Monday, 9 February 2009

Wales - 13th Worst Carbon Dioxide Emitting Country in the World

Leaving aside that the "report" is one of a series of regular research briefings prepared by the Assembly's Research Unit to update AMs on the latest available data on climate change, this article makes some serious points.

Climate change is fast turning into a climate crisis. We are already witnessing melting ice caps, rising sea levels, more natural disasters such as floods, droughts and storms, unreliable and shifting agricultural patterns, the loss of wildlife and species extinction and the destruction of sea life habitats. Today we are watching the tragic consequences unfold from the fires in Australia. Very few serious people are now denying what professor Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government called back in 2004 "the biggest problem facing us globally this century. There is no bigger problem. The threat is quite simple; it's a threat to our civilisation."

Gordon James from Friends of the Earth is right when he says “The abundant political rhetoric we have had on the subject must be replaced by courageous action that will bring about big reductions in emissions in the very near future. Last week’s decision to give the go-ahead to a large power station at Pembroke instead of the far more efficient combined heat and power systems just shows how politicians are still delivering business as usual responses rather than the radical policy changes that are now essential.”

The story is taken up in the Western Mail editorial which says "Decisions like approving a huge opencast mine at Merthyr Tydfil and a gas-fired power station at Pembroke, which does not conform to the highest possible environmental standards, suggest the political commitment to combating climate change is no more than skin deep. It is no wonder that members of the public are confused by the very apparent mixed messages they are being fed."

The Assembly had no say over the LNG power station in Pembrokeshire. Recognising this lack of power as a major barrier to progress on cutting Welsh carbon dioxide emissions, the editorial goes on to argue for the Assembly to "have planning control over the biggest power station applications – the very plants that have the greatest impact on climate change." Of course, I agree that this would be a good step, but we've still got a long way to go before we resolve the jobs versus environment arguement in a way which doesn't involve building more and more massive polluters.

1 comment:

Draig said...

To say that "the Assembly had no say over the LNG power station in Pembrokeshire" is a cop out.

There was, and is, nothing to stop Jane Davidson going public and telling the Welsh public the truth - that the Assembly's climate change strategy is nothing but meaningless spin without the power to stop these huge developments being imposed on our country.

A strong standpoint might actually rally public support. As it stands the Assembly's renewable generation targets are meaningless, and it's an insult to our intelligence to pretend otherwise.

And of course, to top it off, Plaid Cymru is now propping up and legitimising this shambolic arrangement. The Assembly is effectively covering for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and that's a disgrace. This is London's agenda, and Plaid is tacitly supporting it.

You really need to understand Leanne that what you get when you mix Red and Green is Brown...