Tuesday, 8 November 2011

PV Panels Reduce Global Warming.

In a demonstration of this governments continued commitment to mediocrity, George Osborne has vowed that the UK will not lead the rest of Europe in its efforts to cut carbon emissions, raising the prospect that the country's carbon targets could be watered down if the EU does not agree to  more ambitious emission reduction goals.

Britain’s carbon emissions grew faster than the economy last year for the first time since 1996. Is this date just coincidence? After 18 years of Conservative government, John Major lost the general election in 1997.....

Just after his landslide election victory, Tony Blair delivered a high-profile speech with a thinly-veiled criticism of "great industrialized nations" that fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Six years later, Blair stood before a joint session of Congress and told American legislators that climate change "cannot be ignored," insisting "we need to go beyond even Kyoto."

The rise in carbon intensity increases the risk of the UK missing official binding targets on carbon emissions. Under the UK's Climate Change Act the government is currently legally committed to cutting emissions by 35 per cent by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025. Nevertheless, George Osborne insists the government will only cut emissions in line with its neighbours in order to ensure British businesses are not put at a disadvantage.
By the end of 2011, 4.1 million households in England are expected to be in fuel poverty. Households are considered fuel poor if they need to spend more than 10% of their income on fuel use to heat a home to an adequate standard of warmth, generally defined as 21C in the living room and 18C in other occupied rooms. I can only assume that the chancellor's hoping that the predicted 2°C global warming increase will reduce the problem for those shivering each winter.

In a recent speech the Chancellor accused environmental regulations of "piling costs on the energy bills of households and companies" and argued that the government should not adopt green targets that damage the business sector. In a subsequent report Ofgem said that the profit margin for energy firms had risen to £125 per customer per year, from £15 in June 2011.

In the 5 months since we installed PV  panels on the roof we've avoided adding 902kg of COinto the atmosphere.

The global recession will inevitably put pressure on the greener long term issues facing us all, but we need to be looking to continue our search for alternative technology to help not just our generation, but the generations to come. 

I agree with Greenpeace's senior policy advisor, Ruth Davis,
 "In reality it's in Britain's interests to lead the world on climate change because the economies that win the race to develop clean renewable energy systems will be the ones that sell them to the rest of the world."

Is the government doing all it can? Do we need to reduce targets in the short term? Should we be doing even more?
What do you think?



  1. Panorama on Monday disclosed that Blair exceeded civil service advice and gave Britain much higher targets than were deemed appropriate at the time, which piled the costs on to electricity and other fuel suppliers and hence consumers. Although sadly there was hardly a mention on the TV programme of solar power (not seen as one of the key green mesaures by this government) the increase in fuel poverty is a direct result of the 'green' tax exerted by utility companies and the very high cost of installation of wind generated power. This is at least part of the reason for the proposed FiT cuts for new pv solar installations post 12 Dec 2011. Excessive utility profits need to be curbed via windfall taxes IMO.

  2. I also saw this analysis, out today from:

    "despite the 100% of electricity [from renewables] target, power from wind turbines would barely represent 20% of total energy needs ... so to achieve it would involve installing renewable capacity at five times the rate achieved over the past five years, costing billions of pounds and pushing up fuel bills. So more effort needs to be spent on renewable technologies that provide heat, rather than electricity", IMechE concludes.

  3. I promise I won't comment on your story on this again! Just read that Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, has urged the PM to personally intervene in the “appalling chaos” caused by the government’s cuts to solar installations.

    He said "Just before the election the Prime Minister said his government would be the 'greenest ever'. Does he still take this statement seriously, and if he does will he personally intervene to sort out the appalling chaos caused by the slashing of FiTs in six weeks time for solar PV, leading to substantial job losses, chaos in the solar PV industry and devastation for hundreds of community renewable projects? There is growing chaos in government over energy policy, with trumpeted renewable and small scale green energy projects now increasingly being strangled at birth by the Treasury. This is exactly the type of departmental warfare that requires leadership from the Prime Minister to resolve. It’s very disappointing that David Cameron chose not to show leadership on this issue, but I’ll continue pressing him to step up to the challenge.”

  4. @Chrisso
    Hi Chrisso. Always delighted to have your comments. Thought provoking and informed in equal measure.

    I'm not a huge fan of Tony Blair or "New Labour's" record. However, they did seem to push the environment and related issue into the public domain, admittedly with little achieved despite the rhetoric.
    It seems the height of hypocrisy for Cameron to talk about "Greenest ever", pre election, and then pursue a different agenda once in government.

    Perhaps all politicians could learn from Benjamin Franklin.

    “Well done is better than well said.”

  5. Energy minister Greg Barker has said his only regret about introducing an early December cut-off point for solar PV subsidy was that he “didn’t do it earlier”. Glad he didn't or we would not have bothered getting ours installed on 14 October. But Barker did reveal he was looking seriously at "raising the payment for generating solar PV" to cushion the impact of the earlier than expected introduction of the lower Feed-in Tariff (FiT) rate.

    He said: “One thing that I am absolutely sure on is shifting the eligibility date to April 1 would be absolutely catastrophic" but admitted "I’ve been made aware of schemes that have been cancelled because of the review and they include some very large schemes, not just household schemes but social housing projects".

    During a 'prickly exchange' in which he also confirmed the Cabinet has not discussed an Impact Assessment report of the solar subsidy cut, Barker did say he was “actively exploring” the possibility of raising the export component of the Feed-in Tariff to support the solar industry past the December 12 deadline.

    This suggests the 3.1p rate might be increased. Wow! More at:

    My MP here in Leigh has also replied to me - Andy Burnham is opposing the plans and refers to ministers being 'forced to attend Parliament on 31 October to defend the proposals' and an opposition debate was called on the issue on 23 November. So far 111 families in Wigan (including myself) have installed solar power. He adds that whilst it was recognised that the tariff would have to be cut as costs reduced, this cut goes 'too far, too fast' and excludes nine out of ten families from having solar power.