Monday, August 13, 2007

Coming clean on going green?

Well, it would seem that our esteemed government has once again shot itself through both bollo ..... errrm, feet. This from The Guardian highlights a leaked internal briefing memo in which they admit that the UK has absolutely no chance of meeting it's 'renewables' targets.

Uncle Tony signed up to the EU target of 20% of energy from 'renewables' by 2020 under a blaze of publicity and a great deal of self congratulatory crowing. Now it appears that we will be lucky to even meet 5% by 2020!

"It said that Britain had achieved 'little so far' on wind, solar or hydroelectric sources of power, and even getting to 9% from the current level of 2% would be 'challenging'. On current policies, renewables would only account for 5% of Britain's overall energy mix by 2020."

And worse, the re-badged DTI (have this lot never read Gaius Petronius?) advised "lobbying EU member states to agree that the target could be interpreted more flexibly by including investment in solar farms in north Africa, or by counting nuclear energy as 'renewable'."

And there's a section in the briefing memo that "asks ministers to examine 'what options there are for statistical interpretations of the target that would make it easier to achieve'."
Good lord! That's an instruction to feel free to make up numbers and tell lies any time you need to!

In summary, it looks now as if the target was an unachievable sham, and while the publicity made our ex-leader look good at the time, the real truth is that our current leadership team are simply looking for ways to prevaricate their way out of the mess by dissembling, skull-duggery, statistical manipulation and even downright cheating.

It's all too reminiscent of Nero fiddling while Rome burned - perhaps they could have entitled the piece - 'Coming clean on going Brown'? And of course no-one will get sacked, side-lined, punished or admonished at all, whilst still maintaining their gold plated pensions and salaries; it will all be smoothed over with more bull.

Arse covering, spin and blame deflection seem to be the only things our wonderful government are any good at all, under whatever leader!

The EC might be showing its teeth, but our lot appear to be simply passing lies through theirs!

More on this story from View London.
"Officials at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform would not comment on the document". Well, there's a surprise!

Ooooh look! We now have an official response from the PMS. See Downing Street Says.
Hmmm, they argued their way out of that one well didn't they?
Today's Guardian (14/8) has another interesting article from George Monbiot, who can always be relied upon to stir up the angst and ire of the masses. He points out, quite correctly, that back in March this year he questioned the government's 20% target. To be fair to Monbiot, he hardly crows about this at all (just an in passing 'lying bastards'), as the main thrust of his piece is the apparent contradiction that the media portrays whereby an editorial on one page exhorts us to become greener, whilst advertising alongside is for 4x4's and exotic travel holidays. Definitely well worth a read.

Addendum 2:
Well, it seems that the EC is still confident that the UK will meet its 20% emissions reduction target. See this from the International Local Government Association.
Given the chicanery and statistical manipulation that is going on I rather feel that that confidence is spectacularly misplaced!

1 comment:

Lawrence Clark said...

The original 20% commitment did raise some eyebrows at the time as this is a commitment to produce 20% of energy from renewables, not just 20% of electricity!!

To put rough numbers on it, the UK uses about 2800 Terrawatt hours per year of energy, but only 400 TWh of that is delivered electricity. So imagine if all the nuclear, coal and gas-fired power stations are closed down in 13 years time and replaced with renewables. That will give us 400 TWh of renewable electricity. Currently about 600 TWh is wasted as heat in power stations, so you might argue that the UK's true energy requirement is 'only' 2200 TWh. This would mean 19% of energy from renewables if we replace all non-renewable sources of electricity generation!

The above is not really a realistic way of getting to low carbon energy, but gives an idea of the scale of the problem! I think the politicians had no practical idea of what they signed up to....