Hinkley Point review gives UK golden opportunity


The Guardian, 29 July 2016:

Energy conservation and renewables are the only possible solution to the world’s energy problems and the need to move as fast as possible to a low-carbon economy (Hinkley Point deal delayed by minsters, 29 July). Sadly, the UK has been rowing in the opposite direction by rigging the market in favour of shale gas. We can only hope that George Osborne’s irrational hostility towards renewables will now be abandoned by the new “green team” of Greg Clark, Jo Johnson and Nick Hurd at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). As a matter of urgency, they need to scrap HS2 and use the money on a European supergrid in order to iron out fluctuations from different sources of renewable energy. We need not only a new green deal, but huge investment in local microgeneration projects. And, if the government insists on going down the nuclear route, it should develop small modular reactors and locate them on ships not land, as shipping contributes 4.5% of carbon emissions world-wide and this is set to increase 30% by 2020.

Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Help Rescue the Planet

Hansard transcript, July 12

Dear Sir Venki, ladies and gentleman,

“Reasonably reassuring” is not a phrase that springs to mind after Theresa May’s latest appointments. Angela Leadsom at DEFRA is a fox in the chicken coup. According to the Times she has accepted invitations from free market think-tanks  (ALEC) to attend pro-fracking conferences in the US. Other Leadsom attributes of major concern to the environment are listed in the accompanying letter to the Guardian which I asked Alex Chalk (MP Cheltenham Cons) to forward to Amber Rudd or Theresa May  earlier this week (he declined !).  The prospects for improving air quality in this country are now bleak, and Client earth’s case against HMG will fail once we have exited the EU (though not before).

I gather that Business and Energy have now been fused so there is no longer a Secretary of State with a climate change brief. Doubtless Leadsom will have much to say in Cabinet on the unimportance of global warming.

My other concern stems from the fact that  BBC News are completely useless when it comes to the Environment, air quality, diesel pollution and climate change. Over the past 3 years they have sacrificed Truth on the altar of “Balance”, and repeated the process prior to the Referendum. The implications for Air Quality and the Environment hardly got a mention prior to Brexit, and none of the Leave advocates were ever asked exactly which bits of EU legislation they thought that the UK would be better off without. If you look at the Hansard link below, you will see that the percentage of air-time devoted to environment, air quality and climate change pre-Brexit was 1.7%, but on BBC TV there was no coverage at all ! (See contribution from Rebecca Pow Conservative MP from Taunton).

For those that are interested I have already reported the BBC to the Select Committee for Culture Media and Sport for the lamentable coverage of environmental issues, and climate change in particular (Attached).  I am still awaiting a response 2 months later.  Correct me if I’m being pessimistic here, but it seems to me that the Neanderthals have taken over.

Best wishes,

Dr Robin Russell-Jones MA FRCP FRCPath
Chair Help Rescue the Planet

Progress on HFCs has been glacial


Financial Times, 12 July 2016:

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, seems pleased with progress on HFCs and other CFC substitutes (Letters, July 7). As someone who has been involved in this debate since the late 1980s, I have to say that progress has been glacial.

In 1989 the UK hosted a UN conference on ozone depletion, and I asked the prime minister why she was allowing the substitution of CFCs with powerful greenhouse gases. In her reply, Margaret Thatcher mentioned HFCs and HCFCs, but seemed unaware of their climate-changing potential. Some 27 years later, HFCs are still in widespread use and still contributing to global warming.

Perhaps Mr Zaelke can tell me how long he thinks it will take to solve global warming if it requires more than a quarter of a century to fix a simple technological problem.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Help Rescue the Planet,
Stoke Poges, Bucks, UK