George Monbiot speech part 1:
George Monbiot speech part 2:
Audience questions and George Monbiot’s answers:
Here George Monbiot speaks about the Copenhagen summit, climate change and about Wales’ sustainable energy requirements, recorded at the Pierhead Sessions event in Cardiff. If you didn’t attend the event it’s well worth sitting through the whole thing.
At the very end of the speech he throws down an audacious challenge to Wales:
we are perhaps in a position to become the first carbon negative country on Earth – in other words to actually actually cut more carbon emissions than we produce… it provides a shining example to the rest of the world, where we to take that step.
There may even be a bunch of caveats and challenges not immediately obvious from Monbiot’s presentation of the issues. But this is where dreamers and schemers like Monbiot can inspire us. Someone else can pick up the practicalities.
More devolution from the UK government is pretty much necessary for this. Wales’ energy requirements and distinctive advantages are different from those of England. The Syniadau blog makes a good summary of the issues here. In short, last week’s policy statement on renewable energy from the Welsh Assembly Government has some of the talk to move beyond coal burning but we don’t have the powers to actually make it happen.
In Wales, we are currently a net exporter of energy. It’s one of our lesser-championed products. Along with animation and cheese. But this abundance of energy comes at a cost to the environment.
So I’d also add that to maintain this income from energy, or even increase it, we should be backing sources we can rely on for the long term – wave, tidal, wind power and so on. As Monbiot points out, these are resources we have in abundance.
Surely even climate change deniers will be exhilarated by the suggestion of this? Allowing for his USA context, Tim O’Reilly gives us even more reasons to back sustainable energy sources.
Unfortunately, as Monbiot mentions, we have the staggering fact of open cast mining happening at Ffos y Frân in Merthyr, causing terrible noise, dust and smoke pollution from as little as 36 metres of the nearest house. All this has the approval of local Labour councillors, Welsh Assembly Government and the UK government.
Comments are turned off for this post but pingbacks and trackbacks are on. So if you write a response on your own blog and link to this post then yours will get a link below.