May the force be with you Obi Wan

From the last PMQs its clear Corbs and May have plenty to bicker about, and not much leftover to agree on. Regardless of what the tabloids would have you believe about school dinners and a couple of grand off the middle class mans paycheck, there is a far more divisive issue that’s casting a shadow over Britain. Global Warming is coming, and winter certainly won’t be if we don’t make the right political moves. We need, perhaps more than ever, a leader with maturity to tackle the long term problem of the biosphere and its destruction.

Theresa

Last year May showed George Osbourne the door, a damned fine move for the environment and country. As for her other sallies into environmental policy, well, let’s see.

  • In the last decade she was absent for 16 votes on climate change policy and voted 9 times against policies pertaining to positive environmental action. For instance she voted to have no strategy for carbon capture and storage for the entire energy industry last year, voted against us having a decarbonisation tax last July, and against having any target for CO2 emissions per unit of electricity

E.g. lets churn out more carbon dioxide than ever and hold absolutely no responsibility for our actions, either for the sake of Britain’s public or the people of other nations. This is also known as the 70s.

  • In 2011 voted in favour of selling England’s state owned forests.
  • In 2015 voted against the necessity of fracking companies to obtain any kind of permit before they start drilling for shale gas in the countryside.

‘Are you sure we can drill here, aint it the lake district, the jewel of the north or sumfin luv?’ ‘

‘Oh don’t you worry, I’m sure the badgers can relocate…Chop chop, get to drilling now working class chappie, oh and never mind those protesters, they’re not with the program… We’ll have them, how shall I say, removed.’ *Takes a sideways drag from her cigarette in holder*

Fracking was theoretically predicted to harm the environment, nobody listened, loads of fracking happened, and the environment got damaged. Post frack studies found that drilling for shale contaminates groundwater with toxins1, causes quakes2 and lowers biodiversity3.Osborne gave fracking companies the most generous energy tax breaks in the world 4, for their ‘support’, don’t be surprised if May got the same memo.

  • Theresa appointed Andrea Leadsom as climate change secretary, who remarked upon taking up her post in July 2016.  “When I first came to this job one of my first questions was: ‘Is climate change real?’. Andrea has gone on to make a number of other poignant and insightful remarks, as I’m sure you can imagine. Worth a google if you fancy a quick lol. She got a 2:2 in Political Science from Warwick University (I went to the same place, curse the gods….Time for a whiskey). Additionally before Ms Leadsom’s reappointment in 2016, our Prime Minister dissolved the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Instead delegating all environmental issues to the ‘Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’.

So there you have it, May don’t give a damn. An unfortunate attitude, as the window of opportunity for us to act on climate change is closing, something the IPCC have shown5. We don’t have time for leaders to engage in under the table corporate circle jerks when we’re heading for an event which could destabilise the entire civilisation.

On the topic of renewable energy in 2015 Barack Obama said ‘”If we don’t do it nobody will. America leads the way forward… that’s what this plan is about. This is our moment to get something right and get something right for our kids,”

There’s truth amongst the hyperbole, the US are second only to China in renewable energy generation, no small feat for a developed nation, and have been held as a barometer in many respects for other countries, e.g. India. Needless to say ,the standard bearer phase for the US is over, but the UK could step up. We have a fantastic history of engineering, and a running start in renewables. But the true legwork toward a clean, energy independent future in which nature can thrive is yet to be made. The fact is that under May we won’t even make a false start to that end. Worse, if the world followed her example then we may as well hand the deeds of the planet over to the Four Horsemen, put chimpanzees in charge of our nuclear reactors, shell the barrier reef with 155m howitzers and drink the last of the champagne, with the dull hope that out there somewhere a civilisation is getting it right.

desert-of-the-real
“I still think we should’ve set those emmissions targets-” “Shutup Corbs, go sweepup up some ash, or something…”

Corbyn

His environmental manifesto is founded on scientific consensus and long-term economic strategy. In other words, it appears to have been constructed by a rational entity which has an event horizon that stretches beyond four years.

  • Ensure the UK produces 65% of it’s energy from renewables by 2030, 85% as technology improves and diffuses.

Based on the IPCC’s projections this would keep us in the moderately safe zone. It would also reduce the UKs dependence on Norway/Russia for gas & oil.

  • Plant 64 million native broadleaf trees.

Planting trees locks CO2 out of the air and increases biodiversity. Cheap too.

  • Create 300,000 renewable energy jobs throughout the country.
  • Invest £500 billion in renewables and energy efficiency.
  • Promote the growth of over 200 ‘local energy companies.

Aggressive investment in renewables is like having your cake, eating it, and then getting a refund. Case in point, China. The Chinese have doubled down on Solar Cells to a ludicrous degree. In 2007 they pledged to reach 1800MW of solar power output by 2020, today in 2017 they have over 80,000MW of output, a quarter of the entire worlds solar energy.

CSP plant
‘Zhang, you really think we need all this just to heat up the Chow Mein?’ ‘Patience, young grasshopper….’

As I’m sure you’ve guessed this isn’t a move motivated by goodwill toward the forests of Borneo and red pandas, that aint how the People’s Republic rolls, never has, its cos’ PV cells can make you some serious piles of dorrar baby. Remember China have defaulted on every emissions target they ever set pre 2010, ruined half the water table in their own country due to pollution6 and made Beijing unliveable due to poor air quality7, so when they invest in a renewable technology its probably because of economic viability. See graph below, photo voltaic technology gets significantly cheaper as you increase production, becomes more efficient, and grants complete energy independence. The result? They now have cheaper than fossil fuel renewable energy, forever.

PV price
2009-2015 module prices dropped by a factor of ten, this followed huge investment by the chinese government pushing the price of energy to an all time low.

China will be spending at least another $200 billion on the technology by 2020, and will probably see the dividends continuing to roll in, until they’re 100% renewable. Corbyn recognises that getting in early on PV technology is environmentally sound, but also an opportunity to tee Britain up for serious financial gains.

  • Insulate 4 million homes
  • Build 1 million new carbon neutral homes
  • Phase out coal power stations by the early 2020s
  • Ban fracking
  • Fully implement all EU environmental protections
  • Phase out coal power stations by the early 2020s

A vote for May is a bid toward fracking, passivity in the face of emissions, and a complete absence of long-term emissions strategies. The UN climate change panel have shown year on year that such an approach will lead to the collapse of modern civilisation if employed globally, a statement that belongs on trailer for a Michael Bay Transformers movie I know, but is wholly true. If, god forbid, countries did follow May’s lead, well, we may as well start the looting run now lads.

Corbyn’s approach extrapolated to the worldwide scale would allow us to just sit in a relatively safe zone of heating and pollution in which nature actually stands a chance. The price tag is hefty, but so is anything worthwhile. Without an large investment in this area and shift in environmental policy the rhetorical speeches of politicians about a ‘brighter future’ amount to changing the lightbulbs on the titanic. May the force be with you corbs, and plz vote ya’ll.

alec-guinness-as-ben-obi-wan-kenobi-in-star
You’re our only hope corbs

References

[1] http://news.stanford.edu/2016/03/29/pavillion-fracking-water-032916/

[2]http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6306/1416

[3]https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10646-016-1717-8

[4]http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/george-osborne-reveals-50-tax-break-for-fracking-firms-8718711.html

[5]http://www.ipcc-wg3.ac.uk/ar5.html

[6]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/23/china-half-groundwater-polluted

[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-38587580

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