A month ago the Philippines was devastated by one of the most powerful storms ever. These catastrophic events are becoming more frequent as climate change fuels our weather system with more and more energy.
You’d think that husky driver Dave would get it, realising that before long he won’t be able to use the Arctic for photo opportunities because there won’t be any ice to slide on.
But no, in the face of understandable anger about rocketing energy prices Mr Cameron and many other political leaders have ditched the green agenda and reverted to short term measures that may please the voters but will do little to save the planet.
Tory Ministers claim they are still committed to the “Vote Blue Get Green” strategy from 2010 and the Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey says his party is still making a green difference in the Coalition, but the facts say otherwise. The Green Deal has had a very poor take up, mainly because households investing in it see their savings being used to pay the interest charges on energy saving installations.
Then there is the insulation programme which is now going to be rolled out over a longer time span. However Ministers want to dress it up, that means a delay in making more homes energy efficient.
It looks as if “ditch the green crap” is going to be the underlying sentiment as we approach the next election. We should not be surprised. Good green policies are very difficult for politicians because they require long term vision. They’ll all be dead before monster typhoons are constantly ravaging the tropics and the polar ice is gone. Come to think of it the Palace of Westminster will have gone to a watery grave as well.
The energy companies are getting nervous. They are the new bankers, the greedy fat cats that everyone loves to hate. Many of the criticisms of the energy firms is justified but they are the ones who have to invest in our non carbon energy future. The press they are now getting and the political pressure (like Ed Miliband’s price freeze) is hardly going to encourage them to take extra investment risks.
A massive off shore wind project was cancelled in the Bristol Channel recently. The official reason was that the physical challenges were too great. I’m not so sure. The word is going round that the steam has gone out of the green agenda.
The energy companies have seen Ministers ease their green obligations and there is speculation that the latter will be back for more. It is suggested that among their targets are further cuts in the Energy Company Obligation, a review of the smart metering scheme and scrapping the carbon emission floor price that currently helps keep the cost of nuclear and renewable energy cheaper.
Let’s never forget that there are big job opportunities in a proper green agenda. Take for example the insulation industry. Those involved have not been slow to recognise the implications of the politicians panic.
We need a consistent long term energy policy involving nuclear, fracking and renewables. Unpopular decisions have to be taken by courageous politicians with vision. Something sorely lacking at the moment.