Zhenya Usov, Russia 1994

I am back in Russia today. The snow came unexpectedly, I found a fur hat to wear, and Irena called me as I was walking the dogs: Eugenia (Zhenya Usov) has died of COVID, she said. I am back in Russia, in 1994, all day. Moscow St Petersburg, and a long drive to a lake somewhere in Finland. I am so grateful to find my record of this time, which I read now.

Moscow with Bob, Ivan Blokov

End of the unloved camper

Sold. To Zoe and Lee, who will love it, transform it and use it. Unloved from the start, for it was purchased as I rose to a gauntlet of Barry’s (you never decide immediately), regretted since, and a determination to stick with my gut. But who could not enjoy such a smooth ride and trouble free motor? As the Swiss man in Sighisoara said, your third camper will be the right one, finally. We had some good times in it, the dogs and I. Aldeburgh for the Doc fest a few times, France, Spain, Portugal with Barry recovering from Shingles.

Doing more with less

How to manage infinite growth on a finite planet. One of the greatest challenges facing humanity today is to maintain the healthy growth necessary to lift the world’s one billion people out of absolute poverty and manage the natural resources required for the well-being of nine billion people by 2050 – all while keeping environmental impacts within acceptable limits and sustaining life’s natural support system.

Two major Green schools of thought:
a. ‘green growth sceptics’ include those advocating for ‘degrowth’, ‘prosperity without growth’, ‘steady state economics’, ‘doughnut economics’ and ‘wellbeing economics’.
b. ‘green growth’ advocates who believe that the historical relationship between GDP and environmental impact can be effectively severed, through ‘decoupling’ — reducing the environmental impact associated with each pound or dollar of GDP.

How? Improving the rate of resource productivity (doing more with less) faster than the economic growth rate is the notion behind decoupling, to the extent of actually using less resources. By deploying new technologies, and shifting the nature of our consumption, they argue we can do our bit for the environment while continuing to grow GDP, even in wealthy countries.

DECOUPLING (UNEP 2014)
Growing in acceptance of way forward – The urgency for decoupling escalating resource use AND environmental degradation FROM economic growth is now widely acknowledged by policy-makers, industry leaders and civil society. Indeed, it has become a key issue in the on- going deliberations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

EG – Many decoupling technologies allow economic output to be achieved with fewer resource inputs, reducing waste and saving costs that can further expand the economy or reduce its exposure to resource risks.

However there is tittle movement – why? Needs policies to remove barriers to decoupling and intentionally promote a transition towards greater resource productivity.

Need policy proposals eg One proposal uses taxation or subsidy reduction to move resource prices upwards in line with documented increases of energy or resource productivity.

Developing countries may have a relative advantage in decoupling, because they are not so strongly locked-in by resource-intensive consumption patterns, production systems, infrastructure and institutions as in the developed world.

The FUTURE – There is growing evidence that decoupling will be one of the next big opportunities for innovation, wise use of resources, and thus for continued economic development. Policymakers along with corporate leaders with vision and an understanding of political realities can take significant steps to benefit from future resource trends and decoupling opportunities.

IMPLEMENTATION Improving the rate of resource productivity (doing more with less) faster than the economic growth rate is the notion behind decoupling, to the extent of actually using less resources.
That goal, however, demands an urgent rethink of the links between resource use and economic prosperity, buttressed by a massive investment in technological, financial and social innovation, to at least stabilise and ultimately reduce per capita consumption in wealthy countries and help developing nations follow a more sustainable path.

BAD NEWS

  • Worldwide use of natural resources has accelerated causing severe environmental damage and depletion of natural resources. Annual material extraction grew by a factor of eight through the twentieth century.
  • The use of resources, such as freshwater, land and soil has transgressed sustainable levels.
  • Population growth and the increase in incomes continue to rise. More than 3 billion people are expected to enjoy “middle class” income levels in the next twenty years, compared to 1.8 billion today.
  • The volatility of food prices, for example, increased to 22.4 per cent in 2000-2012 compared to 7.7 per cent in the previous decade.
  • Placing the world’s environmental resources – such as water, biomass, fish stocks and ecosystems – under too much stress can lead to sudden, non-linear collapse. Over- mining has led to a decline in average ore grades for several key metals, such as copper, gold and tin. As a result, three times as much resources and materials needs to be moved for the same quantity of metal extraction as a century ago.

Trump messy end

Social media gang up against trump. 8 days to go. Comparisons of police on Black Lives Matter and storm of Washington is stark.

7 days to go The House voted to impeach President Trump for the second time – The resolution passed 232 to 197 including 10 republicans. Pelosy had the delightful privilege to announce today

Vaccinations

mRNA vaccinations

Usually vaccines come from a made safe virus, or surface protein piece of it.
The mRNA makes a code for a piece of that spike of protein, injected into the human, code into the cells, which is a blue print to make these spike proteins, provokes the normal immune response.
Antibodies, small protein molecules, produced by immune cells called B cells (live in spleen and bone marrow). B Cells secrete antibodies when exposed to virus. T cells can kill virus, two types, T Helpers, like conductors, and CDA cells actively kill the virus cells. Other cells …. All bits of immune system work together. Short lived and long lived cells, like different batteries, short sharp need and longer need.

Can it insert itself into our genome?
No only specific to this job, and specific set of instructions. Considered to be very safe.

Rolling out: Rather than having to grow a virus, this can be done in a lab, shorter simpler process. However, -80 degrees is challenging. 50 million

Risk: 90% efficacy. Case Control 45,000. Of those 94 got Covid. Of those 90% had had the placibo, only 10% had the active vaccine, and got sick. Very surprised. Usually around 40-60% efficacy. Malaria 50-60%.

How will it spread around the world?
COVAX initiative wealthy countries securing for themselves and less wealthy states.

How long will the immunity last?
Long lived B cells. What happens to them in COVID? At the moment we know they last for 6 months. Prediction bassed on other models, other virus behaviour, is that there will be some long lived B cells. However COVID goes deeper into our system than the more common Coronaviruses, deep into our bronchial. SARS COVID 2 the virus that causes the COVID19, potentially has a poor long term response.

Differences in ethnic groups? There is a lot of genetic variation in immune responses, some of those differences have geographical genetic make ups. So far no direct links to ethnic groups.

Age related? Our ability to make a completely new response does decline as you get older. We are also less good at controlling inflammation.

Is the vaccine preventing us from getting or symptoms?
Too complicated to test for this. The driver is now is to stop people dying, then we can begin to see if there is a reduction in virus transmission.

Vaccinate gaps

Delay between 2 doses from 3 to 12 weeks. Pfizer objected. We are taking a punt.
Purpose of 2 vaccines: First time your immune system meets the vaccine it gets turned on, and lays down immune memory. Second time, does fancier stuff.
Consequences of shifting 3 to 12 weeks. The Oxford original trial included gaps in dosing, which found no difference in efficacy between these gaps, but unpublished gives a longer gap gives more efficacy. With Pfizer Biotech protocol was very clear 3 week gap. There is no other data.

Oxford and Pfizer do the same, but come from very different technologies. Pathway would be different.

Argument – needs must, rather than be perfectionist. Better to vaccinate double the people rather than half with full with full protection. After one dose at least some efficacy, 86%. We do not have the data to say it wouldn’t impact the efficacy. Best on best guess. Unlikely that the response would wane dramatically in the longer time. How many lives will we save? Efficacy – what are we measuring, a limitation of symptomatic disease? a limitation of death? But long COVID community says we are still open to this long legacy.

After a few early blips, the UK has done well in vaccine roll out. Let’s hope plenty of vaccine coming through, don’t let squabble undermine. Grab any vaccine offered under any protocol. Amazing how quickly trials worked out. Hope for high uptake.

Difference between Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford, Sputnik vaccines

Oxford-AstraZeneca
Between Oxford University and AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical company based in Cambridge. November announced efficacy 70.4 per cent, (90 per cent in one dosing regimen, and 62 per cent in the other). Over 24,000 participants UK, Brazil and South Africa. (Further trials will include 60,000 participants from the United States, Kenya, Japan and India.)
Design: The vaccine is a genetically altered adenovirus that usually causes the common cold in chimpanzees but has been tweaked to carry the blueprints for part of the coronavirus known as the spike protein. When the vaccine enters the body it uses this genetic code to produce the surface spike protein of the coronavirus, inducing a response that readies the immune system to fight the coronavirus if infected.
Cheapest of the big three and can be stored at a standard temperature 2-8degrees
Rollout: 68 million UK citizens, two doses. Ideally in four months around 17 million vaccinations to be administered per month.

Moderna
US Massachusetts-based company
30,000 volunteers across the US, demonstrated a 94.5 per cent efficacy
Design: Unlike the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Moderna’s is based on ribonucleic acid (RNA), a molecule similar to DNA that is naturally generated by our bodies. Quick to produce, more effective, easily reformulated if virus mutates, remains stable at 2-8 degres.
Cost: Cost between $25 (£19) and $37 (£28) per dose.

Pfizer/BioNTech
New York-based pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer and German company BioNTech were the first to announce a potential vaccine for Covid-19 after their Phase III trial.
Trial: 43,000 trial participants, gave 90 per cent effective. Since then, Pfizer announced an updated efficacy rate of 95 per cent beginning 28 days after the first dose.
Design: Similarly to Moderna, the Pfizer vaccine is mRNA-based and works well in older, more vulnerable people. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept at a freezing temperature of -70 degrees Celsius and will degrade in around five days at normal refrigeration temperatures.

Sputnik
The vaccine’s developers, the Russian state-run Gamaleya Center
Russia is fifth on the list of vaccine makers, just behind GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Sanofi’s candidate in the rankings and ahead of the shots developed by Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. This is notable for a vaccine that has yet to be featured in any peer-reviewed scientific journal. How do we know we can trust it? No Phase III data, only newspapers.
Efficacy at each interim analysis in the Sputnik V trial was consistently at 90% or above, with no cases of severe Covid-19 in vaccinated individuals, though definitions of disease severity are not clear.
Design: similar approach to Oxford, but instead of using adenovirus vectors from chimpanzees it is based on two human adenovirus vectors. Two-dose vaccines use adenoviral vectors — viruses based on the cause of the common cold that are engineered to deliver the genetic material coding for the Sars-Cov-2’s key “spike” protein, which in turn prompts the immune system to mount a response to protect against further infections.
Sputnik V has one key, clever difference from the Astra and J&J vaccines: It uses the same adenovirus as J&J for the first dose (adenovirus-26) and a different adenovirus (adenovirus-5) for the second dose. In this way, it avoids the possibility of immunity to the first dose impacting the ability of the second dose to work efficiently.

Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Chinese called CoronaVac / CanSino Biologics
Chinese firm CanSino Biologics
Trials in Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia. Phase III efficacy data for the CoronaVac shot has been all over the place – from 50% to more than 90% – with different numbers coming from different authorities in recent weeks. On Thursday, a Brazilian newspaper reported efficacy for the shot of 78%, adding to the confusion.

Ideas from Reith and Radio

Transition to a green economy. / To a low carbon to a net zero world / From brown to green. Growth is determined by what we value.

Re Thinking Wealth https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000qwrz

A desire for a fairer world Re thinking wealth – Material (Money) Moral (happiness/love/wellbeing). Todays emphasis on Material.

Do we have a moral imperative to alleviate poverty?

David Graeber “The more obviously your job benefits other people, the less you get paid.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/04/books/david-graeber-dead.html

COVID accelerated the divide across the board. Initially COVID gave an impression of an equal hit to people, all peoples health exposed. But it did not take long to realise it was the unequaliser.
Huge divide in opportunity, resilience, agility, those from disadvantaged suffered most.
Has long term implications, economic and social.
People who do the jobs we previously did not see, care workers, supermarket, local shops, carry the day. Front line most impact, no CEOs
COVID affected younger people more, people starting out their venture out interrupted. Finishing school university.
How have house prices skewed wealth in Britain. House prices high, interest rates minimal.

We lost the peace.
Mohammed El Erian, chief economic adviser at financial services multinational Allianz and president of Queens’ College, Cambridge
We didn’t focus on what’s needed for inclusive sustainable recovery, too many people left behind
Policy focus. Focus on central banks, using the financial asset banks to promote growth. It does not promote good growth.

Some people pursue wealth for the sake of wealth, and this is not successful and goes round in a samsara circle. The purpose of wealth is building a certain amount of resilience, gives us opportunity for us to reach, gives us agility, we can respond quickly to events.

COVID so bad because it takes away the opportunity. Short term scaring, long term consequences. We may be talking about the lost generation.

Is it unfair that some people inherit large wealth?
Some people believe Tax inheritance 100%
Some tax to be paid – Duty to give what I have to my children
We have deeply held principles in conflict.

Betrayal of basic income
Vast growth of working poor – the broken social contract.
Work does not lead to a decent life. Insecure contracts. Uncertainty.
However, we do have a better minimum wage, and social system
Not how the welfare state was to be set up.

Forms of tax efficient?
Why council tax not updated for so long?
2008 income risen by 6%, Wealth by 18%.
Would loose votes – to raise council tax.
Afford lawyers who will avoid the tax
Capital gains, inheritance, Council Tax – all could be reformed.

Social care reformed. Rewarded with pay. Not just. Largest social care company in UK also debt collecter of US. Time for big government to do big reforms. Social, housing, welfare

Mark Carney From Climate Crisis to Real Prosperity.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000qkms

COP 26 towards Climate Justice.

Our earths climate is now driven by the frenzied activities of humans. CO2 risen to highest level in 800,000 years. One degree warmer. Impact intense. Oceans more acid, sea levels rising, ice loss tripled over last decade, extremes weather events become regular. Habit destroy.
In my lifetime reptiles etc fallen by 70%

Economic effect. Coastal erosion. No economic growth?
Ways of life not formally valued.

Causes: Rate of global warming proportional to the amount of CO2 in atmosphere. Keeling Curve

We must reach Net Zero, where the amount of CO2 ommited and that taken out of atmosphere are equal.
Paris
Emissions need to fall by 8% per year for this to effect.
The sooner we act the less costly it will be.
Tragedy of the Commons when self Interest undermines the common good. eg on going deforestation of Amazon.

Carbon taxes far too low for net zero.
What does someone have to be paid not to be a jerk?

Flatening of values.
We’ve been trading off the planet for profit

Next year summit
Bringing companies countrys together to manage our eco system
It will be profitable to be part of the solution and costly part of the problem
Prioritising resilience and sustainability.

It will be capital intensive at a time of less capital

3 Challenges to Net Zero
Engineering – green power generation, turn electricity generation from brown to green, transport and industry. Not yet technology to cut to 25% of man made Green House Gas emissions . Need hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and sustainable aviation fuel.
Bill gates leading a break through energy fund to drive through energy technology.

Political – strong consensus. 126 countries have set net zero targets. Some institutions. No good lip service as Greta Thunberg pointed out.

Financial – The more the financial sector concentrates towards Net Zero, sustainable investing, main stream. This is how value drives value.
Every financial decision takes climate into account.

Requires 3 R’s for this to happen
Reporting – reporting of risks, since what gets measured get managed. Large companies should publicise their plans to go Net Zero.
Risk Management must be Transformed – a climate risk will effect every element of the economy. Banks and insurers must help by understanding the carbon aligning to net zero.
Returns – delivering what society values. Can be the greatest commercial opportunity of our time. Who is on the right or wrong side of Climate History?
Today investors have a say on pay for pay packets, should have similar say to net zero objectives. Investors should disclose how their portfolios towards net zero.
What consumers want.
Increased focus towards sustainability.
This will reinforce the engineering development.

We need 50 shades of green to move towards net zero
Mix of emission reductions, reforestation, switch from brown to green power.

Loch Ness Wellington 2020 Brooklands

Mark from Brooklands Members TV, put together this interview with Jack, Vic and myself. We were put on the spot – had no idea it was a live interview, thought it was just a zoom meeting. When asked to give a history lesson on Heligoland, I had to do some swift mouse actions and find my background from Richard! A consequence of this was the live streaming of the service which until then Jack had said was shelved, and Vic and I were dismayed, after all Vics efforts. Mentioning it on this interview ensured it lived. And indeed it was streamed.

The Vimeo here https://vimeo.com/495718638 .
Mark Jarman 07710783536

PRESS RELEASE
On the 80th Anniversary of R for Robert ditching into Loch Ness on 31st December 1940. To recall and celebrate this remarkable Wellington – and her crews – whichditched this day 80 years ago into Loch Ness and through serendipity was found and then recovered,  restored and rests today at the placewhere it was fabricated in Brooklands.

To celebrate this, LNW2020 have organised a service in Inverness Cathedral, filmed by Ian Forsyth, DP Media. which will be opened and streamed at 3.00 this afternoon.A bell will toll at 3.15 the exact time of the ditching. You can view it herehttps://player.vimeo.com/video/485894572

The background story is here in an interview arranged by Brooklands BM.TV, with Jack Waterfall, Victor Attwood and Rachel Kellett, including some war time footage of Wellingtons and unique documents and photographs. https://vimeo.com/495718638 We will continue to collect information relating to this history on our web pages. You are welcome to contribute or comment.

https://lochnesswellington2020.org/
With best wishesLNW2020 Team

Be Alert – Trump is back

I’ve missed out on Trump these days. The Fact Check appears not to be operating its usual nightly check, may be because Trump is not giving regular Rose Garden or whatever press calls.

But he’s back.

He’s taking hydroxychloroquine – it’s supposed to be good for you.  You couldn’t make it up. Meanwhile federal regulators warn of the potentially serious, even fatal, dangers.

And he’s claiming having the US having 1.5 million coronavirus cases is a ‘badge of honour’

Meanwhile, nature moves at such break neck speed I cannot keep up with it. Fruits are forming from the flowers I watched blossoming. I am bemused as to how Chestnuts are formed from the flowers.

 

Magnolia

Some psychology. The day Michael made the decision to sell, I unpacked my suitcase and put my clothes in warderobes and chests of draws. Oh freedom seeking girl. The Magnolia story has engulfed and I’ve lost my own journey, to which I must return. The days are warm, we eat outside, play table tennis in the early evening.