No excuse for inaction when times get tough

Or so says Gordy. The grauniad has a special supplement on Climate Change. I guess they aren't taking it too seriously, because I spent quite a time digging through their web site before I found it. I rather liked Monbiot Porrit's piece but for the moment I'm going to look at what Broon said.

First off, there is quite a bit of Under our Climate Change Bill, the first in the world... - my bolding. Ie, he just can't stop politicking. Well, he's a politican, I guess I should just learn to strip out the goo and dribble and see what he actually has to say. Which is...

Under our Climate Change Bill the UK will cut its carbon by at least 60% by 2050. Notice how thats phrased: the cuts will be imposed by dictat. I don't think thats good. What it really means is that they don't know how to do it, and are postponing anything difficult into the future. Nor do I have any doubt that the law will be revised and the caps removed should that prove necessary. Five-year carbon budgets will limit, by law, the total emissions of our whole economy. Again, are we to imagine that if in 4 years time we've used up our allowance for the next 5 years that the economy will be shut down for a year? Of course not. So I'm struggling to understand what this law would actually mean in practice (does anyone know if it exists, even in draft form? Would be interesting to see.

as the Stern report revealed, the costs of damage from future climate change vastly outweigh the costs of tackling it now. I've said various things about Stern, which I can't be bothered to systematise: lets just say that my overall summary is still: its a busted flush.

[Long pause while I wrote up a post on PG. Hope you like the bongos]

we have set out a strategy to increase our supply of renewable energy tenfold to 15% by 2020 at last some substance, perhaps. I wonder if I can find this... I think it must be in which case its a draft, due 2009. I read the exec summary; that wasn't very informative. Ploughing through the thing itself I found If all the options set out in this document were successfully implemented (and if no cost constraints were applied in deciding the measures we should take), our scenarios suggest that it will be possible to reach 15% renewable energy in the UK by 2020. This is at the top end of the range of possible outcomes and would require a very rapid response from suppliers, with a step change in the rate of building renewable technologies. We would need to develop a completely new approach to renewable heat: providing a substantial incentive to jump-start this new market, developing supply chains and encouraging large numbers of households to find renewable ways of heating their homes. We would also need to develop a new sustainable biomass market. The country's current wind generation capacity, on and offshore, would have to increase by a factor of ten. which I would translate as "we've strung together a load of ideas which might just possibly hit the target if we were really really lucky but even we don't believe it will actually happen". fig 2 (on page 8) even provides a breakdown. But. How much is wishful thinking? It seems to come from a consultants report and I couldn't quickly see how much was actual feasability and how much was just economic modelling.

we are committed to replacing our ageing nuclear power stations with new ones. This is controversial, but a stark reality must be faced: with renewable energy at its feasible limit by 2020 well there you go. New Nukes. I'm not sure the general populace has noticed this. Nor have they said where they will be built. But since there is "No excuse for inaction when times get tough" I'm sure the govt will be announcing the locations soon.

the UK will build the EU's first commercial power plant with carbon capture and storage - interesting again. Where? Or is this just vapourware. Notice the curious mixture of govt diktat and commercial tie-in. If its going to be done on a commercial basis, why is the govt announcing it? If its going to be subsidised, its not commercial. And it will have to be subsidised: the current carbon price is too low to pay for CCS (obviously: or commercial folk would be building them).

There was more but I got bored at that point :-)

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Monbiot? Do you perchance mean Porritt?


Douglas Coker
Enfield Green Party

[Oh b*ll*cks - corrected -W]

By Douglas Coker (not verified) on 17 Jul 2008 #permalink

And at the same time we're going to build a new runway at Heathrow and we expect to increase air travel by something like 200% by 2030. But that's OK, because those emissions don't get counted in the national statistics...

There have been a lot of rumblings about new nukes in the media in the last couple of months. It's pretty clear we're going to get a fleet of a dozen or so, maybe 15 GW, in about the next decade, built on existing nuke sites. If the public hasn't noticed, it's because they're not listening.
I have no idea whether it's "official policy", which seems to made up on the hoof anyway, but that's what's going to happen.

By Nick Barnes (not verified) on 19 Jul 2008 #permalink