Thursday, February 14, 2008
Ask not what gets done for the planet, but what the planet gets from our meeting targets.
Addendum: Top and bottom. I just thought I'd post this grab of the chat page. When it says 'let yourself go', bearing in mind the topic and context, I wonder if this is what Expedia and the Gaurdian had in mind?
Gaurdian - Join our web chat on renewable energy
'...how we are going to reach that 15% target and whether 2008 will be a key year for the renewables market.'
Is there not a danger in all this that, as this sentence suggests, the the aim becomes more the meeting of a target and/or the creation of lucrative business models, at the expense of actually achieving a result? Too often I see the product delivery hijacked by the process and those with careers involved in it.
If, to put things simplistically, it is believed that it is the carbon dioxide and other 'pollutant' greenhouse gasses going into the atmosphere that are responsible for PMWCC (Probably man-worsened climate change), should not the reduction of these be viewed more in totality?
Once we break things out into convenient, isolated chunks it for sure makes things awfully easy to measure, tick boxes and/or reward, but perhaps does not adequately challenge the overall worth to our kids' futures on this planet.
I can live with a poor ROI in many cases. And hence have a concept of enviROI that allows for not 'making' money as an option for doing something if it has an environmental benefit.
But it does have a lower limit, as it can be argued that ploughing funds into something when they may be used more productively elsewhere might be equally flawed.
Hence my concern at having a set number of 'renewables' laid out in this manner, with still no clear idea as to how they get there, what they do, how well they do it and what their relative contributions to mitigation of our energy demands are.
The last such webchat - in the country's top online forum, and arguably most 'green', too - attracted a few dozen. Let's see how this pans out.
Wow. I was first up. And got an answer, too:
This raises some interesting issues. I’d say that having attractive business models is actually essential to achieving the targets, rather than a distraction. Even though governments play an essential role in the move to a low carbon economy, most of the required investment needs to come from the private sector. Fortunately, there are already very strong commercial opportunities in renewable and other low carbon technologies, and these are growing rapidly. As for breaking down the target into ‘chunks’, I agree there’s some sense in this and actually, it’s a necessary next step for the UK. Currently under debate is how much of the 15% should come from electricity, heat and transport, with one scenario being around 45%, 10% and 10% of the total usage of each. Since renewable electricity currently supplies about 4.5% and heat and transport around 1% each, this represents a tenfold increase on all fronts.
Was it was the one I was seeking? Not really. One has to question the value of these efforts as they inevitably (have to) deal in generalities, but I really din't quiet get to where I wanted on enviROI's, especially with thinsg getting stonkking subsidies just to exist and tick a box, without worrying too much on what they might do to help.