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Climate bust-up: What’s it all about?

August 3rd, 2012 by

Richard George, Greenpeace UK

Over the past two weeks, a row has been raging about the government’s efforts to tackle climate change. Richard George, Climate Campaigner with Greenpeace UK, has written a guest blog for 38 Degrees members as an update on what this row is all about. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Right now, the government is drafting a new law – the Energy Bill – that will decide what the future of our energy supply looks like. This could be a big chance to invest in clean, renewable energy. But Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury have been interfering.

As it stands, the Energy Bill would encourage a disastrous ‘dash for gas’ that would push up energy bills and threaten our climate. Nick Clegg and the Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey, need to stand up to George Osborne and clean up the Energy Bill.

Osborne’s dangerous demands include building more gas-fired power stations. Gas is expensive and is the main reason why energy bills are rising. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable electricity is falling fast as companies develop more innovative ways to harness the energy of wind, waves and the sun. If you wanted to protect households and businesses from rising fuel bills, you’d prioritise energy saving and renewable electricity.

Gas isn’t just costly – it would make it nearly impossible to get the UK’s emissions under control. Although gas is less polluting than coal, it is a lot more polluting than wind, wave and solar electricity. David Kennedy, the head of the Committee on Climate Change (the independent organisation set up by the government to advise them on how best to tackle climate change) says that building loads more gas plants “would be incompatible with the government’s climate change goals.

George Osborne’s obsession with gas would be a disaster for our economy and our climate. Instead of listening to Osborne, the government must commit to cleaning up our electricity supply by 2030.

The Committee on Climate Change says that’s exactly what needs to happen if we’re to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and help stop climate change. Last week, a key group of MPs recommended that a legally-binding target to ‘decarbonise’ electricity should be included in the Energy Bill. The Confederation of British Industry has also called for a target so that businesses have the confidence to invest and grow the green economy.

We can’t stand by whilst George Osborne wrecks our energy supply and our climate – someone needs to step in.

38 Degrees members can help play a big role making sure that the government chooses the right path and commits to emission-free electricity by 2030. If enough of us email Nick Clegg we can make sure he steps in and stands up to George Osborne.

Richard George is a climate campaigner with Greenpeace UK

Thanks Richard! What do you think? What else could we be doing together on energy and climate change? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Anonymous

    Dear Richard
    You really are making this all very simplistic. Renewables are “clean” so they must be good and economic. Not so. Why is gas expensive? If this is so then why is the US turning its economy around by discovering it for themselves in their own backyard? Furthermore the more wind turbines we install the more gas we need as back up. And if renewables are so economic why then are they so heavily subsidised and why did the Green Lobby and RenewableUK have to fight so hard and spend so much money lobbying Parliament? George Osborne is trying to save our economy by encouraging this “dash to gas” and he knows we have to have it to keep the lights on. By making electricity so inefficient and expensive by covering the UK with ineffective wind turbines you are driving industry from our shores. And by doing so all you are doing is exporting our C02 emissions (all 1.5% of them) to other countries, usually those less well equipped to cope with them. Why do Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth believe that covering our unique British countryside with industrial wind turbines and the pylons required to deliver the pitiful amount of electricity will aid the fight against Climate change? This is arrogance and naivity of the highest level.
    Climate Change – all about jumping on the green and greedy bandwagon. Don’t know how you lot sleep at night. Certainly I guess it isn’t next to an industrial wind farm.
    Thank god for the likes of the John Muir Trust, who oppose this and try and undo some of the damage you are creating.

  • Thewiderpicture

    Expensive “Green” energy is also a major factor in the growing problem of fuel poverty in the UK. George Osborne isn’t trying to wreck our energy supply his trying to ensure we have one!

    Now on an even more contentious issue how about we fight the UK’s population explosion that is putting extra pressure on all our infrastructure and undoing any improvements that are made to lower our impact on the planet?

  • losingthewilltolive

     Ah yes, but lowering population is much too unpolitically correct for the likes of Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth to tackle! This, together, with energy conservation would be much more effective than covering the UK with wind turbines. However, there is no profit for anyone there so big business won’t go for it and it would take a government with guts to even look at it. So, that ain’t going to happen anytime soon. Don’t know where Richard gets his info from – gas prices are going down but he says they are far too costly. Mmmm, not as costly as what we are paying for in subsidies for a ineffective technology like wind.

  • Victoria

    I think that one of the major problems is the huge rate of destruction of the rainforests which both act as a ‘sponge’ for greenhouse gases and are the habitat for a haven of wildlife. The lack of biodiversity threatens the survival of many primate’s healthy survival. The glut of palm oil (which in its processed formis also a threat to human health) devastates the orang utan population.

    It is the location of wind farms that is the problem, both bats and sea eagles have been killed by the location of these as well as the complaints from people.

    What about wave energy?  Someone on my University forum mentioned this



  • Victoria

     Surely it is the massive profits and lack of flexibility from the suppliers that encorages fuel poverty for the older generation,pensions aren’t keeping up with the price of food/utility bills. Many people with families use too much energy though, washing machines on to wash a few clothes instead of hand washing and are kept on for a long time. Car jorneys for the shortest trips, the consumer driven need for the latest phone,television or computer all use energy.

    Also the lack of funding for alternative transport and closure of local shops. Food and products being shipped thousands of miles especially white goods from China whilst manufacturers close over here and the cost of labour is too high in relation to cost of goods when repairs are needed.Things are not made to be durable.

  • Mikelane

    On 2 August 2012 19:04, Mike Lane wrote:

    Hi David

    I would love to write to Nick Clegg to support your campaign to stop
    George Osborne’s wish to build more gas fired power stations.

    However, I think the more important battle is to prevent the
    proliferation of Nuclear power. I’m not sure what is the situation
    but believe that, with Dave’s and George’s backing, EDF (which most
    people fail to understand is Electricite de France) is poised to
    litter our coasts with these monstrosities.

    Much of the UK’s electricity requirements could be produced by
    off-shore wind and tide generators and onshore reverse Archimedes
    turbines as well as more wind generators located in remote areas.
    Photovoltaic cells are now a viable alternative to carbon based
    generation. Production costs are falling and efficiency increasing.
    Modern installations will have a virtually maintenance-free life of
    between 25 and 40 years and replacement will be simple.

     The sums do not add up for nuclear. More energy is needed to
    construct and decommission these power stations than is produced.
    And one has the extremely long-term problem of what to do with the
    waste.  You can see my blog, originally a “Letter to the local
    paper”, at the following:


    We may have to put up with gas powered generators (with
    Russia’s hand on the tap!) until alternative, green, solutions
    are at hand. That is what Nodding Nick must push for.

    Regards and all the best with the campaigns,

    Mike Lane.

  • Jorgen

    ‎38Degrees’ action on the human impact on CO2 and the Climate is an example of “People Power” when it is worst. A million amateurs expressinig an opinion, about which they have no competent understanding, is a repetition of the case against Galilei. Humanly generated CO2 is NOT proven to be a cause of climate change. Even IPCC has had their arguments disqualified. As Einstein said: Science is NEVER determined by the majority. If you want to read 3 easily understood write-ups, go to http://saeftinghe.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/great-climate-scam-or-agw-nonsense.html and http://saeftinghe.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/agw-nonsense-ipcc-swindle-co2-rubbish.html and http://saeftinghe.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/co2-mistake-climatic-theory-and-eco.html You will see what I mean, once the predictions of the 2 UK professors Ian Fells and Gordon Hughes concerning the investment in green energy production have become reality: £100bill wasted in windmills causing 3-4 times more expensive energy prices compared to 2012 in 6 years – and no impact on climate, but a loss of UK competitiveness and misery for freezing people.. Please DON’T support 38Degrees in their petition to support Nick Clegg!!

  • plainer

    With respect, my friend, the opinions of the IPCC carry more weight than your (almost entirely unreferenced) blog does. You accuse the IPCC of cherrypicking results, but I see a far bigger evidence base in what you would call the ‘scaremongering’ than I see from you.

  • Jorgen

    @Plainer – My blog deliberately leaves out lots of references and dry research data. It makes it more readable. If I have given you something to think about, it is enough for me. You can do the same research I have done and I promise you: it is scary to see how political correctness and mass-manipulation twist and remold the scarce data available. If you want a proper (i.e. non-emotional) discussion with references, I am both willing and able to enter into such an enterprise and I can refer you to professional/ qualified research papers that may blow your mind. My point is that the 38Degree attitude on the climate topic builds on an almost religious perception of AGW amongst ordinary people – and THAT is dangerous. Just wait and see what will happen to your energy bill – and to the loss of UK competitiveness over the next few years – while the climate continues to do what it would have done anyway.

  • Joren

    Climate change is most likely NOT humanly generated. 2 UK prof’s, Ian Fells and Gordon Hughes have warned the govmt: stop the expensive green drive. Every ‘green’ job right now takes the place of 4.8 jobs (Danish statistics) and results in the most expensive energy prices in the world – with no proof of climatic impact.AGW is pure religion with too many people making money and having a livelihood from continuing the illusion – until we all fall over the cliff.38degrees aCts as irresponsible amateurs on this topic.

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