The Government’s recently-stated commitment to a major expansion of renewable
energy is welcome. Let’s hope this time it is for real, and not just a re-announcement of previous pledges… Achieving 15% of total
However, there is an equally large challenge which must be tackled at
the same time, to avoid the progress in renewables being undermined: The
UK needs to greatly improve efficiency to reduce demand across all
sectors. This will ensure that the switch to renewables can deliver
significant carbon reductions. Otherwise, gains in expanding renewables
could be lost to increasing demand and reliance on fossil fuels will
remain high. And that would mean more expensive food and fuel for all of us, forever
The Government has a poor track record on energy efficiency and has
failed to understand that endless growth in demand is incompatible with a switch
to a green economy.
There is much the Government could do, but refuses to do. A policy of investing to save energy in all public buildings could dramatically cut energy consumption in the public sector – and reduce the wastage that taxpayers currently pay for. Requiring
energy saving in the commercial sector could prevent offices and empty
car parks blazing away all night – one of the most visible examples of
energy wastage that contributes to the UK night skies being some of the
worst polluted by wasted light in the whole of Europe. And, most crucial of all, we need to roll out a programme of free home insulation for all, so that our houses are no longer leaking sieves letting heat out all the time, pointlessly, into the sky.
As fuel and energy prices continue to soar, and the manmade climate
change threat looms ever larger, the need to switch away from fossil
fuels becomes ever more clear. The
the Government’s contradictory and slow response to these challenges.
By contrast, the Green Party can be trusted to rise to this challenge, and implement the needed measures – measures that will save not only the planet but also the hard-earned money in your pocket.