We need to get serious
NICK Harvey's assurances about the Energy Bill ('Taking steps towards renewable energy in the future', Journal, November 29) are complacent given that last week a UN Environment Programme report warned that the world is failing to take sufficient measures to prevent global warming exceeding 2C above pre-industrial levels. This is the limit beyond which irreversible climate change will take place.
The warning is just one out of many contained in other authoritative reports over the last few years, and what they state should be taken in the light of recent severe weather.
Despite this evidence, there is no commitment in the Energy Bill to decarbonise energy supply in the UK by a target date, an omission which will discourage investment in the renewables we need to reduce carbon emissions.
The commitment in the Bill to gas-fired power stations will increase carbon emissions as well as energy prices, unlike energy from renewables which will come down in price over time – and already has in the case of onshore wind energy, which is already cheaper than energy from coal and from new nuclear installations.
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Most importantly, the Bill does not incorporate the most effective green energy policy of all – cutting energy consumption. Putting this in context, Germany is projecting a decline of 25 per cent in energy demand while the UK is set for a rise of two-thirds.
Given the scandalous absence of Government commitment to the strategic decisions needed to secure our future, it is even more important that we not only lobby our MPs and take collective action but that we also incorporate more energy saving and efficiency in to our everyday lives.
This can mean deciding on, say, ten actions, such as buying fewer packaged products or buying products with recycled packaging or ensuring that lights are switched off when rooms are not occupied, turning off appliances at the wall when not in use, reducing washing machine and fridge settings, only boiling the water you need in a kettle and reducing car use.
Retailers could commit to conserving energy by keeping shop doors shut rather than letting heat escape to the street and office managers could ensure that computers and lights are turned off at night.
We need to get serious about our energy use before it is too late.