Green links

Courtesy of Climate Progress and Bill Becker, this cartoon on Nimbyism.


The Ecologist – How much your country is investing in renewables

Treehugger – What does the Green Party election win in Germany mean?

HuffPo – Obama sets goal to reduce oil imports

Here are two sites also worth checking – the SustainAbility blog and The PERColator.


Stewart Brand on Nuclear Power

Fascinating short interview with Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. In his recent book, An Eco-Pragmatist Manifesto, Brand calls for many more nuclear power stations to be built. Watch the video to find out why he thinks this is a solution, rather than a hindrance to the fight against climate change:

Compelling viewing. But isn’t Brand missing something? Doesn’t nuclear power produce carbon? Isn’t nuclear power a safety and health hazard?

Brand certainly raises some important points – many of which we are still very far from consensus.  I’m still unsure as to where I stand on the nuclear versus renewables debate. However, I do admire Brand’s pragmatism on issues as contentious and shrouded in misinformation as the nuclear debate is.

Coalition drags its feet on renewables

Interesting take by Kari Lundgren on the government’s plan to boost levels of renewable energy production:

The U.K. will propose the biggest changes to energy policy in two decades tomorrow when the coalition government lays out plans to ensure aging power plants are replaced and climate targets met.

David Cameron’s government is likely to reassert state control over the market-based system introduced by his predecessor Margaret Thatcher when proposals are made to parliament. The regulator has suggested a “carbon floor” price to force up the cost of emitting greenhouse gases, encouraging investment in nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms.

Lundgren clearly thinks the plans afoot are radical. I’m not so sure. Read the article in full, here.

Catherine Mitchell is, unsurprisingly, far more sceptical:

Sadly, the proposed electricity market reforms and the green deal do not include anything that will move the UK forward in anything other than an incremental manner. At the heart of the problem is a seasonally appropriate difficulty: asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.

It is simply not in the interests of the handful of dominant energy companies and their shareholders to dramatically transform the energy system, whether on the supply or demand side. In particular, an increase in the energy efficiency of buildings will undermine a company’s future sales and profits. Only when the government confronts head-on the interests in maintaining the system largely as it is, will the energy system change.

Energy companies sell energy or services and have to comply with various rules and incentives. The rules and incentives are being tweaked so that energy companies can make more money from low-carbon energy supply and reducing energy demand. But reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 means developing a completely different energy system. Energy companies doing what they can within the current energy system is not nearly enough.

The FT also has the story.