'Terramarès scientists played a key role in the development and acceptance of the Precautionary Principle in international conventions.'
Planning for Climate Change
My interest in integrated approaches to planning for climate change led to the Countryside Commission commissioning a review of climate impacts science and its relevance to countryside policies and programmes (1996). My report was followed by working seminars within the Commission and the development of concepts for 'no regrets' strategies and robustness of natural and man-made ecosystems. This work led to consultancies relating to the Commission’s input to UK government consultations on climate change (DETR, 1999) and review of OECD consultation documents (1996). Issues of climate change and the integration of other factors such as demographic shifts, population growth, housing and countryside conservation were also important in a recent review of the Countryside Agency's programmes in relation to government water policy.
In 2000, I carried out a pilot study with the Agency to assess the potential of virtual reality software as a visualizing tool for the impact of renewable energy in the English landscape. This work has been widely used in the work of the Agency, particular with regard to policy on wind turbines. I was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Community Renewable Initiatives, a joint initiative of the Countryside Agency and the DTI.
In 2003, I presented material relating to adaptation to climate change to inter-agency seminars involving the Environment Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, English Nature and the Countryside Council for Wales – arguing for integrated strategies of land use wherein carbon sequestration, organic agriculture, reforestation and re-introduction of wildlife can bring both ecological and economic benefits.
In 2005 I began a review of climate science with the object of assessing time constraints on integrating sustainable biodiversity and rural community objectives with renewable energy strategies. In 2008 an Ethos Climate Science Report was available for download on the Ethos site. The Report demonstrated a considerable lack of consensus on key elements of climate science – in particular the percentage natural component driving change, which I estimated could be as high as 80%, with considerable policy implications. In the absence of serious discussion within the conservation community, the report formed the basis of a book – Chill: a reassessment of global warming theory published in July, 2009.
The book was endorsed by my former colleague in UN anti-pollution work, Prof. W. Jackson Davis, who was a drafting author of the Kyoto Protocol and delegate to the UN Framework Climate Convention on behalf of the government of Nauru. In 2010, Professor Davis and I began collaboration on climate science analysis and I became a board member of the Environmental Studies Institute in Boulder, Colorado. ESI has a long history of distinguished environmental science and active policy work.
The protection, enhancement and ecological restoration of wild land areas in Britain
In 1992, after leaving Oxford and full-time consultancy work, I founded a community reforesting initiative in Snowdonia National Park known as Coed Eryri, which aimed to restore the ecology of degraded grazing country and integrate social, cultural and economic objectives. In 2006 this work led to an invitation to present a strategy for ecological networks in Wales to a gathering of specialists, wildlife groups and government agencies sponsored by the Grazing Animals Project in Wales. And in 2010, the founding of the Welsh Wildland Foundation, of which I am a trustee. The Foundation recently received grant aid to investigate the re-introduction of beaver and development of tree nursery sites in the North Cambrians.
I have worked closely with the National Trust. In 1995, I led a seminar on wilderness issues at the Trust's Centennial Conference in Manchester, and in 1996 co-ordinated a British Association of Nature Conservationists' Conference on Wilderness at the Open University. In 1998, I was guest speaker at the Council for National Parks' conference on Design for Wilderness. In 1999, I acted as scientific consultant to the National Trust's project on enhanced protection of wilderness and delivered an invited paper on the concepts of nature conservation to the joint BANC/National Trust conference at Lancaster University. I was principle author of the National Trust's recent policy document 'A Call for the Wild'. Earthscan published my book commissioned by BANC on ‘wildland’ strategies for British nature conservation, (Beyond Conservation: a wildland strategy).
I have worked closely with the Sustainability Branch of the Countryside Commission/Agency, and the National Trust on these issues. In 1996 I gave a seminar, Managing Environmental Change, to the Diploma Course in Countryside Management at the University of London; and in 1994 lectured on sustainable development principles to the Diploma students at the Cheltenham College of Landscape Architecture. In 2006 I gave a presentation on future landscapes and climate change to an EU seminar at Exeter University. I have given the Ethos Wildlands multi-media presentation to Hadlow Agricultural College’s conservation students and to a gathering of the Welsh section of the Grazing Animals Project.
In 2005, I co-founded the Wildland Network (launched at Leeds University), creating a small co-ordinating group that organised a series of regional seminars from 2005-2008, on large-scale conservation and rewlding projects, culminating in the creation of the Wildland Research Institute at Leeds University – which holds a database on wildlland projects in the UK.
In 2010, I was elected Council Member of the British Association of Nature Conservationists.
Carbon sequestration and climate mitigation strategies
Terramarès scientists accumulated expertise in the assessment of afforestation strategies and mitigation of climate impacts. I led a review with Roger Kayes and Charlie Arden-Clarke for the CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board) in 1990, and Roger Kayes completed reviews for Greenpeace International in 1994. Professor Jackson Davis, UCA Santa Cruz, was active in the IPCC and FCCC for the South Pacific Forum, and Professor Tim Jackson was also involved in government Policy Unit reviews of energy policy, and various aspects of carbon taxes and legal frameworks of the UN Framework Climate Convention.
In 2004, I advised the Countryside Agency and the Community Renewables initiative on carbon offset programmes – which were later taken up in some measure by the DTI.
Nuclear Waste Disposal and Environmental Hazards
Although not now an area of research interest, I am occasionally asked to participate in policy developments on this issue. In July 1999, I completed a risk assessment relating to the Irish Sea for a Dublin-based legal challenge on Sellafield operations. In 1994 and 1996 Terramares scientists completed a risk assessment of high-active waste stored at Sellafield for a consortium of concerned local authorities in the UK and Ireland.
(1999) The impact upon Ireland of aerial and marine radioactive releases from potential catastrophic accidents at the Sellafield nuclear fuels reprocessing plant. McGill & Co., (for the Irish government) Dublin.
(1996) Climate change and air pollution: the implications for the work of the Countryside Commission, Countryside Commission, Cheltenham.
(1996) The effects of a crude plutonium dispersal weapon in a major population centre (with David Sumner) International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Oxford.
(1994) Critique of the International Whaling Commission’s Revised Management Plan (with Roger Kayes). Greenpeace International
(1994) Consequence Analysis of a Catastrophic Failure of Highly Active Liquid Waste Tanks Serving the THORP and Magnox Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Plants at Sellafield . Nuclear Policy and Information Unit, Manchester Town Hall.
(1991) 'Environmental Capacity and the Limits of Predictive Science: the precautionary principle in the control of hazardous substances' Paper presented to the Joint International Symposium on Hazardous Waste Management, and published in proc.symp: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency & CEC, Stockholm.
(1991) 'The Precautionary Principle and the Prevention of Ocean Pollution' Joint paper with T. Jackson, to 1st International Ocean Pollution Symposium, Puerto Rico. Published in Chemistry & Ecology.
(1990) 'Non-Governmental Organisations and International Treaties: the role of Greenpeace' Seminar series: International Politics of the Environment, Oxford University, School of International Law. Published by Clarendon Press, ed. Kingsbury & Hurrell, of that title.