It was suggested by Perth Business Gateway to rewrite the 2001 proposal to use the Millennium Dome as a global environmental management centre, this time relevant for Scotland in 2006. The outline executive summary, Scotland:The World's First Ecological Superpower, was produced. The next stage is to implement it, what do you think?

Sunday, 28 January 2007

The Millennium Dome, Why a Supercasino? An Applied Planetary Engineering Assessment.


In the 2001 competition to find a use for the Millennium Dome, the proposal that the Government’s own consultants wanted to back was Millennium Project Two, a global environmental management centre. In the criteria of the competition this should have been the winning proposal. The proposal outlined a revenue generation for the Dome of £50 billion per year. Recent events and associated reports validating the initial projections. Why did Greenwich throw away such a world leading and revenue generating proposal, wanting a supercasino instead? An applied planetary engineering assessment would indicate this was not the optimum decision.
So is the Millennium Dome going to be a Supercasino? One reason why a global environmental management centre was proposed for the Millennium Dome in the 2001 competition, was simply because it was the best proposal. The Government’s consultants Jones Lang LaSalle thought the same. This was the proposal they wanted to raise the finance for and provide the project team to implement.

Recently we obtained the competition criteria from Jim Fitzpatrick MP Office of the Deputy prime Minister, via Pete Wishart SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire. These criteria were withheld from the Millennium Project Two Bid, thereby excluding it from the competition by default.

So why was a casino chosen over the proposal the Government’s consultants liked and why was the competition criteria withheld? Did the Government all along believe that a casino and AEG would win the competition? Suddenly on the criteria of the competition did the winning proposal appeared left field and totally unexpected catching them unprepared? By withholding the competition criteria did the Government exclude what would have been the winning proposal from the competition.

Was this a face saving exercise by New Labour? After making such a mess of the first Millennium Project at the Dome, even pining their ability to run the country on the way they ran the Dome. If a bid appeared that made a complete and total success of the Millennium Dome, would this severely dent their credibility in running the original project and the country?

Did the Government have to ensure that whoever won the competition would be the worst acceptable proposal? Thereby having to exclude the best and favourite proposal?

So what will happen if the Millennium Dome becomes a Supercasino? The future is not bright. Without the Millennium Dome being used as a major resource in global environmental management, the effects of global ecological life support system collapse and it’s symptoms such as climate change will increase in severity and sooner than without it. Due to the international recognition the Millennium Dome had, it’s use from 2001 in supplying solutions to the global environmental challenge would have put the Earth 6 years ahead of where we are in confronting the problem and with a greater magnitude of available response. The destruction that is now going to occur from society neglecting the environment would probably never occurred. It appears the Government had the choice between planetary ecological apocalypse avoidance and a casino, and chose the casino.

What do casinos do? All a casino does is move and/or concentrate money. In return for the thrill of the experience of believing you may obtain more money than you are willing to bet, and against the odds in favour of the house. It just takes money from individuals in return for the thrill that they believe they can take more from it. Thereby concentrating the money from many into the form of profits for the casino. Here will lie the compounded problem for the future of the Dome and Greenwich.

As the environmental parameters that society will have to develop within become more severe as the ecological back lash increases in response to the damage, projects will have to be assessed and conform to a principle that they create more planetary ecological stability than they consume in their initiation. Similar to the past business model, that financial return must be greater than investment in order for a business to be viable. In future projects must contribute more to the sustainable evolution of the socio-economic/ecological system than they initially detract from it in their inception. A sewage treatment works will require energy and resources in it’s set up; concrete, other materials, machinery and the costs involved with the human resources to construct it. The resources are an initial drain on the Earth system, but over the life of the sewage plant it is creating clean water, reducing pollution, increasing biodiversity and productivity (algal blooms apart which increase biological oxygen demand). There is a net gain over the life cycle analysis of the project to the total planetary system.

The redevelopment of the Dome site, it’s construction and all the resources in the set up and running of a casino are an input from and a drain on the total Earth system. A casino though never pays back what it has borrowed, unlike a sewage works. A casino only moves or concentrates money. It never as part of it’s process imparts stability back to the total Earth system. It is in ecological terms a parasite on sustainable evolution or development.

In a legislative context in terms of environmental audits it has a future which may be terminated, as we become a more ecologically aware and benign society in order to survive. Again return to the Marshall Macluhan quote used in another article, "there are no passengers on spaceship Earth only crew". A casino is not even a passenger in environmental audit terms it is a parasite, with a negative return to the host (Earth).

Where is the income for a casino going to come from. Is this the local area or does it want to attract visitors and especially overseas visitors? The clue could be Supercasino. The service or catchment area of it’s customers may be extended to overseas visitors. Only by looking at the business plan of the casino would we know to what extent overseas customers play in it’s financial planning.

Already we are seeing the backlash against air travel. This is coming financially from sources such as the Chancellor Gordon Brown increasing taxes on air travel. How much further will this go? Secondly as the consequences of climate change become more severe, high polluting activities such as air travel will become a social pariah activity. As more people die as a result of climate change, air travel will become a socially unacceptable activity.

The onset of the effects of climate change will occur much quicker and more severely than the Government or media is portraying. In a very short term vast changes will occur. Due to the way climate is modelled, the constraints imposed on climate models in the way they are funded and the imposed parameters, the models tend to produce the least severe or under estimated consequences.

This situation will reduce the number of visitors by air travel. Visitors by air travel contribute to the planetary system negatively and by then engaging in an activity, casino gambling, also contribute negatively again. Any guidelines or legislation based on real world analysis of environmental systems, and not subject to political spin to hide the truth, would have air travel to a casino very close to the top of the list for activities that need banning either by legislation or by being so morally, ecologically and socially unacceptable they will not be tolerated.

The media carry many reports of vigilante action and protest against paedophiles. Similar may occur against air travelling for gambling. The environmental cost of air travel must be offset against the reason for that travel. Someone flying to implement a project to reduce pollution, increase biodiverity etc. will offset the damage to the environment caused by the travel, by the benefits obtained by the whole Earth system as a result of that work. Air travel for gambling does not fulfil that criteria.

The future for such an unsustainable activity as gambling linked with air travel for the Greenwich area is bleak, either legislation or a social pressure will impose limits on it in the near future. Though a great deal has been written on the social consequences of gambling, such as addiction, very little has been produced on the effects of somebody working in an industry as regards their own assessment of the their worthwhile contribution to society.

This can be expanded to ask the question, what is a place like Greenwich doing being involved with such an industry? Greenwich had a world renowned past, it is still the datum from which the world takes it’s position in time, GMT is a world defining standard. The tradition of Greenwich is rich in astronomy, observation, exploration and setting the standard. The knowledge of the world draws from Greenwich.

Greenwich had the opportunity to build on that illustrious past and take a planet safely into the future by navigating the course of sustainable planetary evolution and development.

Why did Greenwich sell it’s soul, integrity, past and future so cheaply? Why did it want to shed it’s pride as a world leader for the cheap and pointless world of being a gambling centre? Greenwich had the option of having the world leading centre of environmental management at the Dome, a beacon of hope and inspiration across a planet. The income from the venture would have dwarfed anything a casino could supply. As when reporters now want a quote on space they refer to NASA, when they want the authoritative response on defence they quote the Pentagon. Now the global focus of world attention is the environment, all the world’s media would have referred to The Dome Greenwich for the foremost authoritative comment, analysis research and implementation.

Greenwich safely charted the world as a historical precedent. When the time came to make a decision on it’s present and future it could have been the NASA of the environment, the Silicon Valley of sustainable planetary development and evolution. £50 billion a year would have come to the Dome, Greenwich would have had the global kudos and esteem. Development would have been respected, required and sustainable. No thanks said Greenwich, we want to join the scramble for a casino, let somewhere else in the world have the honour, reputation and revenue from having the world’s leading centre on the environment. Applied planetary engineering would suggest Greenwich may have not made the best decision.

If it wasn’t true it would be unbelievable.


andrew said...

Revenue of £50bn a year? That's about two and a half times the annual revenue of GlaxoSmithKline... a very big number indeed!

Having said that, I'm sorry that your proposal was binned on the basis of little more than Government greed. It certainly would have been preferable to the casino we're certain to get (if not on 31 Jan then afterwards).

Roger Thomas said...

Thanks for the comment Andrew.

The revenue generation was correct, this was on reason why the Government's consultants, Jones Lang LaSalle, quite rightly wanted to back this project.

First don't see it as a GlaxoSmithKline, se it as a NASA of the environment.

At the time of the competition (Feb 2001) the UNEP IPCC put the cost of climate change as $200 billion per year. This was total cost. Internalised economic losses eg insured losses were less $30-$40 billion.

These costs were only for climate change. Add on pollution, species extinction, disease etc cost to the environment such as the MSC Napoli and this figure now for total environmental costs rises.

The other thing to consider is the exponential nature of the rise of these costs. Year on year these would increase as the damage to the environment impacts more on the socio-economic system.

This projected figure which the business plan for the Millennium Dome, in 2001, was based on was $1000 billion per year.

In keeping with the figure given in Stern report of 2006.

At an exchange rate of approx 1.76 $/£ at the time this is £568 billion world wide.

How the Dome would address this figire and challenge is too much to put in this answer to your comment, but if it only addressed 10% of the global market potential as the world leader, that is £50 billion.

The floods in the UK in autumn 2000 cost £1 billion, Foot and Mouth 2001 £5-8 billion, Hurricane Katrina around $20 billion. Environmental situations are £billions each.

The business plan was based on all environmental situations. The Government's consultants Jones Lang LaSalle were very astute and intelligent and were aware of and recognised the sources of my figures before our discussion.
This was why they saw the potential of the project and as such wanted to finance it and supply the project team to implement it.

They may have signed a confidentiality agrement with the Government so are unable to disclose that as a business they quite correctly wanted to support the global environmental management project at the Millennium Dome Greenwich.

As they said it was exactly the kind of project they were interested in and fitted in with the ethos of Greenwich. Remember JLL I believe manage a world wide portfolio of investment of $180 billion plus, so this sort of project was exactly in keeping with their experience or invetors they could bring on board.

Once again thanks for your comment, I hope I have gone some way to giving an answer which is acceptable.