11 Feb 2012

Energy, climate and a wasted £50bn

New shock for solar - see here
Yesterday's Independent covered Greens three point plan on energy - I've copied it below - it is extraordinary - we have rising carbon emissions especially from home heating - and now by the government's own admission, loft lagging will fall by 93% when the Green Deal starts!!!
The fact that a six-month shutdown of the Sizewell nuclear reactor was partly to blame for the recorded rise in emissions is yet another reason for the government to ditch its belief that nuclear can deliver the secure, reliable and low-carbon energy we need for the future.

The Bank of England has just launched it's latest quantitative easing - £50billions worth! A new report from the Green New Deal Group and Southampton University economics professor Richard Werner, who coined the term quantitative easing, is calling for such cash to be injected into green investment to support badly needed renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Yet it goes to the banks!!! What a waste - they could have put the money into the wider economy - creating thousands of new jobs, improving energy security and tackling climate change at the same time. What planet are they on? Caroline Lucas has a comment piece on that here and below is Caroline Lucas' piece with the End the Big Energy Fix campaign that made front page of The Independent:

It is estimated that more than five million people in the UK are facing fuel poverty. Average annual household bills for gas and electricity exceed £1,200, and uSwitch has predicted that by 2020 this could rise to £3,202. Yet energy companies' profit margins go up and up. Ofgem warned last October that profits on dual fuel deals had risen from £15 per household to £125 – a rise of 733 per cent.

Something is going very wrong and it's time we did something about it. That's why today more than 100 public figures have launched a new cross-party campaign called End the Big Six Energy Fix.
We are proposing three simple and sensible solutions.

First, we are calling on the Government to impose a similar levy to the one it has imposed on North Sea oil companies and the big banks. Over time, such a levy could raise billions, revenues that could be ring-fenced and used to ensure that every home is insulated and highly energy-efficient – starting with the homes of the fuel-poor. This would form part of a Green New Deal and would help to create thousands of new skilled jobs.

Second, to prevent energy companies from passing the cost of any levy on to customers, we want the Government to give Ofgem the power to cap prices. This could be linked to the wholesale price to make energy prices fairer. Third, we want the Government to launch a public inquiry into the Big Six energy companies. The industry has a huge problem in terms of trust, and it is in the interests of energy suppliers themselves that these issues be addressed. We then need to devise appropriate reforms that ensure we have a market and an industry that serve people and planet before profit.
Energy provision should be viewed not merely as a market commodity, but as a crucial public service on which we all rely.

Caroline Lucas is the leader of the Green Party and one of the key figures behind the Compass campaign

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