Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don't let the Government water down renewables targets!

Today's story in the Guardian that the Treasury and Department Formerly Known as the DTI (BERR) are seeking to persuade Gordon Brown to scupper the European renewable energ targets is a brilliant piece of journalism.

We already know (from witnesses from the renewables/efficiency industry who have sat on the relevant committees and consultations such as Jeremy Leggett and Andrew Warren) that for the lifetime of this government the Treasury under Brown has blocked many attempts to back renewables.

We know that the government thinks nuclear power new build is a one-solution-fits-all option for addressing climate change.

We know the reason is that it believes that the nuclear costs won't be borne by the taxpayer but business.

Instead BERR believes that reaching Germany's current position of 9% renewable electricity by 2010 would cost the taxpayer £4bn.

We know that the off-balance sheet Treasury debt caused by PFI is in the tens of billions area (they won't reveal exactly how much).

In this context it seems to these antediluvian mandarins that despite the length of time it will take nuclear to get up and running and the urgency of the climate change crisis, it's better to wattewr down targets than attack the problem on all fronts.

This is a monumental act of cowardice. What is needed is strong leadership like that shown in Germnany, the world leader in renewables.

German industry is reaping the benefit of its R&D investment in wind and solar with bursting order books abroad.

Britain has missed the boat so many times.

We need a massive push to force the Climate Change Bill, EU targets and Energy Bill to enshrine positive long-sighted policies that will benefit Britain for the next hundred or more years.

Not policies that will saddle us with guilt, regret and a legacy of nuclear waste for thousands of years.

The Low Carbon Kid urges Greenpeace to take the government to court again for its smoke-and-mirrors second nuclear consultation.

The sad thing is the Tories also back nuclear power. Only the LibDems would go for the ambitious targets. But they have no power.

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