fossil fuels

A solar panel farm

Put a green thorn in fossil site planning laws

“I take your point,” Alok Sharma replied, when asked if the approval of a new coal mine was “an embarrassment” ahead of the UK hosting the COP26 Climate Summit.

The questions to Mr Sharma, President of the UK-hosted COP26 in Glasgow in November, came from the Commons business select committee.

Even Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, told the committee there was a “slight tension” between Cumbria County Council approving the mine and national efforts to clean up – or green up – the economy.

Ministers could have reversed the decision by “calling in” the plans. But they declined to do so, saying that the coal was required for creating the heat to make steel. Otherwise coal would have to be imported, the applicant and council agreed. This would increase carbon emissions, given the travel to reach the UK.

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City buses

Councils switching to electric waste vehicles show leadership

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his “build, build, build” speech this summer, he mentioned wanting to introduce 4,000 ‘carbon zero buses’, to address the climate crisis.

There are several London bus routes which run on non-fossil based fuel, as he well knows from his time as mayor of our capital city.

His recent speech didn’t extend the sentiment to refuse vehicles, however, which was a shame. Nearly a year ago, Westminster council struck a deal with Veolia, their waste recycling contractor, to introduce electric vehicles.

That was five months after the City of London Corporation vowed in April 2019 to become the first UK council to run a fully electric fleet.

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Drill oil? Even PPE can be plastic free

At the start of lockdown, a friend remarked: “We’re told not to use so much plastic and now we’ve got all this plastic PPE that will need throwing away.”

What can we do? This week, two things happened to prompt thoughts about this.

The first one was part of the response by the company running Horse Hill’s oil drilling site after four Extinction Rebellion protesters broke in. A put down, condemning the actions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“And did they ever stop to think that the medical equipment and PPE the country sorely needs at present is derived from oil and gas? Face masks and visors, gloves, protective aprons, syringes, sterile tubes and pipes in intubators and ventilators, catheters, sample bottles, tablet dispensers, vital function computers and screens, the list is endless. Even patient notes are kept in a plastic file and ID wristbands are made from plastic. All are made from petroleum products. You cannot get away from it.”

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A solar panel farm

Spain sees the light over renewables

For those who dream of fuelling their electric cars – if we choose to drive – from our homes, powered by solar panels (our own or those from community projects) it seems there is hope.

The Spanish Government has passed a draft climate law to rely solely on renewable energy, buy 2050 – when it wants to reach carbon neutrality.

If approved, it would end fossil fuel subsidies in Spain.

What of us in Britain? A European commission report in January last year found that the UK government gave £10.5bn in support of fossil fuels per year, compared to just under £8bn to renewables. Australia seems to be pushing to “build fossil fuel infrastructure that will operate for decades” as it comes out of the Covid-19 crisis.

Spain sees the opportunity to create a potential 350,000 jobs from new economies per year and is acting quickly.

Read More »Spain sees the light over renewables