Going off topic and off on one - green energy

The UK government has gone ahead with cuts to subsidies on solar panels less than a week after a deal in signed on limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Just curious, but how barking mad is that? And how barking mad is it that this is not the only such reverse from environmentalism that we've had?

I just skipped across to the BBC News website and opened the Science page to take a look. Okay it's a bit Tim Peake focussed at the moment - understandable given the UK's first ever astronaut has just joined the crew of the ISS - but there are still eight articles in the headlines and commentary sections that relate to global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it.

Britain is a great country for innovation - we seem to have it in our blood - but it is being stifled by policy shift after policy shift in precisely the wrong direction.

Now here's the rub. I am 48 years old next month. I have no children. Neither I nor my wife have siblings so there are no nieces and nephews around either. In thirty years or so my direct involvement with this planet will be done. If I publish books people might remember me longer but from my limited POV I could say I don't give a hoot about what happens to this world once I'm not longer a living, breathing part of it. Okay, let's extend that. Let's say I could care up to the point neither my wife nor I need it.

But it's not the case. I, for all their faults, rather like the members of the human race. Call me sentimental, but it's true. I like the idea that we will avoid killing ourselves off and make it to the stars and actual have one of those destiny things. Be nice too, it one day we find another sentient life form out there but that's the science fiction fan in me be romantic. I'll settle for us getting the hell out of this place before we destroy it and end up dead.

I'm hoping that most people on the face of this earth would agree with me which is why it irritates the heck out of me when decisions that go against what I consider sense are made. And it's not just the money. I understand that this government is trying to cut costs and do this austerity thing but there is still a future worth planning and striving for.

You see if we promote this kind of technology then we could be and remain a world leader in it and, in the long run, probably make money doing this touchy feely, hippy, save the planet crap. But no, cut the subsidy now, kill an industry before it can stand alone and then when we need it in future we will end up buying a German engineered, Chinese built solution instead of selling ours to them.

And before you ask I have nothing against either of those countries or the citizens of them. I'm a pretty accepting kind of person - free thinking liberal and all that. But I am British and I would like to be proud of what my country is doing. The problem is, too much of what I see depresses me and this negative attitude towards protecting the world that, as far as we know, is the only place we can survive seems completely against the idea of fair play and leadership that I was brought up thinking being British meant.

We shouldn't be exporting our problems to others and delegating our responsibility to them along with them. We should be holding our hands up and admitting a sizeable portion of this problem was our making and we will be at the forefront of the effort to put it right.

Anyway - rant over. I'll put my soapbox back in the cupboard under the stairs where it should probably stay and get back to writing. Sorry to have gone off topic.


MadScientist said…
The biggest failure in energy thinking by the British government is that they assume renewable energy prices will stay the same. Solar energy in particular is getting steadily cheaper - fracking and North Sea oil will become increasingly uneconomic, and locking in a high price for nuclear energy will look increasingly insane.
Edmund Lester said…
I couldn't agree more. It will become more and more cost effective when compared to the other forms of energy as the tech improves and it becomes cheaper to manufacture the cells and turbines whilst easy to extract fossil fuels become scarcer and the price increases.

This recent downwards slide of oil price is just a blip caused by multiple factors not a long term trend. And unfortunately the green energy industry the UK could have had is being destroyed by a short termism in government.

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