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Paul Mobbs &
Mobbs' Environmental Investigations –

Work Archive –
Themes Index:


I've worked primarily with community groups for many years – mostly in the UK, but also in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The materials produced from that work have relevance not just to the people who commissioned them, but many other communities too. For that reason I maintain an on-line archive of my work.

For details of the licensing restrictions on using these resources, see the Copyright and Sharing page.

Work Archive:
'Themes' Index




Media Coverage









Ecological Limits













Video and Audio

The 'Climate' theme covers my work related to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

I have to admit that I don't rate 'climate' as "the" major threat to society. It's one of a number of trends driving human unsustainability, and depending how you equate risks, arguably not the worst.

The 'Climate' Theme

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Methane clathrate – the last desperate hope of the fossil fuels industry'


"Extreme Energy" is a term which encompasses many different forms of 'unconventional' energy resources. From fracking, to tar sands, to some types of renewable energy which take more energy and carbon to produce than they save, these 'extreme' energy sources represent the last hope of the global energy corporations. Why this is so tells a much greater truth about the global commitment to address the issue of climate change.

file icon read the 'Musings' article
141.7 kilobytes

file icon download the A3 poster version
1.7 megabytes

inc image Ramblinactivist 4/17: 'The Free Range 'Feral' Stick-Fire Cooking Grate'


Cooking outdoors is a fun skill to learn to expand your ecological awareness and personal resilience. Cook well outdoors from fresh or foraged food, and you can cook well anywhere. Problem is, where do you find the 'ecologically sound'/fossil-fuel free kit? The Free Range Stick-Fire Cooking Grate is a small, light-weight, trestle-style cooking grate designed to burn small sticks which, with a few tools and components, you can easily build yourself.

file icon Youtube channel
This 'ramblinactivist' video shows the process of building and using the grate – enjoying an evening not just 'out in the sticks', but 'cooking with sticks too.

file icon Design handout
For the detailed design information, and background on the use of the grate and land law in England and Wales, see the design handout on the Free Range Activism Website

file icon Mobbsey's Musings: 'Taking the Fossil Fuels out of Camp Cooking'
The are some innocuous uses of fossil fuels which go largely unnoticed. One such example is camping outdoors. Camping shops sell a variety of stoves fuelled by gas, liquid petrol or methanol, or chemical-based solid fuel compounds. Thing is, if you're outdoors, is the use of fossil fuels necessary?
1.8 megabytes

inc image Whitehall's 'Fracking' Science Failure: How the Government has misled Parliament and the public on the climate change impacts of shale oil and gas development in Britain – A report for Talk Fracking


This report seeks to explain how the debate over the gaseous emissions from 'fracking', and their impacts on climate change, has changed over the last few years – and precisely why that debate is critical to how the Whitehall Government has justified, and promoted, onshore oil and gas extraction in Britain.

file icon Original Paul Mobbs/MEI research report
662 kilobytes

file icon Talk Fracking's published version
867 kilobytes

file icon A3 poster summarising the report
1.2 megabytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Whitehall's 'Fracking' Science Failure – How the Government has misled Parliament and the public on the climate change impacts of shale oil and gas development in Britain'


As the Conservative Manifesto portends a planning 'free for all' for shale gas, Talk Fracking launches its new report demonstrating the flaws in the Government's case on fracking and climate change. Research published over the last 18 months, outlined in Talk Fracking's new report, questions the accuracy of the data used in the Mackay-Stone report. As a result of this new information Whitehall's scientific case has arguably collapsed.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
109.1 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Beyond failure at COP21, environmentalism has its own shortcomings to address'


Consider this: can we "save the planet?" That's a critical question if you're an environmentalist – though it requires an understanding of what 'saving' and 'the planet' means. And if those founding definitions are not based upon realistic information, what would be the result?

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
428.7 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Environmentalism's 'oil price panic': concerns reflect their own existential crisis, not the victory of fossil fuels'


"Collapsing oil prices should give everyone in the 'green movement' cause for reflection." Say what! Really? Why is that? I see the introduction to Steve Melia's recent article[1] for The Ecologist as indicative of a more general problem of how the environmental debate handles complex issues. Simplistic statements, such as that above, don't necessarily reflect the complexity of the available evidence.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
63 kilobytes

inc image "Less" (is a Four Letter Word) – Economics, Ecological Limits and Politics


These are the slides from the 'new, improved' "Less is a Four-Letter Word" presentation. This version looks more towards the contradictions between the biophysical and conventional economic view of the world – and how the increasing prescience of the 'Limits to Growth' reports portends a future where existing economic rules become more dysfunctional.

file icon presentation slides
3.4 megabytes

inc image The Environmental Risks of 'Fracking' – A submission to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry

December 2014

A submission to the Commons Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the environmental impacts of 'fracking'

file icon The Environmental Risks of 'Fracking'
352.6 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Exposing the British Government's "dodgy dossier" on the climate impacts of fracking'


As Charlie Chaplin said, "Wars, conflict, it's all business... Numbers sanctify." That was certainly the case with the UK Government's approach to shale gas. They hoped that they could whitewash the climate effects of fracking with some fancy formulas. Instead what they produced was another "dodgy dossier" – a straightforward denial of the uncertainties and the likely effects of what unconventional gas will do to the climate.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
69.3 kilobytes

inc image Extreme Energy and Climate: A critical review of the UK Government's policy on unconventional fossil fuels and climate change

May 2014

This report provides a critical analysis of the evidence supporting Government's recent policy announcements on the issue of 'extreme energy' sources (tight oil and gas, shale gas, coalbed methane and underground coal gasification) in the UK – and the implications that the development of these energy sources may have on climate change. In addition the spreadsheet used to analyse the Mackay-Stone results is available as a native LibreOffice (ODS) file and an exported MS Excel file (XSLX).

file icon Extreme Energy and Climate report
964.4 kilobytes

file icon Mackay-Stone review analysis (LibreOffice Calc file)
38 kilobytes

file icon Mackay-Stone review analysis (MS Excel XML file)
15.9 kilobytes

inc image Ecolonomics no.12: "Promulgating the Web's calorie controlled diet" – web design, environmental impact and the much ignored ecological efficiency of the Internet


I'm feeling pretty awful; for the last few days I've been laid low with a bug that just won't go away. As I sit, trying to find something to do, it occurs to me that I could catch-up on some of the really tedious, dead-head chores that I've been putting off for a while. If I feel so awful, how more awful can it be to do those things that I never feel like doing in any case? I begin by trying to write a long-overdue beginner's guide to the Linux command line interface – I get as far as designing a rather entertaining logo before realising this requires far too much brain power for my current state of mind! Then I remember the "design statement" for the Free Range Activism Web Site. That requires measuring lots of web pages to demonstrate, statistically, why the design system for the FRAW site is, ecologically, better than mainstream design methods. Hmmn, yeah, downloading lots of web pages, categorising their component parts and then spreadsheeting the results for later analysis. OK, as occupations go it's the digital equivalent of watching paint dry, but right now I feel that I can do that!

file icon HTML version
528.9 kilobytes

file icon PDF version
704.3 kilobytes

inc image Ecolonomics no.6: "A man sits down to write a letter but instead he writes a book, the book begins 'Dear Sir'"


So many things that need to be said but often we can't; not because we lack the terms or evidence to describe them but because such a message isn't something that "our leaders and betters", and sometimes even ourselves, wish to hear. Like the game Chinese whispers, the message of the human ecological crisis has been edited and sub-edited to the point where the commonly used terms that describe the problem, and likely solutions, have little relevance to the original diagnosis; in particular, what started as the concerns of environmentalists in the 1970s, regarding the impacts of human society on the planet, have now been reduced to mere "carbonism" – a reduction of the complexity of human ecology to an issue of carbon or climate change being our principle problem, and a belief that we can solve the global climate crisis through simple, deck-chair re-arranging measures such as "low carbon technologies". The fact is we might have the capacity to address such problems realistically, and we might conceive of alternative ways of ministering to society's needs, but the unfortunate reality is that those in charge of the public debate do not wish to contemplate what this truly means to the lifestyles of the world's richest citizens. In possessing that knowledge do you, yourself, internalise the significance of that deduction into a programme of action, irrespective of what that means for you personally; or do you skip over the problematic evidence because it might adversely affect the "Western lifestyle" that we enjoy, and therefore cannot be considered a "politically realistic" way of characterising the problem?

file icon HTML version
289.5 kilobytes

file icon PDF version
461 kilobytes

inc image Ecolonomics no.4: The "green-Prometheans"; better, but still a futile gesture?


An intellectual debate where a whole set of questions or positions are excluded from public examination is not a real discourse, it's a distraction to deflect criticism from the ideological viewpoints that constrain society. From the structure of building codes through to global climate negotiations, governments and lobbyists put emphasis on markets, or the marshalling of large resources – both vestiges of early industrialisation – to solve problems; but what if the true solution lay beyond this boundary? What if it's that very same structure of globalised markets and the growth paradigm that underpins their operation were to be the problem that we must solve? If the problem is the structure of modern society, and especially the global economy, how can "mainstream ideas" possibly solve the underlying trends driving the destruction of the Earth's ecosystem; more to the point, if these ideas work within this system to what extent will they perpetuate it?

file icon HTML version
96.7 kilobytes

file icon PDF version
269.1 kilobytes

inc image Free Range Sheet E2: Energy and Climate – Energy is the Problem, Not Carbon!

October 2008

The world is warming, and almost certainly the human species is responsible for this. However, the public debate on climate change tends to focus on the "problem" of greenhouse gas emissions. In reality, for developed nations like the UK most of those emissions are the direct result of energy use. If we continue to treat the symptoms – the greenhouse gases – as the problem then we will engage in what is termed (in medicine) a "palliative response"; we'll cure some of the symptoms, but we won't cure the root problem. Instead we must focus on the problem of "energy" rather than "carbon" as it is our absurd use of energy, and our reliance on the use of fossil fuels, that is the root cause of climate change.

file icon HTML web page version
36 kilobytes

file icon Colour PDF version
190.3 kilobytes

file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
174.7 kilobytes

inc image New Climate – Future or Reality?


A presentation for the British Council Russia: This week and next, the "Convention of the Parties" (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) are meeting in Nairobi. This assembly of the world's government, scientific academies and other interested groups will be debating how global agreements will restrict the emissions of greenhouse gases when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Next year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release their Fourth Assessment Report, and it is likely that, from the information released to date, it will outline a more serious picture of our impact upon the Earth's climate, and the time that we have remaining to avoid damaging climate change.

file icon presentation notes
1007.6 kilobytes

file icon summary for participants
60.1 kilobytes

inc image Keeping the Lights On: Nuclear, Renewables and Climate Change

September 2005

A memorandum for the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry, outlining the problems of both peak oil, peak gas and peak uranium as a factor in planning the UK's future energy supplies.

file icon Inquiry memorandum
1.1 megabytes

The World According to Mr. Mobbs


Cambrian News, 3rd February 2005. "Oil will be in short supply within 20 years, and gas will start to peter out by 2040."

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
151.4 kilobytes