Forget Nigel Lawson and his struggle to keep the British energy system in the privatised 1980s by denying the realities of Climate Change.
The lords (and sadly, some of the ladies) of this land want to stay rich from their shares in fossil fuels and mining. They’ll say anything to protect the value of their holdings.
But where’s your new North Sea Oil and Gas, Nigel ? Do you want to bankrupt this country by forcing us to ramp up our imports of energy as the North Sea production falls away ?
The chief executives of the “traditional” energy companies of these islands are just trying to keep themselves in a job when they decry wind power, biogas, marine energy projects.
No, Vincent de Rivaz of EdF, we don’t want expensive, inflexible and toxic Nuclear Power. No, Dorothy Thompson of Drax, we don’t want dirty coal continuing to heat up the world, poison fish and raise coughing kids. No, Rupert Soames of Aggreko, we must maintain the Renewable Energy obligations we have agreed at the European level, and raise the bar even higher, to protect the economy going into an uncertain future, by having homegrown energy.
We need an energy evolution in this country.
And so, what is needed is a social movement – involving ordinary, working people, unions, communities, academics, trained professionals from the engineering trades, local political activists and faith communities.
[ UPDATE FROM JOABBESS.COM : ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH, CLIMATE CAMP SITE HAS BEEN TAKEN. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION FROM email@example.com, Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:59 PM : “Site taken! People needed NOW! At 9.15PM tonight Climate Camp took the site on RBS HQ. Get on site as fast as you can! Defence help urgently needed. Come to RBS Gogarburn Gardens, off Gogar Station Rd. More info later. x” ]
Al Gore has been telling all the young people, and well, all of us, really, to protest, in public, to make a downright law-unabiding nuisance of ourselves :-
“Gore calls for major protests on government’s climate change inaction…In a post on his personal blog headlined “The Movement We Need”…”
Well, it won’t work to call people out onto the street. Most people are too busy credit-crunching, wage-slaving or favour-scraping to be able to commit to a short-term, potentially self-defeating public display of annoyance, frustration and shrill demands.
And if people do come out to the big protests, it won’t achieve much. News reports can be swept into the trash. Activists can be swept into holding facilities. Politicians can conveniently ignore anything that isn’t violent.
Drop the loud-hailers and home-made placards, I say, and do something more…focussed.
The Climate Camp want to target the Royal Bank of Scotland for financing Coal power plants and Tar Sands oil projects, which are very bad things to be doing, and smacks of huge corporate irresponsibility, considering the bank is largely owned by the British taxpayer, and I say, if you can’t make the camp (and I can’t for reasons which I shall not go into just now), do something about money in other ways instead.
What’s your money doing ? Which oppressive regimes in oil-rich countries is it supporting ? Which Fossil Fuel companies trashing your Environment do your bank support ? Why not switch your money to an ethical financial organisation ? Why don’t we all try to do this at the same time ? “Crowd-banking” could have an impact, you never know until you try.
Let’s pick, say, Monday 23rd August 2010. And let’s all spend our way out of Climageddon together on that day. Transfer your money to an ethical bank, or pledge to do so. Phone your bank and tell them you’re leaving for a sustainable bank.
Other actions possibly useful :-
1. Refuse to buy Fossil Fuels for a day.
2. Refuse to use any hot water for one day (most hot water is produced by burning Fossil Fuels). It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere – come on – a cool shower won’t hurt you.
3. Don’t spend any money on anything that had Petroleum-based plastic or Natural Gas-based chemicals in its production – which would rule out 85% of non-food purchases, I reckon.
4. If you’re working for a company or an organisation who have anything to do with the Energy industry, make a point of asking your boss, or their boss, or the Chief Executive or something what the company/organisation intends to do about moving the whole business to Renewable Energy.
5. One short telephone call could have you moving from burning Coal for your home electricity to a Green Energy account.
This is not a riot – but it is an emergency, and the response should match the scale of the problem.
There will be no global treaty on Climate Change without a solution for the poor.
The poor in every country are generally low emitters, and models of Low Carbon lives; yet because they are poor, it’s easy for their economic concerns to be swept aside in the global efforts to revive the big Energy systems.
One thing is clear, imposing a “dollar economy”, and thrusting international markets traded in American Dollars on the world’s poor is not the same as creating an environment for true social and sustainable development.