Miliband's energy blueprint: more hot air or full steam ahead?

Posted by jamie — 15 July 2009 at 6:20pm - Comments

While today is unlikely to go down in the annals of history as Green Wednesday, it's still a significant day for those of us concerned about climate change as climate and energy secretary Ed Miliband unveils his big energy strategy.

The strategy - the Low Carbon Transition Plan, no less - comes in the form of not one but a whole ream of papers (including an energy white paper) covering renewable energy, transport, industry and carbon budgets. Together, they form a blueprint explaining how the government hopes to achieve the emissions reductions it's legally obliged to deliver, thanks to the EU renewable energy targets and the UK's own Climate Change Act.

Was it a red letter day for green energy? Let's see.

EU pulls a renewable energy surprise out of the bag

Posted by jamie — 15 December 2008 at 3:33pm - Comments

Despite the gloom coming out of the EU climate talks at the end of last week (and the non-event that UN discussions on the same topic in Poznan appear to have been), there is one ray of hope shining from Brussels in the form of the Renewable Energy Target which will set binding goals for EU governments on sourcing energy from renewable sources.

It's been a tough road, not least because of ex-business secretary John Hutton's attempts to weaken the deal. Then it looked like some countries - Italy and Poland were the ringleaders - were going to knobble the agreement by demanding it be reviewed in 2014 but a compromise was put forward and a deal has been reached.

Climate actions in Gatwick, Essex and... Legoland?

Posted by jamie — 8 August 2008 at 11:39am - Comments

The Lego replica of Kingsnorth power station complete with 'Stop Climate Change' banner

The Lego replica of Kingsnorth power station complete with 'Stop Climate Change' banner © Hans Bricks

Not one, not two but at least three climate change-related happenings popped up around the country yesterday, many of them carried out by Climate Camp attendees. Although the camp is primarily focused on coal and the proposed new power station at Kingsnorth, today's activities also highlighted other climate threats such as aviation and biofuels. Here is just a taste of what's been happening:

Biofuels failing 'green' standards

Posted by jamie — 7 August 2008 at 1:37pm - Comments

From today's Guardian:

"Less than a fifth of the biofuel used on UK roads meets environmental standards intended to safeguard human rights and guarantee carbon savings, figures released today show.

"The Renewable Fuels Agency says just 19% of the biofuel supplied under the government's new initiative to use biofuel to help tackle global warming met the green standard. For the remaining 81% of the biofuel, suppliers could not say where it came from, or could not prove that it had been produced in a sustainable way."

But even this "green" standard is misleading, as it ignores the side-effects of biofuel production such as massive deforestation:

"The standard does not include carbon emissions from indirect effects such as changes in land use caused by biofuel planting, which experts have warned could cancel out their environmental benefits."

Brown's green revolution?

Posted by jossc — 26 June 2008 at 5:23pm - Comments

Offshore wind - at the heart of MR Brown's energy revolution?

Offshore wind - 3,500 new turbines by 2020?

Although the PM has taken a few verbal pastings from us over the past few months on key climate issues like airport expansion and new coal-fired power stations, in a new speech today he did much to redeem himself by announcing an ambitious plan to ensure Britain generates 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

To be sure, the government has promised as much in the past and failed to deliver, but there seemed to be something different about today's Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation - some meat on the bones which indicated that the plan might just be more than empty rhetoric. The government is consulting on ambitious plans designed to allow the UK to meet its share of an overall EU target to generate 20 per cent of energy (electricity, heat and transport) from renewables within 12 years.

A bad day for the climate as biofuel legislation kicks in

Posted by jamie — 15 April 2008 at 6:39pm - Comments

So, today the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) comes into effect and we'll all be using more biofuels as a result. Regular readers will know that this exciting piece of legislation will see 2.5 per cent of our petrol and diesel coming from food crops, and that we have been asking everyone to send emails to transport secretary Ruth Kelly asking her to postpone the RTFO. Now we need to see that she abandons so if you haven't expressed your concern about this already, you can still do so.

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