Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Energy rhetoric, but little data

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Milliband, argued in The Times yesterday that “we must try every option to shift to a low-carbon world”. He reasoned that energy security and climate change commitments were sufficient incentive to back the government’s policy of building new nuclear power plants.

I, for one, would like to see more data.

Let’s not forget that nuclear power is also a threat to the planet. Whilst melting ice is not a popular move with that most potent symbol of our planet – the polar bear - neither is waste that stays radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. The choices may not be palatable, but surely all the more reason to have good data, presented clearly.

Renewable energy, he said should not be dismissed: wind is producing enough power for 2 million homes. 2,000,000 is indeed a large number – an impressive number even. But it is a meaningless number in the debate about energy and climate change. How many homes and businesses need power? And at what cost?

Milliband rightly pointed to the future with ideas such as “clean coal” which as soon as the technology is ready the government will ensure will be 100% committed to. Whilst he was quick to quantify the potential jobs that will be created through this R&D, he was less keen to share the costs even though they are equally quantifiable.

Neither did he talk of other technology which might provide low-carbon alternatives a great deal more palatable for our polar bears than sitting on radioactive waste for a million years. Yet they do exist.

This whole issue is quantifiable: cost of power, amounts of subsidies, carbon emissions, temperature changes, sea levels, thickness of ice, number of species. I could go on – they are many and varied and all absolutely quantifiable. Yet for some reason we prefer pictures of polar bears to clear data which would help us make good decisions about what mix of power to rely on.

The UK has armies of statisticians paid to collect, collate and present exactly this data. Couldn’t Mr Milliband have included some of their work? He was writing for The Times, after all.

7 comments:

  1. Nyallpurposepaving.com offers Paving Contractor, Parking Lot Repairs, sealing, striping, Oil and Stone Driveways at Riverhead NY, Quogue NY, Hamptons NY, Southampton NY, Sag Harbor NY, Green point NY, Wading River NY, East Moriches NY, Center Moriches NY, Mannorville NY, Miller Place NY , Mt. Sinai NY,Greenport NY

    ReplyDelete
  2. Atopcommercialpaving.com offers Commercial Paving, Asphalt Contractor, and Parking Lot Resurfacing at Queens NY, Nassau County, Bayside NY, Jamaica NY, Middle Village NY, Ozone Park NY, Howard Beach NY, Little Neck NY

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jettonsgrading.com offers Grading, Excavation and Paving Contractor, Land Clearing Services, Septic Systems, Retaining Walls and Driveways, Drainage Systems, Construction Site Clean-Up, Demolition Contractor at Walhalla SC, Seneca SC

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bedbugprocpc.com offers Bed Bug Exterminator, Bed Bug Inspections, Bed Bug Elimination, Bed Bug Inspection for Hotels and Residential and Commercial Bed Bug at Palo Alto CA, San Mateo CA, San Jose CA, Belmont CA, San francisco CA, Redwood City CA, Sunnyvale CA

    ReplyDelete
  5. reliablecommercialpaving.com offers Parking lot paving, walk way construction, Commercial paving, asphalt, Parking Lot Repairs, Parking Lot Striping, Commercial Blacktop, Parking Lot Repairs, Commercial Paving Contractor, Commercial Asphalt Contractor at New Jersey at Hanover NJ, East Orange NJ, Newark NJ, Morristown NJ, Summit NJ , Union NJ, Hackensack NJ, Patterson NJ

    ReplyDelete
  6. Complete-pest-control.com offers Pest Control, Exterminator, Rodent Control, Rodent Elimination, and Pest Elimination at Palo Alto CA, San Mateo CA, San Francisco CA, Redwood City CA, Sunnyvale CA, and Belmont CA

    ReplyDelete
  7. Divorce Attorney, Female Divorce Attorneys and Long Island Divorce Attorneys, Long Island Female Divorce Attorneys

    ReplyDelete