Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Copenhagen was irrelevant!

Newly constructed windmills D4 (nearest) to D1...Image via Wikipedia
The sideshow that was Copenhagen lived up to expectations (or lack of them) and showed how irrelevant in fact it was. Why do I say this... well, for one thing it was unrealistic to expect so many nations and powerful interest groups to work together in perfect harmony (we would all love the song to be true, I know...). Secondly, whenever you get politicians involved, especially so-called 'world leaders' its never going to be anything but a sideshow, full of posturing for the domestic audience.

Add to the mix the diverse but ultimately divergent groups of NGO's, energy companies, scientists of every persuasion, journalists, individual campaigners and a host of others all fighting to gain their 15 minutes of fame and failure to achieve anything of substance was all we could realistically expect.

Here's a thought... was more carbon created by the whole thing than will be saved by anything that directly and solely came out of it? I personally wouldn't be surprised it that was the case.

So, if Copenhagen won't save us, what will? The answer my friend is 'blowing in the wind'! Not only n the wind, but flowing in the sea and shining in the sky and so on - yes, renewable energy. Not just renewable energy but lots of little changes in a host of areas such as making electrical and electronic appliances more energy-efficient, in making hybrid cars more efficient, in improving the design of wind turbines and solar panels.

Currently there are almost daily announcements about improvements in these and many other areas. Individually, these will make only small differences to our total carbon footprint but added together they have the potential to reverse carbon output globally. None of these are the direct responsibility of politicians and scientific committees, though they will influence how quickly some of these developments can perhaps come to fruition, though taxation measures, government grants and changes to regulations. Also there perhaps need to be a political will at the national level to encourage such developments, and here is where plain national self-interest will play its part. Witness how in Germany and the Netherlands wind turbine production has created 200,000 jobs and as a result wind turbines are the largest consumer of steel production.

Once countries start to see the benefits of a green economy there will be a veritable explosion in initiatives to encourage new products and refine existing technologies. VCountries will be falling over one another to fund scientific research and not to get left behind in the race to become the dominant green economy. China is already heading for that title and the US is not far behind. The question for the UK is do we want to lag behind Germany, Holland and other countries in Europe? With our proud history of technological and scientific developments, there is no reason why we shouldn't become world leaders in some sectors. Whether the politicians are listening is another matter and thankfully, its almost irrelevant.
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