Britain should avoid dangerous #nuclear distraction – News release from the Green Party.

Here in the Eastern Region we are on the verge of another reactor at #Sizewell, as well as one Bradwell, the technology is far from safe, with the waste generated being left for generations to come. Sadly, the Green Party is now the only political Party opposing nuclear power in this country. While public opinion here and across the world is swinging strongly against nuclear.

 East of England Green Party Co-ordinator Rupert Read said, “Nuclear power is a toxic timebomb. It is the very opposite of green. It is crazy to be contemplating building new nuclear, while the situation at Fukushima in Japan is still spiralling out of control.”

 
  Green Party national Deputy Leader Adrian Ramsay, speaking in Norwich, has responded to the
 government’s announcement that up to eight new reactor sites have been
 designated for development on behalf of the national Green Party.

 Mr Ramsay said:

 “While the Conservatives and LibDems often talk about being ‘the greenest
 government ever’, the Coalition partners show their real priorities with
 their policies. Reducing carbon emissions must be a top priority; this
 fixation on nuclear will divert investment away from the real solution –
 energy efficiency measures and renewable energy.”

 With the recent revelation that three of the four affected reactors at
 Fukushima experienced full meltdown, and plants in America being put on
 alert or shut down as a result of flooding alongside the Missouri River
 [1], the risks involved with nuclear power are being illustrated all too
 clearly. And the public is taking notice; Italian voters have
 overwhelmingly rejected Silvio Berlusconi’s plans to restart the
 country’s nuclear programme [2], and Germany has committed to closing
 all of its plants by 2022 [3].

 Mr Ramsay concluded:

 “There are good reasons why countries across Europe are turning away from
 nuclear power and yet the British government is taking us in the opposite
 direction. Nuclear power creates a toxic legacy of waste and is bad value
 for money. Investing the same amount in energy efficiency and renewable
 energy would make much more difference more quickly in reducing carbon
 emissions, making our energy supply more secure and creating skilled,
 lasting jobs.”

 Notes

 1. See
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jun/22/nuclearpower-nuclear-waste

 2. See
 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/referendum-results-kill-italys-nuclear-plans-as-berlusconis-future-uncertain/article2059123/  95% of Italians voted NO to nuclear.

 3. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13592208

Upcoming Seminar…Sustainability and social democracy

Sustainability and social democracy

A seminar to debate how the centre-left and the environmental movement can share goals, policies and approaches.

Progressives have been torn by how to respond in principle, in practice and politically to increased global temperatures and the rise of environmental politics. Compass has produced an e-book looking at whether and how the traditions of social democracy and sustainability might be squared. A range of authors examine exactly how social democracy should respond to the imperative of sustainability.

Compass with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is holding a morning seminar of key Labour, union and environmental politicians, thinkers and activists to discuss the e-book and begin a more fundamental debate about whether and how the social and democratic can be reconciled with the sustainable. This UK focused seminar is a precursor to a bigger European seminar being planned for the Autumn 2012 in London as part of the Compass/FES ongoing Building the Good Society debate.

The Sustainability and Social Democracy Debate

Thursday 14th July 2011
At the London Office of the FES
66 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3BN

Agenda

Speakers will introduce the topics briefly which will allow for maximum discussion time.

9.00 Welcome and Introduction
Neal Lawson (Compass)

9.05 General Principles of Red/Green politics. Where do we agree, where do we differ?
Neal Lawson (Compass) Jean Lambert (tbc) (Green MEP for London)

10.05 Coffee Break

10.15 Is Economic Growth Desirable?
Introduction by Victor Anderson (Convener of the Compass Sustainability Panel) Responses from Cllr Rupert Read (Green Party) and Howard Reed (Landman Economics)

11.30 Red/Green Politics in Practice – How to build red/green coalitions
John Hare (Green Party) and Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party)

12.30 Concluding Comments and Next Steps
Victor Anderson and Neal Lawson

12.45 End

Talk on guardians for future generations, given by me

FORTHCOMING SEMINAR

Thursday 14th July 2011, 1300-1400

45B AZ 04

University of Surrey

Dr Rupert Read

UEA (Philosophy)

A policy proposal to take future generations seriously:

Strong guardians

 

 

Plato said that, if we are to have a just society, we should be ruled by guardians. Habermas and

other deliberative-democratic philosophers of course abhor such autocracy. But: what if the

guardians were selected democratically, by sortition? And what if their deliberations became in turn

a high-profile model of what deliberation in a democratic society could be?

Still, there seems little case for substituting guardians for normal elected representatives, for

decisions which can be made about us, by us ourselves or by people who represent us. But: what

about cases where the people who ought to be heard in or even to be making the decisions have

no voice — even over matters which are life or death matters for them?

Future people are the most obvious case of such people. I present therefore a broadly

Habermasian case for powerful guardians for future people, not only to act so as to give future

people standing in the political system, but, and more importantly, to take the formal place

occupied in our current political system by the royal assent, and make something meaningful and

major out of it: to give future people a real veto (as our kings and queens used to have) over

legislation. This would be likely to produce outcomes a lot closer to perfect, or at least a lot further

from impending apocalypse, than those provided by our current institutions. For it would give future

people not just a proxy voice, but the closest approximation we can give them to a vote, indeed a

casting vote, that where necessary comprehensively outvotes us, the people alive today. And after

all, this is surely appropriate; for, so long as we bequeath to future people a decent and survivable

inheritance, there will over time be a lot more of them than there are of us…

 

 

Enquiries to Claire Livingston, RESOLVE Admin Assistant, 01483 686689

40Mw biomass plant using straw (and wood) under consultation… AND: Straw shortages in region… Hmmm…

From our local paper, the Eastern Daily Press:

1. Thursday June 15th :  Public to “have their say” on 40Mw Snetterton biomass plant using straw and wood chip:  See http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/biofuelwatch/message/4818  [I will be going to a preview of this public exhibition.]

2. Friday June 16th :  Shortage of straw fears for pig farmers (as below) reported by NFU

… A need for joined up thinking about resources ?! …

Shortage of straw fears for pig farmers

By MICHAEL POLLITT, Agricultural editor
Friday, June 17, 2011
8:16 AM

A shortage of straw from drought-stricken crops across eastern England will cause headaches for livestock farmers, the National Pig Association warned last night.

As arable farmers gathered for the industry event, Cereals 2011, the National Farmers’ Union estimated that the national wheat harvest will be 15pc lower than the five-year average yield.

Barley crops grown for animal feed and for maltsters along the eastern seaboard have been hit hard by the drought and some Norfolk farmers are turning cereals into animal feed.

Arable farmers are being urged to bale all available straw this year, including from oilseed rape crops to assist livestock producers who face a serious shortage of bedding. It could also pose problems for vegetable growers, who traditionally use hundreds of tonnes of straw to protect over-wintered root crops like carrots and parsnips.

“There is going to be significant straw deficit in the eastern half of England and we need all arable farmers to go the extra mile to help keep their pig farmer customers in business,” said Howard Revell, chairman of the NPA’s producer group.

He said that pig farmers, who use more than 350,000 tonnes of straw, were already paying record prices for straw because they might not be enough to last the winter.

The NFU’s prediction for the wheat harvest, which was announced yesterday at Cereals 2011, suggested a 14pc reduction of two million tonnes to 12m tonnes. Although the area in England planted was about the same as last year, the driest spring for a century has hit crops.

Last year, the total wheat harvest was 13.7m tonnes and an average yield of 7.82 tonnes per hectare or 3.1 tonnes an acre. The NFU’s latest survey of farmers in eastern southern and central England suggests a yield of 6.5 tonnes per ha – one of the lowest figures for 20 years.

The NFU also estimated that yields of oilseed rape could be about 9pc less than the five-year average.

Many farmers in the east irrigated cereal crops in the spring against a backdrop of sharply increased cereal prices.

A tonne of feed wheat, for delivery in November, will be worth £185 against £94 per tonne last year. This northern European drought will further increase pressure on the prices of bread and food generally because of supply shortages will increase costs across every sector.

Last Friday, the government declared an official state of drought in parts of eastern England and some irrigation restrictions have already been imposed on about 100 farmers. Another 200 in Suffolk could be hit later this month.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

RR comments: Distance is one big issue with this biomass plant.  They will likely say that they will vary demand based on market conditions,of course, and they will present straw as a waste stream – clearly isn’t as far as pig farmers are concerned!   The wood is actually more worrying, and claims to source locally will be overtaken by events, as the UK biomass market demand starts to dwarf local/UK supply chains – local supply will go out of the window…

This biomass plant proposal does NOT, once one looks into the detail, look remotely green, to me…

Green Party wins by-election on Rochford District Council

Congratulations to Diane Hoy on last night's great result!:

>> Green – 757 – 50%
>> Tory -555 – 36%
>> Lab – 182 – 12%
>> UKIP – 26 – 2%

More news on Cllr Michael Hoy's blog
http://mikehullbridge.wordpress.com/

Nice comments from the local Labour Party
http://labourinrochford.com/2011/06/16/one-less-tory-%e2%80%93-one-more-green/

This takes us to 4 principle authority councillors in Essex and means we
have a group on Rochford (2) to join the group on Braintree (2).

Eastern Region now has 42 Green PA councillors on 14 authorities, compared
to 2 on 1 in 1999.

What ecological sustainability ought to mean

Ecological sustainability require some kind of aspiration at least to genuinely respect the limits to growth. That we as a species have already breached. (See http://books.google.com/books/about/Beyond_the_limits.html?id=0ZO4AAAAIAAJ )
 

Here’s my take on how these issues, especially the Green New Deal or its successor, should be framed:

 
What we actually need I think is the kind of programme envisaged in Tim Jackson’s Prosperity without growth. ‘Sustainable growth’ by contrast is a piece of deceptive spin. I can’t sign up to it; it would be like signing up to support ‘clean coal’. It would be great if there were any reason at all to believe that it is an attainable objective. There isn’t (see Porritt’s book for the proof, btw), and there is good reason (see the work of Herman Daly, etc.) to believe that there is a principled reason why not. Because endless growth is a delusion, a fantasy. Now more than ever, with the world’s ecological limits being increasingly breached, we need I believe to be clear about this.