are not without problems, as I have written in the post-script to a previous blog. However, if there is widespread support among GlosCAN Supporters, it would only help raise the profile of the supply-side approach if GlosCAN were to join Mary Robinson, and a multitude of activist organisations in adding its endorsement. So, if you want to see that happen, please let Vaughan the Secretary know at

If this seems all a bit dry and policy wonk-ish, try watching Myles Allen’s TED Talk on the homepage of Carbon Takeback. You don’t have to agree with everything he says to get the point that we need to be talking about how to control how much fossil carbon comes out of the ground, rather than just hoping that falling demand will do the trick for us.

There is clearly a diversity of attitudes to fossil fuel corporations among proponents of supply-side approaches, with the authors of the Guardian article promoting the FF-NPT proposals attacking the industry, while Myles Allen’s recent co-authors of the paper mentioned above include Shell’s David Hone. Where I think they do agree is that massive afforestation projects offered as a path to “net zero” by fossil carbon extraction industries are no substitute for secure geo-sequestration of CO2 (i.e. injecting it into deep geological formations where it will remain forever, as far as the future of humanity is concerned). As a geologist, I think the “like-for-like” principle should apply to fossil carbon: the end-game for fossil carbon industries needs to be global net zero transfer of fossil carbon from the geosphere to the atmosphere, without involving the biosphere.

If globally-effective geo-sequestration turns out to be unfeasible for reasons of practicality or cost, an effective supply-side treaty would mean that less fossil carbon can be extracted than the relevant corporations and countries currently hope. Meanwhile, afforestation should be pursued in ways that promote biodiversity and not be focused purely on near-term carbon uptake.



(Links to the articles are also in the text above.)

1. G. B. Asheim, T. Fæhn, K. Nyborg, M. Greaker, C. Hagem, B. Harstad, M. O. Hoel, D. Lund, K. E. Rosendahl, The case for a supply-side climate treaty, Science 26 Jul 2019 : 325-327

2. Peter Newell & Andrew Simms (2020) Towards a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, Climate Policy, 20:8, 1043-1054, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2019.1636759

3. Paul D. Zakkour, Wolfgang Heidug, Andrew Howard, R. Stuart Haszeldine, Myles R. Allen & David Hone (2021) Progressive supply-side policy under the Paris Agreement to enhance geological carbon storage, Climate Policy, 21:1, 63-77, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1803039


(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

A New Film

by Penny Squire

I write music. It is my way of expressing myself. 
Two years ago I became so frustrated at the lack of strong  action in dealing with climate change that I naturally expressed it in music. I wrote 5 short movements for string quartet, each depicting a different emotional reaction.
On hearing it my youngest daughter suggested I put film over it. As a 76 year old grandmother knowing nothing about film, making this seemed a ridiculous suggestion!
But I decided to give it a go. I found a group of players, the Cotswold Ensemble string quartet, and my nephew is a sound engineer and I was off. Because I was doing it as a not-for-profit enterprise I was given access to the large, excellent Greenpeace archives, and Troubled Planet was born.
I followed the story through with another film with music for brass quintet with Blackweir Brass playing and a third for string quartet again . These were about people’s actions against climate change across the world. 
For the 4th film I wanted to show examples of what was being done in Britain  and this was not highly represented in Greenpeace film, so this time I organised the film myself. Where better than the Stroud area where I knew of several possibilities. 
I called the piece A New Way, which I think most people accept is now needed. I wanted to show that a green path  is nothing to fear and our lives will be improved, and we all have a part to play in getting there. The music aims to convey this by being uplifting and positive. It is played by Distanza Quartet (formed when recording remotely for the BBC Philharmonic during lockdown).

(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

Mark the date: 12 December “COP26 Launchpad” – Time for the UK to show real global leadership

by Hugh Richards, Chair of GlosCAN

There are now just over two months in which to persuade the UK Government to come up with new climate policy initiatives befitting its self-appointed global leadership role as host to the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021.

That timescale is based on the UK Prime Minister’s announcement on 24 September that the UK will host a “virtual summit” on 12 December, billed as a “COP26 Launchpad” event. This will include a global stocktake on countries’ “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs) towards reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The context of the event will include China’s announcement on 22 September that its NDC will involve emissions peaking in 2030 and reaching net neutrality by 2060. The context will also include the USA’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and (perhaps) a known outcome of the US Presidential election. It will be a critical moment.

What will the UK be able to say on 12 December that has not already been said in the Prime Minister’s speech to the virtual UN General Assembly Climate Roundtable on 24 September? That speech did not follow the script briefed to journalists (e.g. the Daily Mail and the Guardian’s Fiona Harvey) and was delivered in an informal, “off-the-cuff” style that is difficult to quote. However, the PM did say this: “We were very very ambitious on our agenda, and we are going flat out to really blaze what we hope will be a very ambitious national contribution [i.e. NDC] for COP 26, and I do want everybody’s [i.e. other countries’ NDCs] to be similarly ambitious.”

This could be interpreted as meaning that the UK Government is contemplating an NDC that goes beyond the “net zero by 2050” commitment that has already been legislated. The political and mathematical necessity of such a change is demonstrated by China’s recent announcement. If China is not to reach net zero until 2060, “climate progressive” countries such as the UK will have to do so sooner if the goal of global net zero around 2050 is to be achievable. To retain any credibility in its leadership role ahead of COP 26, the UK must improve on its current commitment of net zero by 2050 and take immediate policy actions to get UK emissions on a trajectory towards the new target.

The need for the UK to improve on its current NDC is central to the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill introduced into Parliament in September 2020. The 12 December COP26 Launchpad event provides the UK Government with an ideal platform for responding to that challenge.

However, countries setting ambitious NDCs will not guarantee success in actually reducing global emissions of GHGs with the necessary speed. Another ambitious policy initiative that the UK could launch on 12 December would be to propose a globally effective international agreement to control and limit the extraction of fossil carbon at source. Such a “supply-side” approach has been called “the road less taken” in climate policy circles. So far, it seems to have been “the road not taken”. For the UK to submit its own fossil fuel extraction plans to such an agreement would give credibility to such a proposal.

A supply-side agreement on fossil carbon extraction would support the Paris Agreement in a number of ways (e.g. as set out in a paper in Science in 2019). Failure to participate in such an agreement, or failure of a participant to adhere to it, would become clear grounds for disinvestment and/or sanctions. Thus, a “triple lock” on the global fossil carbon budget could be secured:

  • Demand reduction through implementation of countries’ Paris Agreement NDCs
  • Supply reduction through the supply-side agreement on extraction, and
  • Disinvestment and sanctions against “rogue” unregulated extraction.

As a campaigning tool, I have written a set of talking points for the ideal speech that I would wish the PM or Alok Sharma (President of COP26) to give on 12 December (if not before). I have already shared this with my MP (Siobhan Baillie) but as she is still on maternity leave I have not yet had any response.

My hope is that the imagined speech outline will be used (and perhaps adapted) by others to engage with their MPs and that Alok Sharma and perhaps even the PM will see it or hear about it and take seriously its two main propositions:

  • To increase the ambition of the UK’s NDC (e.g. by seeking unconstrained advice from the Committee on Climate Change)
  • To initiate a “supply-side” agreement to control global extraction of fossil fuels (e.g. through the International Energy Agency).

Referenced paper: The Case for a Supply-Side Climate Treaty: The Paris Agreement can be strengthened by a treaty limiting global fossil fuel Supply. G. B. Asheim et al., Science, July 2019.

(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

Berkeley Vale Climate Action Network

by Jenny Cotterill

We held our inaugural Berkeley ValeCAN  meeting in January 2020 and having made tentative plans to engage local people with our aims, lockdown got in the way. Keeping in touch on zoom during the early months of the year, our small group decided to plan an event to reach out to our neighbours in Berkeley in a safe, socially distanced way. 

On August 1st, in Berkeley Square, we set up a small stall decorated with pictures made by children from Slimbridge Primary depicting eco-friendly activities and an option-board asking people to sticker their most serious environmental concerns from six chosen areas. We also had a collection of potted purple basil plants to give away.

It proved a really successful day, most people we approached were happy to talk to us and others crossed the road in order to do so. Single use plastic (being fuelled by added Anti-Covid masks/gloves) was the greatest  concern, followed by wishing to retain & improve local shopping. This will inform our approach to future events.

We all thoroughly enjoyed chatting to people about their environmental worries and how to start finding ways of overcoming them including joining our local group. Even better, our contact list doubled.

We are now planning to hold another stall near Slimbridge school to catch the parents as they collect their children which we hope will be equally if not more successful.

Building a Network of Local Climate Action Groups across Stroud District

by Fred Barker

Transition Stroud (TS) has been working to encourage, enable and support the setting up of community-based Climate Action Groups (CAGs) across the District. These groups have a key part to play in mobilising their local communities to reduce carbon emissions and build community resilience.

During 2019, TS organised ‘start-up’ workshops in Stroud, Dursley and Berkeley. These led to the creation of new groups, including in Dursley and Berkeley Vale. Since then, it has supported initial meetings of a range of new groups, including in Coaley, Cainscross, Minchinhampton, Stroud Town and, most recently, Brimscombe and Thrupp.

Overall, there are around 18 groups in various stages of development, covering approximately half of the District’s 52 parishes. Some are community led, some Parish Council led. Some cover a single parish, some a small cluster of parishes. This online map shows the location of groups, their geographic coverage, and how to contact them. (Click on the dot and information comes up).

TS is now planning online events to encourage new groups to form in other parts of Stroud District. If you would like to help set up a new group in your parish, please get in touch (see the e-mail address below).

TS is also committed to developing and supporting a network of local CAGs across the District. As part of this, we have convened six meetings of a district-wide CAN (Climate Action Network) Forum for representatives of local groups – since lockdown these meetings have successfully moved online. The Forum enables the sharing of information, experience and learning, and encourages collaborative working.

At recent Forum meetings we’ve focused on how local groups can emerge from lockdown. In June, we discussed ideas for practical local projects on local food growing, domestic energy efficiency, reducing the use of petrol/diesel cars; and developing local skills for community resilience. In July, we heard presentations on the District Council’s ‘Recover, Reset, and Renew’ strategy, and on Horsley CAN’s Action Plan about how to respond to the local opportunities and threats arising from the pandemic.

For further information about the network of local climate action groups contact

Fred Barker,

Transition Stroud

24 August 2020

Beautiful Earth Trilogy

by Penny Squire, composer

(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

Healing the Earth is a film that shows how people all over the world are getting together to highlight ways of reducing the carbon  footprint of human activities. The film hopes to inspire and demonstrate the many ways we can make a difference in our everyday lives. The music, composed by Penny Squire, is in 5 movements: 1) Jagged Path, 2) Glimmers of Hope, 3) Regrowth, 4) Delicate Balance, 5) Small Precious Dot.


It is the third piece in a trilogy called Beautiful Earth Trilogy, the first piece being Troubled Planet, and the second Walking With Nature. The project as a whole aims to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change, and show that it is up to us all to help prevent it.

Update – April 2020

Questions and fun activities for children to do while they are restricted by Coronavirus (COVID-19). They relate to 2 out of 3 short films about climate change called ‘Beautiful Earth Trilogy’.
It’s accessible via the menu bar at

Simply the Best? A proposal for an international protocol for a global 100% renewable energy infrastructure

– by Julian Jones, Water21

(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

This proposal for an international protocol for a 100% Renewable Energy infrastructure arose following a Stroud Transition Town showing of the film ‘Blue Heart’ in 2018, . This catalogues the ecologically & socially damaging effects of 3000 new hydropower projects in the Balkan region; many built or funded with British involvement.   Following this film showing Julian undertook to raise this with the British Hydropower Association and this presentation is the result.

All power generation types have benefits but also incur many costs, including all renewables: carbon emissions in construction & operation; thermal effects; damage to wildlife and water resources, etc.  This protocol outlines a methodology for assessing these costs and benefits on a national and regional basis to enable the most informed and transparent generation choices to be made.

See presentation :

“Julian kicked off the first session with a highly thought-provoking presentation in which he promoted the concept of an international protocol promoting hydropower as the bedrock of a universal infrastructure of renewable energy.” (BHA )

A similar protocol might be applied to Gloucestershire where over 369% of total 2011 carbon footprint was found to be feasible by Gloucestershire County Council consultants Entec.

This proposal is now being developed further within the E-Axis of the UNFC, for reporting to UNECE September 2021.


Julian is a director of Water21, a not-for-profit organisation that works with landowners and communities to develop sustainable protection against flood, drought, and public health risks in the community.

Form a climate trade union?

By Adi, 7 Feb 2020

(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

I would like to know if anyone is interested in helping to form a kind of climate trade union. 
Jot me an email back if you want to know more:
The premise/logic is as follows:
To EFFECTIVELY lever the changes needing to be taken by Government MEANS  more civil disobedience by more people is necessary (above what XR has achieved so far) . This leaves us with the challenge of:  How can protest expand without alienating support?
One idea is establishing a dedicated climate trade union. Trade unions  are a traditional format of civil disobedience but one which workers, companies and government respect, so workers can protest without fear of losing their jobs etc.
If anyone would be interested in becoming part of the core group to try to set up this Union with the government’s “certification officer” as an officially “listed” trade union, then please email me on and we will be forming a working group on this avenue. I’ve done preliminary work to make a starting point for discussion.

6 advantages (as I see it) of the Trade Union idea:

* Pre-empts crackdown on protest rights by new government (an insurance policy)
* Legitimizes people who are uncomfortable with existing form of protest , allows them to join
* Allows workers to protest without fear of losing  job (employers must allow industrial action)
* Reduces criticism that protesters don’t work/rich/on benefits etc. (“Get a job” haggles)
* Facilitates adults to join “Fridays for the Future” kids (uncomfortable joining kids otherwise)
* Make a LOCAL economic “unproductive day” – a strike – in each local area (e.g. one Friday/month to begin). Make demands upon local companies to become Carbon Neutral.

So the idea is that there is a dedicated carbon-neutral trade union (unlike wide workers’ rights remit of usual unions) to convince more companies to become carbon neutral and that the workers can join this trade union to tell their employers in a friendly way to change. BUT that’s just the soft idea behind it, the real strong point is that, if it worked as a pilot in Stroud and went nationwide, if enough people joined, the union could do a “pledge” online saying, for example: if 1 million people “pledge” then we will all not work that day. Withholding our work services can damage the economy and force government to make stronger carbon decisions. They get a legitimate day off – don’t have to go to the streets (which some people are uncomfortable with) but can sit at home and have an impact (or go on the streets or have a modern interactive Picketing event system online). The word “strike” should be replaced and I think we should coin the term “withhold” as a substitute. It avoids old triggers, conjures deliberate conscious withdrawal of a good thing – like we are the parent withdrawing and punishing the government for not behaving well enough, and we are also empowered by our choice to withdraw services to the country.


A ‘LINGO Treaty’ to control legitimately burnable fossil fuels at source?

By Hugh Richards, 16 August 2019

(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

The graphic below illustrates the brutal reality of the challenge the world faces in bringing the fossil fuel age to an end quickly enough to avert disastrous global heating.

Since 2014 I have become increasingly convinced that the necessary dramatic reductions in fossil carbon emissions could never be achieved by reducing global demand for fossil fuels, whether by carbon taxes, reducing the costs of renewable energy, emissions trading, ethical consumer choices or anything else. Surely the threats from burning fossil fuels should be limited by controlling their supply.

My ‘light-bulb moment’ on this came from reading the following statement in the book The Burning Question by Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark:
‘… for all the talk about finite resources and peak oil, scarcity is resoundingly not the problem. From the climate’s perspective, there is far too much fossil fuel. The problem, in fact, is abundance.’

So, how could legitimately burnable fossil fuels become a finite and increasingly scarce global resource?

Partly because of my employment in the nuclear industry, I saw potential parallels with the way that global stocks of fissile nuclear material are monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to limit the threats from nuclear weapons, while allowing (for better or worse) civil nuclear power to develop. I developed these thoughts in a short note entitled (perhaps unwisely) Fantasy Climate Control, not holding out much hope that such ideas were gaining any ground. In my March 2018 blog-post Carbon Bombs – A Slow-Burn Narrative I concluded by writing: ‘The notion of carbon bombs is not new … but perhaps its time has not yet come.’

I was therefore delighted when, in October 2018, Andrew Simms and Peter Newell used a Guardian Online article to float the idea of a ‘Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty’ (FF-NPT) along the lines of the 1968 nuclear NPT, and a number of major figures wrote a letter to The Guardian supporting the idea. I was furthermore pleasantly surprised when The Guardian published a letter of my own (my only one to date) also supporting the idea and adding some perspectives drawn from Fantasy Climate Control. I am grateful to Richard House (GlosCAN Steering Group member) for coordinating  the multi-signatory letter to The Guardian supporting Extinction Rebellion that I was able to refer to in my letter and thus increase its chances of publication.

I got in touch with Peter Newell (Professor of International Relations, University of Sussex) and in early July 2019 he sent me the link to a published peer-reviewed paper Towards a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty in the journal Climate Policy. Personal circumstances allowed me to write some fairly detailed (hand-written) notes in response to the paper, H-Richards-reponse-to-paper-Towards-a-FF-NPT-by-Newell-and-Simms, which I have shared with its authors, and which Vaughan Webber has also kindly uploaded to the GlosCAN website with some background, under the Bigger Picture web-pages.

Despite being hand-written (for reasons given in their Addendum), I hope these notes will stimulate discussion among people who may be engaged in developing or promoting their or other ‘supply side’ ideas about how fossil fuels could be controlled at source.

Having been encouraged to write this blog-post by Vaughan Webber (who also typed it up), my hope is that it will lead to these kinds of ideas being discussed more widely in the climate activist community. As I say in my notes on the paper, I am not sure that the phrase ‘Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty’ is the best available. Given that the acronym ‘LINGO’ has been coined (, perhaps we might soon hear:
What do we want?
A LINGO treaty!
When do we want it?



This blog-post was originally published on 16 August 2019.  It has since come to my attention that the ‘LINGO’ organisation have proposed a “Transition Treaty” (› transition-treaty).  However, I agree with Newell and Simms that there are major problems with one of LINGO’s key proposals, namely compensating potential fossil fuel producers (e.g. Ecuador in the Yasuni case) for lost revenues if reserves remain in the ground.  One senior politician who has responded to my blog-post incorrectly assumed that I was advocating such a compensation scheme, and questioned how the large sums involved could be better spent.  Perhaps I have been unwise in suggesting the phrase ‘LINGO Treaty’.

In fact, one of my main criticisms of the Newell and Simms proposals is their emphasis on the perceived need for what they call a ‘Global Transition Fund’.  No such huge supra-national financing arrangements are needed for the control of fissile nuclear material (and hence nuclear weapons proliferation), so I do not see why they should be needed to control extraction of fossil fuels. 


(Note: post-script added 31 Oct 2019.)