Keith Baker

, I grew up in South Wales, where I started trying to make a bit of a difference to the environment as a conservation volunteer with my school at the tender age of 11. Then since finishing my first degree (in environmental science) at Sussex University in Brighton I’ve hopped about the universities of the UK and the world a bit, finishing off with a Ph.D in Domestic Energy Consumption from De Montfort in Leicester. Hardly the best university in the world but a fantastically multi-cultural place to live, and home to a community of campaigners who carry on the city’s political tradition of causing trouble. Indeed although the students of its second university may not be known for living up to it, the choice of name for the university is rather apt for the community it serves. I’ve been living in Edinburgh for about two and a half years now, where I’ve been working as a researcher and campaigning in my spare time, and to be honest I’m a little disappointed. Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and sits in an equally beautiful landscape, so you would think that people at all levels of society would be being inspired to work hard to preserve the environment, globally as well as locally. Whilst some of my articles will hopefully dispel the myths around ‘eco-friendly’ products, I’ll also be discussing bigger problems that we all contribute to, knowingly or otherwise. These will be sprinkled with greenwash pet-hates such as carbon capture and storage, the media’s coverage of climate change and other scientific matters, and the lack of real progress to improve the energy efficiency of housing – I’m sat writing this in the spare room of a modern flat with a thick top and jumper on and it’s still freezing! . I’ve spent much of my time working with other campaigners who, shall we say, wear green sleeves and red shirts. It tends to nurture the rebellious streak, but that’s a big part of what makes me me. Sometimes it takes asking the most awkward questions to ferret out the truth. I’m hoping that, with your help and vigilance, we might even win the odd victory from this little corner of the internet.
Articles by Keith Baker:

The Uncomfortable Truth Behind Eco-gadgets

I should start this article with a quick confession – I’m a geek and a recovering gadget-aholic. I’m instantly drawn to anything that promises to make my life easier, and even more so if it’s a bit clever and eco-friendly, and ideally also free.

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An Obituary for Cancun

2010 may be remembered as the year that the climate change campaign movement, at least in its current form, officially gave up and died. The mortal injuries were inflicted at Copenhagen in December 2009, and since then it has been slowly dragging its decaying corpse towards the open grave at Cancun, where it will finally be interred next month.

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How Was It For You?

You always remember your first time. Mine was at a Shell petrol station in Reading in the spring of 1998. It all seemed so new to a 19 year old first year undergrad, but people have been doing it for thousands of years. I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but I knew the risks and I knew I was ready, and I felt both empowered and a strange sense of coming of age.

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Too Good to Escape the Bonfire?

Was the Sustainable Development Commission too good to escape the bonfire?

The next time David Cameron proclaims that the coalition is “the greenest Government ever” ask yourself this question. Why would “the greenest Government ever” scrap an organisation that promoted sustainable development and saved the previous administration £60-70million a year, at a cost of a mere £3 million a year?

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Hull might win Crap Towns, but Edinburgh could win Crap Developments

I’ve never been to Hull, but I do pity it. Whenever the latest  list of crap towns is compiled Hull is usually in there somewhere, and it even won in 2003. Described by The Idler as “a sad story of unemployment, teenage pregnancy, heroin addiction, crime, violence, and rampant self-neglect”, it’s hardly the sort of place you’d want to visit on a recommendation like that.

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Will Feed In Tariffs Leave You Hungry?

As of April, the UK has finally introduced feed in tariffs (FiTs) for small-scale renewable energy systems. The use of these tariffs to grow the market for microgeneration systems is commonly associated with their successes in Germany and Spain, but even Iran beat the UK to it by implementing its own version in 2009. So how quickly is the UK Government catching up, and how effective will the new tariffs be?

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