Renew On Line (UK) 58

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 158 Nov-Dec 2005

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Decentral power:
Greenpeace  proposals

2. Farm Power:
Biofuels delays

CHP to backup wind

4. Welsh Renewables: 
Wind plan

5.  BETTA hurts Scotland:
but H2 CCS project emerges 

 6. Going for Micro power:
the Low Carbon programme

7. UK Energy Roundup:
getting there slowly

8. UK Climate Policy:
Blair changes tune?

9. UK Energy Policy Developments:
How not the cut carbon

10. News  from around the world:
US beats EU?

11.World Policy Roundup:
G8 on Climate change

12. Nuclear News:
US, UK, Australia and Russia

8. UK Climate Policy

Blair on Climate policy

Tony Blair has claimed that the G8 meeting at Gleneagles in July had opened up ‘a pathway to a new dialogue’  on a replacement for the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012. However Tony Juniper, vice-chair of Friends of the Earth International, said: “This is a very disappointing finale. The G8 have delivered nothing new here and the text conveys no sense of the scale or urgency of the challenge. The action plan, without any targets or timetables, will deliver very little to reduce emissions or to roll out renewables to the scale required." 

Certainly at the Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York in Sept, Blair seemed to back the US line: ‘The truth is no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially  in the light of a long-term environmental problem. What countries are prepared to do is to try to work together cooperatively to deal with this problem in a way that allows us to develop the science and technology in a beneficial way,’ although he did add that he didn’t think all the answers lay ‘just in developing the science and technology’. 

Lords on Climate Policy

In its new report on Climate Policy, the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs seems to back much of the US line. Although it accepts that there are real global climate problems, it fears that the science of climate change leaves “considerable uncertainty”, and is concerned about the objectivity of the international panel of scientists that has led research into climate change, suggesting that some of its conclusions ‘were apparently influenced by political considerations’. It also said that the positive aspects of global warming “appear to have been downplayed”, as has the cost of mitigation and the merits of adaption.  The Committee says that the Kyoto agreement will make little difference and that globally we should opt for a technology-led approach for the next, post-Kyoto, phase, rather than setting mandatory emission targets. However, Lord Wakeham, the Committee chair, denied that it had adopted the US line “We are... saying what we think the government should do. We think this is along the lines of the types of agreements that the United States could be persuaded to go along with.”

As for the UK, the committee said that there were ‘dubious assumptions’  in  our energy & climate policy about the role and cost of renewables & energy efficiency, and it called for tighter Treasury oversight to indentify the costs of climate change, and of dealing with it, more accurately (the Treasury now seems to have taken this on board- see below). It also felt that our nuclear capacity should be maintained at its present level by replacing existing plants as they closed. And it called for the Climate Change Levy to be replaced by a Carbon Tax ‘as soon as possible’.

Adaptation was seen a key issue. Lord Wakeham commented: “We think the balance between mitigation, reducing emissions, and on the other hand adaptation, responding intelligently to the inescapable changes, needs to be examined. The costs of mitigation are pretty uncertain and so are the benefits and they are certainly very distant. However, adaptation, which includes things like flood defences, water conservation, modified agriculture, have measurable costs and calculable benefits.” 

But he also felt that we needed “a far more serious effort into R&D of new carbon-free technologies... we suggest such an effort might be compared to the scale of resources given to the US Apollo programme that put the man on the moon”.  Very much the US ‘tech push’ line-unlike the EU regulatory ‘cap and trade’ approach. It will interesting to see how the government will respond-  especially given Blairs recent espousal of the US line (see above).

Treasury Acts

The Chancellor Gordon Brown has announced a  detailed review, with the DTI & DEFRA, of the costs of climate change- there were ‘gaps in our  knowledge

Climate Change Bill

A Climate Change Bill has been proposed by an all-party group of MP’S and 10 NGO’S- and has won the support of 200 MP’s. The new law would set a legally binding target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3% every year. The coalition pushing the Bill includes Friends of the Earth, Help the Aged, the Association for the Conservation of Energy, Christian Aid and WWF-UK.

G8 CO2 Offset

The government has provided £50,000 for carbon offset projects to ensure that the G8 summit in Scotland and associated G8 activities are “carbon-neutral”.  A return flight from Edinburgh to Southampton produces 0.12 tonnes of CO2, which cost £5 to offset.

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