Search Results for Tag: Renewables
Norwegian youth for a wind-win situation
In Trondheim at the weekend, I came across this group of young people from Natur og Ungdom, or “Nature and Youth”, also known as Young Friends of the Earth Norway.
Good to see the young generation taking an interest in our future energy supplies.
DateApril 13, 2011 | 2:09 pm
Chernobyl , Fukushima and “climate-friendly” energy
It’s hard to concentrate on other things with a potentially major nuclear catastrophe on the horizon in Japan. I interviewed the head of a Greenpeace team of experts who were in Chernobyl looking into the lasting after-effects of the disaster 25 years ago when the news started to come in from Japan. She described the looks on people’s faces as they heard it and says their expressions told her “we know what that area of Japan will look like in 25 years time.” Deformed children, contaminated foodstuffs…
You would think this latest disaster would really put governments off nuclear power, which of course the pro-atomic lobby has been selling as “climate-friendly”. Germany’s current government had upturned the previous government’s momentous decision to phase out nuclear power and extended the life of a lot of old reactors. Now Chancellor Merkel has had to partially abandon her policy, declaring a three-month moratorium on the extension… Sounds complicated? (More background on the dw website)There’s a huge debate going on here on whether Germany should go it alone on abandoning nuclear. It reminds me of a conversation I had with Professor Carlos Duarte, a leading scientist involved in he EU\’s “Arctic Tipping Points” programme. (Listen to the story on how the Arctic is setting off alarm bells for the global climate on Living Planet.) When it comes to halting climate change, he told me the time for governments to wait and see who will make the first move is over, somebody needs to go ahead unilaterally and take the first steps. I\’d say the same applies to nuclear power. I wonder how some of the key figures who shifted from an anti- to a pro-nuclear stance because of the urgency of climate change are feeling now?
I hope this latest catastrophe will push support for renewables. But of course there is the danger that countries opting out of nuclear will burn more fossil fuels. We seem to be caught in a very vicious circle…
DateMarch 18, 2011 | 11:41 am
Wild weather – good for the climate?
Sorry, it took longer than I thought. The trouble with being an environment journalist is there are so many things happening at once sometimes it is hard to keep up extra projects like the “Ice Blog”. I have been working on all the material I brought back from a trip to Scotland (looking mainly at renewable energies), but at the same time following climate policy in different parts of the globe, President Obama’s disappointing concessions to the oil industry, preparations for the Bonn talks, etc.
Anyway, this is a picture taken at Whitelee windfarm. It’s the biggest onshore windfarm in Europe, with 140 turbines, situated in southern Scotland, close to the small village of Eaglesham.
Eaglesham is a conservation village, not far from the city of Glasgow, but a world apart, in many ways.
You can see from the picture it has the old-fashioned charm of a traditional Scottish village. I find the contrast to the high-tech windfarm just along the road fascinating. I think it’s very typical of 21st century Scotland, that combination of traditionalist features and modern technology. Of course people disagree about the effect of windfarms like this on the landscape etc, but given the advantages of wind power over fossil fuel plants, you have to compromise somewhere.
The devolved Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh has given top priority to renewable energy. While I was there,licenses were granted for marine energy projects, wave and tidal devices, off the northern coast of Scotland and Orkney. The experts and politicians say this could one day provide 10% of Europe’s energy requirement. The Pentland Firth, between the Scottish mainland and Orkney, has tremendous currents and so energy potential.
The Scottish government has high targets for increasing the share of renewables and reducing its emissions. They reject the pro-nuclear stance of the UK government in Westminster. A small country with just over 5 million people seeing itself as a kind of “laboratory”, bringing all the stakeholders together to come up with energy solutions that could serve as models for others? Sounds good? It might sound too much like political rhetoric, but I also interviewed Duncan McLaren, the CEO of Friends of the Earth Scotland, and his organisation backs up the Scottish figures and says the country can exceed its target of 55% renewable electricty by 2020 and reach the target earlier.
DateApril 1, 2010 | 11:08 am
Scotland as marine energy Saudi Arabia?
Your ice blogger has been in Scotland over the past week, intrigued by claims by the country’s First Minister (Scotland is part of the UK but has a devolved parliament in Edinburgh) Alex Salmond that Scotland could become the “Saudi Arabia” of renewable energy, in particular marine energy.
The country is well suited to develop tidal, wave and wind energy and some interesting announcements were made while I was there.
Scotland has ambitious emissions reductions targets, higher than those of the UK as a whole.
More anon, when I have processed some of the material I collected. There should be some photos here by tomorrow at the latest.
DateMarch 22, 2010 | 1:05 pm
In line with global trend ,Copenhagen heats up- and what about the rest of us?
The heavyweights are on their way to Copenhagen. 115 heads of state. Here’s hoping they’ll produce more than hot air.Things are not really looking good for a final binding agreement. Then again, it’s really hard to tell whether all the warnings from high-ranking people are just designed to make us prepare for the worst so that whatever comes out of the truly-mega-meeting will seem better than expected.
One danger I see is that people expect the politicians and the Copenhagen meeting to solve all the problems. It’s easy to say “there’s no point in my doing anything, it won’t have any effect if the top brass can’t get their act together”. But there is. I met with a group of US energy experts visiting Germany the other day ot look at renewables. One Professor from Texas was talking about how that state, the “oil state” had become a US leader in wind energy. The interest came from “the bottom up”, as he put it. Now the Obama administration is channeling funds in that direction to push the wind energy sector further.
The British opposition leader David Cameron is pushing a partnership between local authorities, businesses and householders to save up to 30% of the UK’s carbon emissions by making homes more energy efficient. Cameron is trying to give his party a “green” profile as the voters head for a general election in 2010. Whatever his motives, campaigns like this mean direct action to reduce co2 regardless of international political agreements.
Let’s not just wait for the bigwigs in Copenhagen to come up with something. Sure, we need these agreements. But in the meantime, we have to do our own bit.
DateDecember 17, 2009 | 9:32 am