9 Mar 2009

Britain near bottom of table on green measures

Friday's government announcement of 400,000 "green jobs" misses the point of the Green New Deal.

The Green party's Professor John Whitelegg has commented: "The Brown New Deal is not a Green New Deal. It relies on nuclear power, which is not remotely green and which sustains the fewest jobs per megawatt of any form of electricity generation. Replace nuclear with renewable energy and you will get the same amount of energy with far more jobs, and ultimately at a lower cost. And carbon capture is neither zero-carbon nor jobs-rich. The government recently trailed a claim of only 50,000 jobs in so-called 'clean coal' by 2030. But figures soon to be released by the Green Party will show how wind energy could create four times as many jobs ten years sooner. We know how to achieve a zero-carbon economy through jobs-rich green energy policies, so why on earth should we tinker with jobs-poor unproven technology that keeps us dependent on fossil fuels?"

As The Independent have reported the Chancellor's opposition to a real Green New Deal has led to Britain falling far behind other countries in launching measures that are vital to help Britain grow.

Mr Darling is frustrating a drive by Ed Miliband and 'Dark Knight' Peter Mandelson, the new Energy and Business secretaries, to launch a "low-carbon industrial revolution" to combat climate change and boost business – and threatens to undermine an increasingly close partnership between Mr Brown and President Barack Obama to push the greening of the global economy at next month's G20 summit in London.

A survey by the HSBC bank puts Britain near the bottom of the international league, both in the amount of money it has devoted to green measures in its economic rescue package, and in the proportion of the stimulus devoted to them – even though it has spent a far higher proportion of its GDP on bailing out banks than any other country.

See Independent article yesterday saying more on this here. The FT also reports the criticisms last week - see here - they argue economic stimulus plans being rolled out across the world could commit countries to rapid growth in greenhouse gas emissions, cancelling out some of the green initiatives included within them. The packages of tax cuts, credits and extra spending have been trumpeted for their environmental credentials by the governments proposing them, but a closer look shows that green spending account for only a small part of the bigger initiatives.


Philip Booth said...

I just came across this bit of news:

There is disquiet about what is happening in these cash-straitened times to bills passed with considerable fanfare through ours, the mother of parliaments. Asked why sections of the Warm Homes Act seem to have been left unloved and unimplemented, ministers said: we haven't got the funding. But implementation expenses were made available by statute within the act itself, said the likes of Help the Aged and Friends of the Earth. Oh that, said Joan Ruddock, the climate change minister - "Provisions like that section are commonly included in bills, and therefore in acts of parliament, without any intention that they should have a substantive legal effect," she explained when challenged by Dai Davies MP. So the money is there, but in fact it isn't. Ministers have to implement the law, but in fact they don't. They listen when they want and hear what they like.

Guardian 24th Feb 2009

Merci said...

Shock, horror: plus ca change...!

Anonymous said...

Both Gordon Brown and Barack Obama have talked of the need for green investment as a response to the economic crisis. But your graph showing what percentage of each country's economic recovery package is actually devoted to green investments is quite revealing (Special report - green economy: Guardian 24/2/09). The UK's planned spending on green initiatives, at just 7% of the total UK package, is dwarfed by US spending at 16%. Barack Obama certainly talked up the importance of the green agenda during his election campaign, but within weeks of being sworn in he is now delivering $825 billion dollars of investment. What a contrast to the Labour Government who talked the green talk in back 1997 but whose commitment and delivery is as half-hearted and inadequate today as it was twelve years ago.

Cllr. Darren Johnson AM
Green Party Member