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 Womens Unequal Pay and Poverty Book Keynote Speakers
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 Womens Unequal Pay and Poverty Book Pictured here Minister of Environment Sweden with our Womens Unequal Pay and Poverty book
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Green Economics Institute Conference - 29th October -Report written by Reading Friends of the Earth

This was a fascinating day with many expert speakers covering everything from Ecofeminist Political Economy to Nuclear Power. (See www.greeneconomics.org.uk). Climate change was (understandably) a recurring theme as speakers attempted to integrate social and political ideals with environmental concepts.

Climate Change:

Mayer Hillman of the Policy Studies Institute gave an impassioned presentation stressing the urgency of action to reduce carbon emissions. Eventual target would be a 90% cut in UK per-capita emissions (similar to that advocated by FoE in ‘Tomorrow's World'.) He favours ‘contraction and convergence' to a common global per-capita level of emissions using the rationing mechanism ‘Domestic Tradeable Quotas' (DTQ) and believes that this will be accepted by all major parties by the next general election.

Personal carbon rationing would be a UK-wide allowance system covering the carbon emissions generated from the fossil fuel energy used by individuals within the home and for personal transport, including carbon equivalent emissions from air travel. It would account for around half of current UK carbon emissions from energy. The primary aim of the scheme would be to deliver guaranteed levels of carbon savings in successive years in an equitable way. The scheme would be administered by a credit-card like system.

Key features:

The main features of personal carbon rations ( the word ‘rations' is used for clarity though

‘DTQs', ‘allowances', ‘entitlements' or ‘quotas' could equally well be used) are:

· An equal annual ration is allocated for each adult , with a smaller one for children

· Rations are tradable

· The ration covers the direct energy used in the household and for personal travel

· A phased year-on-year reducing ration is signalled well in advance

· The arrangement is mandatory, with Parliamentary approval. This was a fascinating day with many expert speakers covering everything from Ecofeminist Political Economy to Nuclear Power. (See www.greeneconomics.org.uk). Climate change was (understandably) a recurring theme as speakers attempted to integrate social and political ideals with environmental concepts.

Climate Change:

Mayer Hillman of the Policy Studies Institute gave an impassioned presentation stressing the urgency of action to reduce carbon emissions. Eventual target would be a 90% cut in UK per-capita emissions (similar to that advocated by FoE in ‘Tomorrow's World'.) He favours ‘contraction and convergence' to a common global per-capita level of emissions using the rationing mechanism ‘Domestic Tradeable Quotas' (DTQ) and believes that this will be accepted by all major parties by the next general election.

Personal carbon rationing would be a UK-wide allowance system covering the carbon emissions generated from the fossil fuel energy used by individuals within the home and for personal transport, including carbon equivalent emissions from air travel. It would account for around half of current UK carbon emissions from energy. The primary aim of the scheme would be to deliver guaranteed levels of carbon savings in successive years in an equitable way. The scheme would be administered by a credit-card like system.

Key features:

The main features of personal carbon rations ( the word ‘rations' is used for clarity though

‘DTQs', ‘allowances', ‘entitlements' or ‘quotas' could equally well be used) are:

· An equal annual ration is allocated for each adult , with a smaller one for children

· Rations are tradable

· The ration covers the direct energy used in the household and for personal travel

· A phased year-on-year reducing ration is signalled well in advance

· The arrangement is mandatory, with Parliamentary approval.

He believed that a carbon tax (whilst simpler to implement) would have an unacceptable impact on fuel poverty for poorer households.

The Nuclear Option:

Tony Juniper from FoE compared nuclear power with alternatives.

Nuclear was subject to technical and ethical questions on waste management, weapons proliferation, and risks of terrorism.

It was not based on renewable resources and there was only enough high grade Uranium ore left to last for 50 years at present rates of consumption.

Nuclear power was not a carbon-free energy source because of the fossil fuels used to construct the power stations and prepare the fuel. Wind power was twice as good as nuclear in this respect.

On costs he said that a Cabinet Office paper had estimated generating costs per kWh in 2020 as: nuclear 3p; on-shore wind 2.5p; off-shore wind in the range 2p to 3p; energy crops in the range 2.5p to 4p - so there was no clear advantage for nuclear.

Even if we doubled the amount of nuclear power in Britain we would only displace the equivalent of 8% of our carbon emissions. Globally doubling nuclear capacity by 2050 would only give a 5% reduction in emissions.

Nuclear power was big technology and would take a lot of investment from energy conservation and renewable sources.

He saw a lot of pro-nuclear political pressure at the moment - lots of stories had made it into the media - and felt that opposition to a new nuclear programme should be a high priority over the next year.

He believed that a carbon tax (whilst simpler to implement) would have an unacceptable impact on fuel poverty for poorer households.

The Nuclear Option:

Tony Juniper from FoE compared nuclear power with alternatives.

Nuclear was subject to technical and ethical questions on waste management, weapons proliferation, and risks of terrorism.

It was not based on renewable resources and there was only enough high grade Uranium ore left to last for 50 years at present rates of consumption.

Nuclear power was not a carbon-free energy source because of the fossil fuels used to construct the power stations and prepare the fuel. Wind power was twice as good as nuclear in this respect.

On costs he said that a Cabinet Office paper had estimated generating costs per kWh in 2020 as: nuclear 3p; on-shore wind 2.5p; off-shore wind in the range 2p to 3p; energy crops in the range 2.5p to 4p - so there was no clear advantage for nuclear.

Even if we doubled the amount of nuclear power in Britain we would only displace the equivalent of 8% of our carbon emissions. Globally doubling nuclear capacity by 2050 would only give a 5% reduction in emissions.

Nuclear power was big technology and would take a lot of investment from energy conservation and renewable sources.

He saw a lot of pro-nuclear political pressure at the moment - lots of stories had made it into the media - and felt that opposition to a new nuclear programme should be a high priority over the next year.

This article is from the Reading Friends of the Earth Web Site

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