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UK election and the environment

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop' started by amusicsite, 30 Nov 2019.

  1. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    So last night I watched the climate debate from Channel 4. It’s the only real issue I care passionately about, though obviously there are other issues I do care about. Firstly I have to say hats off to C4 for hosting the debate. Though there are a number of issues about the environment I really feel are still not being discussed. Mainly the tax breaks that the fossil fuel industry gets in the UK. A recent EU report highlighted that the UK has the highest tax breaks in the EU. Something around £10 BILLION A YEAR! Compare that to the 8 billion spent on renewables. Now the Green party says they would spend the most on the environment, 50 billion over 5 years iirc. Which could easily be paid for just by cutting the subsidies to the fossil fuel industries. Yet none of the questions, politicians or ‘experts’ even mentioned subsidies.

    Next up is the fact this is a global problem. It was good to see so many pledge to reduce UK pollution but the fact is we contribute 1% of the global pollution directly. So even if we went 100% carbon neutral by next year it would make very little difference globally. No one mentioned helping other countries move to a greener future. How about using our rather generous aid budget of £14 Billion to help countries install renewable energy? Most of our aid goes to supplying goods and services like vaccines and schools which is ok but does very little to help people help themselves. How about putting aside 500 million or a billion of this budget to install solar power, wind farms, solar water pumps and water treatment plants to help poor heavily polluted countries clean up their act? It’s probably easier to cut 1% of the global output by helping others more than helping us clean up our act. Once again no one raised this point.

    Then there was energy generation. While they were all keen on pointing out how good we are doing at generating clean power, none of them talked about storage. Labour were committed to the over priced new nuclear power station saying we need a base load. Though none of them talked about how good grid scale batteries are getting these days and how these could be used to capture excess power and use it as part of the solution. It appeared to me that none of them really has a good base understanding of how to build a totally renewable based grid for the 21st century.

    Then there was the subject of air travel. This reminded me of the car problem 20 years ago. The solution seems to be to tax more, discourage this for of travel. The fact is that there is a massive development in electric powered flight. It’s in it’s early development but by the end of the next parliament it’s likely that you could fly a dozen or so people a few hundred miles on an electric plane. Within a year or two a two seater could be viable running off electric. So how about a law saying all new two seater planes must be electric by 2022. Or the California model of even increasing percentage of small planes being electric. We have a long aviation history and how about a push to get us at the cutting edge of electric planes. We also have quite a few short hall flights. Cross the channel, to our islands, over to Ireland or between cities, especially flying to Scotland that has poor alternatives. Other things like reducing the cost of train travel, tax on frequent flyers and the like are a good idea but once again we could do more and it was not discussed.

    So it’s good that it was on the agenda but still seems to be lip service.