Category Archives: Green New Deal

Corbyn’s environment and energy plan

Corbyn has launched an environmental manifesto that outlines his plans for the UK to achieve 65% of energy from renewable sources by 2030 – without fracking.

corbyn-eee-manifestoHe undertakes to use the precautionary principle to protect the environment and people from harm – not a pay-to-pollute approach allowing the richest corporations and individuals to wreck our planet.

Jeremy Corbyn plans to put cities, councils, devolved governments and communities at the heart of an efficient decentralised energy system with:  

  • a shift to largely renewably generated electricity and hydrogen powered buses and cars;
  • a network of low-emission zones;
  • cycling on safe cycle lanes and hire schemes in every town and city;
  • more nature corridors created to connect protected nature sites, providing pathways for wildlife such as bats and butterflies and
  • a ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides which harm pollinating insects including bees and encourage bee-friendly plants in our parks, urban spaces and countryside.

Jeremy Corbyn also encourages the British public to take action as individuals to help to meet the Paris climate agreement.

A “publicly run, locally accountable energy system”.

He has promised to promote over a thousand local energy companies in the next parliament and legislate to give community energy co-operatives the right to sell energy directly to the communities they serve.

Launching the report in Nottingham, the Labour leader said, “We want Britain to be the world’s leading producer of renewable technology. To achieve this, we will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and drive the expansion of the green industries and jobs of the future, using our National Investment Bank to invest in public and community-owned renewable energy. This will deliver clean energy and curb energy bill rises for households; an energy policy for the 60 million, not the Big 6 energy companies.”

It would launch a National Home Insulation plan to insulate at least 4 million homes and phase out coal-fired power by 2025. The Labour leader estimates over 300,000 jobs would be created in the renewables sector as a result of these measures.

corbyn-eee-graphic

At the event in Nottingham, Jeremy Corbyn said that Labour would reinstate the department for energy and climate change in its first month of government, as part of its plan to rebuild and transform Britain, “so that no-one and no community is left behind”.

 

 

 

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Small countries making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy

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As the world gathers in Paris, the Guardian reports on small countries who are making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

It focusses on Uruguay, often described as the most democratic, secure and peaceful country in South America. It is regarded as a high income country (top group) by the UN and contributes more troops to UN peacekeeping missions than any other country. The agricultural sector exports family-farmed produce, including combed wool, rice, soybeans, beef, malt and milk.

uruguay windJonathan Watts in Montevideo reports that in less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs, according to the country’s head of climate change policy, Ramón Méndez. In fact, now that renewables – wind, biomass, solar power and hydropower, provide 94.5% of the country’s electricity, prices are lower than in the past relative to inflation. There are also fewer power cuts because a diverse energy mix means greater resilience to droughts.

Fifteen years ago oil accounted for 27% of Uruguay’s imports and a new pipeline was just about to begin supplying gas from Argentina. Now the biggest item on the import balance sheet is wind turbines.

uruguay solarWind, biomass and solar power, added to existing hydropower, mean that renewables now account for 55% of the country’s overall energy mix including transport fuel. The transport sector still depends on oil (which accounts for 45% of the total energy mix). But industry – mostly agricultural processing – is now powered predominantly by biomass cogeneration plants.

Energy investment in Uruguay over the past five years has surged to $7bn, or 15% of the country’s annual GDP. Ramón Méndez explains that as construction and maintenance costs are low, and investors are offered a secure regulatory environment, it is a very attractive prospect.

Compared with most other small countries with high proportions of renewables, the mix is diverse. While Paraguay and Lesotho rely almost solely on hydro and Iceland on geothermal, Uruguay has a spread that makes it more resilient to changes in the climate.

uruguay hydro

“For three years we haven’t imported a single kilowatt hour,” Méndez says. “We used to be reliant on electricity imports from Argentina, but now we export to them. Last summer, we sold a third of our power generation to them.” Heavy rain had boosted hydro output, allowing Uruguay to export energy to Argentina during four of September’s five weeks.

He adds that Uruguay has proved that renewables can reduce generation costs, can meet well over 90% of electricity demand without the back-up of coal or nuclear power plants, and the public and private sectors can work together effectively in this field.

uruguay 2 others

And we look again at the proposals recently made, that quantitative easing should provide funding for our climate change programmes.

Further reading:

http://elpais.com/m/elpais/2014/07/11/inenglish/1405089785_254270.html?rel=rosEP

http://www.elp.com/articles/2014/10/renewable-energy-up-fossil-power-down-in-uruguay.html