At the Oscars and the BAFTAS and so on, the winners, always bleary, always blubbing, always drunk, always start with an “I’d like to thank” speech, offering genuine (or coerced) gratitude very publicly to those who collaborated (or financed) their venture : “you made it all possible”.
In true TV award ceremony style, the British Government, plus “Special Adjunct” Tony Blair, in amongst their good work pursuing Energy Efficiency and True Renewables, appear to be virtually obliged to mention the Energy and Climate “solutions” of their closest lobbyists and corporate allies, or even relatives, in the case of Gordon Brown’s brother Andrew’s company Electricité de France :-
“EDF is playing a key role in pushing for new nuclear power stations in the UK. Private Eye (issue 1151, p8) reported in February 2006 that Chancellor Gordon Brown’s younger brother Andrew Brown is EDF Energy’s Head of Press. Brown junior previously worked for the lobbying company Weber Shandwick (whose former UK chief executive Philip Dewhurst, is now Director of Group Corporate Affairs at BNFL).”
“11 July 2009 : Green day? More like dirty brown : Sacré vert! Yesterday, as you may have noticed, was Green Britain Day. Except that it was actually organised by a nationalised French company, which boasts of being “one of the largest participants in the global coal market”…Andrew Brown? Doesn’t that ring a bell? Yes, it’s the Prime Minister’s brother – the First Sibling, we might call him – who just happens to be EDF’s PR chief. So here’s an idea for the company. Why doesn’t it “start making changes now” by getting out of coal, the world’s dirtiest fuel?”
When you look at the numbers, and for most people the numbers mean the financial cost, much of what we need to do about Energy is rather cheap. Just ask McKinsey the management counsultants.
So why are the British public being told that the Climate Change “fight” is going to cost them serious amounts of cash ?
“Air travel and driving costs to soar under Labour plan to curb global warming : By Tim Shipman : Last updated at 6:18 PM on 12th July 2009 : The cost of air travel and driving is set to soar to pay for the
government’s plans to curb global warming due to be unveiled this week. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband warned of rising fuel prices as he outlined Labour’s bid to move Britain on to a low carbon economy. He said people will have to enact ‘big changes’ in their lifestyle. Labour is also planning to turn the screws on those who refuse to cooperate with the green push.”
“Energy bills ‘too low’ to combat climate change : Royal Society report says current government policy is not enough to pay for green technology : Alok Jha : The Guardian, Monday 29 June 2009 : Consumers will need to pay more for energy if the UK is to have any chance of developing the technologies needed to tackle climate change, according to a group of leading scientists and engineers. In a Royal Society study to be published today, the experts said that the government must put research into alternatives to fossil fuel much higher among its priorities, and argued that current policy in the area was “half-hearted”. “We have adapted to an energy price which is unrealistically low if we’re going to try and preserve the environment,” John Shepherd, a climate scientist at Southampton University and co-author of the report said…Shepherd admitted higher energy costs would be a hard sell to the public, but said it was not unthinkable…”
Blair nearly got a “Tony” Award from me the other week, when he launched the publication of a report by The Climate Group from a project team called “Breaking the Climate Deadlock” (see quotes at end).
All over the Internet there was high praise and big mention of Tony’s epiphany that Energy Efficiency, Standards, Regulation and Renewables could save the day.
But in amongst this admission, there were still mentions of new Nuclear Power, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Clean Coal.
Anybody who is anybody in any way connected to the Climate Change negotiations in Copenhagen at the end of this year appears to be obliged to mention Nuclear and CCS.
I reckon this is to satisfy the “business buddies” – those Energy corporates who are being tasked with the role of providing the “Low Carbon Future”.
Nuclear Power and Clean Coal will cost lots and lots of juicy money, and a large portion of that will come from public finance. Already the European Union has allocated a tranche of the revenue from the Auction of Carbon under the Emissions Trading Scheme to CCS.
Nuclear and Coal Power are established engineering – those companies in these Energies are scrambling to save their businesses. It’s natural that they should want a bailout from the burden of Carbon pricing.
One note of optimism : David Kennedy who is in the Climate Change Committee will not be issuing any guidance on CCS and Nuclear investment provision until 2010. Perhaps there’s still time enough to change minds.
Let’s repeat the facts : Carbon Capture and New Nuclear will be expensive, slow to build, almost certainly too late to be of any help with emissions reductions, and ultimately transient. Let’s forget them.
“From The Sunday Times : July 12, 2009 : Fresh blueprint for the low carbon economy : Tricia Holly Davis : MINISTERS will this week make their third attempt in five years to map out a low-carbon future for the UK by publishing detailed proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The low carbon transition plan will outline how the country will meet the legally binding limits on emissions set in the Climate Change Act 2008. The target is a 34% carbon reduction by 2020…This week’s plan will be followed by an energy bill, which will be included in the next Queen’s speech. David Kennedy, who heads the CCC, said a separate plan to boost investment in clean coal and nuclear power would follow next year. The CCC will submit a report to parliament in October outlining a number of additional “low carbon funding options”.”
Tony Blair’s Climate Group initiative :-
“L’Aquila summit needs to capitalise on global goodwill on climate change : Energy, energy efficiency and forest protection must be the focus for reducing carbon emissions at this week’s meeting in Italy : Tony Blair : guardian.co.uk, Monday 6 July 2009 07.00 BST…The good news is that if we focus on clear, practical, and achievable goals, major reductions can be made in order to ensure that, whatever the precise interim target, the world will fashion a radical new approach within a manageable timeframe. A new report from the Breaking the Climate Deadlock project, a strategic partnership between my office and The Climate Group, shows how major reductions even by 2020 are achievable if we focus action on certain key technologies, deploy policies that have been proven to work, and invest now in developing those future technologies that will take time to mature. Perhaps the most interesting fact to emerge is that fully 70% of the reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in three areas: increasing energy efficiency, reducing deforestation, and use of lower-carbon energy sources, including nuclear and renewables. Implementing just seven proven policies – renewable energy standards (eg, feed-in tariffs or renewable portfolio standards); industry efficiency measures; building codes; vehicle efficiency standards; fuel carbon content standards; appliance standards, and policies for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (Redd) — can deliver these reductions.”
“Blair Says Saving Energy Is Faster Fix Than C02 Trade : By Mathew Carr and Alex Morales : July 6 (Bloomberg) — Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said saving energy and forests will yield faster reductions in greenhouse gases than trading carbon-dioxide allowances. Blair, one of the biggest advocates of capping and trading emission credits when he led Britain from 1997 to 2007, said global carbon markets will pay off after 2020. He spoke to reporters at a July 3 press conference to introduce today’s report from the London-based Climate Group, which includes governments and businesses focused on global warming. “If you want to meet a target that’s just over a decade away, there are things that we know that work, that we have to do now,” Blair said. “Otherwise, we won’t get there.”
“The former UK premier Tony Blair has urged the group’s leaders to seize the moment, to tackle climate change with major emissions cuts by 2020. He has been working on a private initiative with a business-oriented NGO called The Climate Group. It has produced a new report which champions green technologies, arguing that they offer the chance of “substantial job creation and growth”. The report also says the technologies needed to meet emissions reduction goals set for 2020 are “already proven, available now and the policies needed to implement them known”. This means ramping up existing policies on energy efficiency, new appliance standards and renewable energy. Mr Blair told BBC News that significant emissions cuts could be achieved by halting deforestation and the degradation of forests; something that could be done if rich nations paid poor nations to protect their forests (though this seemingly simple policy is fraught with practical difficulties)…Efficiency measures will reduce more energy-related emissions by 2030 than renewable electricity, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage technology, according to an analysis last year by the International Energy Agency in Paris.”
“Technology will win the climate change battle, says Blair report : Published Date: 06 July 2009 : By Andrew Woodcock : THE technological solutions to global warming are “well within our grasp”, former prime minister Tony Blair said in a report due to be released today. He said crunch meetings – including this week’s Major Economies Forum in Italy and December’s Copenhagen climate change summit – should see the global warming fight move from the campaigning stage to “practical policy making”. The report, published with the Climate Group for Thursday’s MEF meeting, sets out seven “tried and tested” policies which could achieve the goal of peak carbon emissions by 2020. It calls on governments to act now on achievable short-term measures – energy efficiency, halting deforestation and lower-carbon power sources – while investing in the future technologies needed to reduce CO2 emissions by 50-85 per cent by 2050. The report estimated additional resources required to hold global temperature increases below 2C at £193 billion a year from 2015, rising to £494bn in 2030, but stressed that rising oil prices could make the switch to low-carbon energy a cheaper option. And it noted that low-carbon technologies offered the prospect of “substantial job creation and growth” to countries. “Now is the moment,” said Mr Blair. “Up to now, climate change has been an issue around which there has been an immensely important and successful campaign, but this is the moment when we take this out of the position of a great campaign and into the position of practical policy. Today’s report, Technology for a Low Carbon Future, states the technologies required to meet the 2020 goal of reducing global CO2 emissions by 19 gigatonnes “are already proven, available now and the policies needed to implement them known”.
“Energy efficiency: The 70% solution to carbon cuts : Posted by Greenbang on July 6th, 2009 : With today’s release of a report showing how world leaders can tackle climate change through technology, Tony Blair is expected to call for immediate action on energy efficiency, as well as a definitive commitment to develop next-generation, low-carbon technologies. The Climate Group’s “Technology for a Low-Carbon Future” report was released just days before US President Barack Obama chairs a meeting of the major economies to discuss progress towards a new global climate agreement at Copenhagen later this year. The report finds that 70 per cent of the reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in energy efficiency — lighting, vehicles, buildings and motors — and by reducing deforestation. Such strategies can deliver major short-term cuts in emissions, giving us time to invest in next-generation technologies that can drive down emissions through to the middle of the century. Those strategies include carbon capture and storage, new approaches to nuclear and solar, and emerging biotech-based solutions. “Just as investing in electrification, railways and the Internet led to economic growth in the past, investing in clean energy can help reignite the global economy now,” said former Prime Minister Blair. Among the report’s main findings: (*) Major emission reductions are achievable by 2020 if we focus action on certain key solutions now; (*) Fully 70 per cent of the reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in energy efficiency — lighting, vehicles, buildings and motors — and by reducing deforestation, the costs of which are manageable and generate positive returns; (*) Just seven known policies that are already being successfully implemented in different parts of the world can deliver these reductions: they just need scaling up; (*) We need to invest now in the development of those future technologies that will take time to mature, in particular carbon capture and storage (CCS), large scale solar and new-generation nuclear, along with public infrastructure such as smart grids; and (*) International cooperation spurred by an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen can rapidly bring costs down and accelerate scale up of both current and future technologies. “This report shows how major reductions even by 2020 are achievable if we focus action on certain key technologies, deploy policies that have been proven to work, and invest now for the development of those future technologies that will take time to mature,” Blair said. “And these technologies bring economic and social opportunities too.” He continued, “This is not mission impossible. On the contrary, with the necessary decisions now, there is a credible, practical realistic as we as radical way to act. We can set the world on a new path to a low-carbon future; the Major Economies Forum is able to put in place a framework for a successful global accord in Copenhagen in December.” “Many businesses are already leading the way by investing in innovative and exciting clean technologies — including solar power, electric vehicles and smart buildings — that cut emissions, help growth and create jobs,” said Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group. “Politicians must now match this leadership by agreeing challenging targets that provide a clear framework for transformational investment in the low-carbon economy.”
“Blair puts faith in technology to tackle climate change : 6 Jul 2009 : Tony Blair has today (Monday) published a new report offering ‘practical solutions to tackle climate change through technology’. The report, ‘Technology for a Low Carbon Future’, comes days before President Obama chairs a meeting of the major economies to discuss progress towards a new global climate agreement at Copenhagen later this year. The report suggests that 70% of the reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in energy efficiency – lighting, vehicles, buildings and motors – and reducing deforestation. The report concludes that the strategy that should be adopted at the MEF and into Copenhagen should be to focus on existing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, along with efforts to halt deforestation, which can deliver major short-term cuts in emissions. It suggests that there should be simultaneous investment in next generation technologies – carbon capture and storage, new approaches to nuclear and solar, and emerging biotech based solutions – that will drive down emissions through to the middle of the century”
Note : Nuclear and CCS won’t be helping much before around 2030…
“From The Sunday Times : July 5, 2009 : Tony Blair: ‘I’m a planet-saving kinda guy’ : The former PM has a new green masterplan: it won’t mean giving up our energy-rich lifestyle but it will cost us billions…”