Newspapers and climate change

As a result of the consistently partisan articles denying climate change in The Times newspaper, Dr Russell Jones complained to the Press Complaints Commission.  (The PCC regulates newspapers in the UK.

RRJ to Times 2 Nov 11

RRJ to PCC 11 Nov 11

PCC to RRJ 29 Nov 11

RRJ to PCC 21 dec 11 and RRJ to PCC 21 dec 11 – items1-7

PCC to RRJ 17 jan 12

RRJ to PCC 30 jan 12 and RRJ to PCC 30 jan 12 – items 8-17

PCC to RRJ 3 feb 12

RRJ to PCC 4 Jun 12 and RRJ to PCC 4 Jun 12 – items 1-6

The government must not renege on its green pledges

The Observer, 10 June 2012:

The attempt by George Osborne to cut the subsidy to onshore windfarms indicates that the government’s energy policy is in disarray. Although Osborne is bowing to pressure from rightwing Tories, a recent poll shows that seven out of 10 people in the UK support the development of windfarms. It is unfortunate that governments try to interfere with the renewable market by subsidising some forms of renewable more than others, whereas the sensible approach would be to provide an equal feed-in tariff for all sources and leave the market to decide whether it wishes to pursue wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, hydro etc.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Planetary SOS
Stoke Poges, Bucks



Microgeneration must be part of the mix

The Guardian, 8 June 2012:

Generating electrical power and heat locally from renewable sources is a no-brainer for the farming community, but microgeneration schemes could also be exploited by hundreds of communities (Report, 5 June). The problem is that government policy is wedded to the six big energy companies, which see the consumer as the lucrative end-point of a massive distribution system, with power stations miles from the point of delivery. Not only is this macro-model highly prone to blackouts, it is massively inefficient: as much as two-thirds of the energy generated is lost even before it leaves the power station. Of course, the big six don’t mind, as they are only concerned about maximising profits. Meanwhile, the government seems determined to compound the problem by investing in nuclear, whereas the obvious solution is to invest that same money in energy conservation. Unfortunately, the previous Labour administration put that programme in the hands of the energy companies, so that of the 6m or so houses in the UK that would benefit from cavity wall insulation, only about 17,500 have actually been insulated.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Planetary SOS

How wind farms will overcome the disinformation

Independent, 5 June 2012:

I am not the least surprised that 7 out of 10 people in the UK support the development of wind farms (report, 4 June) as only a minority read those right-wing newspapers that act as organs of mass disinformation on climate change and the desperate need for a sensible energy policy. More serious is the opposition voiced by bodies such as the National Trust, English Heritage and CPRE, which are becoming irrationally anti-environmental.

However, there are solutions. First the Government should stop trying to pick winners in the renewable market and subsidise all sources of renewable energy equally, leaving the market to decide on the most viable: market calculations will take account of local opposition to different technologies.

Second, wind turbines are being developed in Finland which employ thin blades made of fibre-reinforced plastic and which reach only half the height of existing turbines for the same energy capacity. They do not make the whistling noise that some local residents find so intrusive.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire