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How to build a Pathway to a Carbon Free Britain and then to tell the Nation about it.

March 21, 2017 8:23 PM
By S. Bolter

Green Lib Dem Fringe Event 15:00 to 18:00 17 March 2017 at York.

INTRODUCTION Steve Bolter, (then) Vice Chair (P) Green Lib Dems

We aim to find How to build a Pathway to a Carbon Free Britainand then to tell the Nation about it.

Back in 2013, Lib Dem Policy Paper 109 was entitled Transition to a Zero Carbon Britain

(later changed to Green Growth and Jobs to fit the party campaign theme.)

The aim was to become Zero Carbon by 2050. Its recommendations included:-

To put this in perspective yesterday's generation it was between 260 and 300 g of CO2per kWh, but the average is about 470. EDF is the lowest of the big suppliers, with an annual average of 161 g of CO2per kWh.

Unfortunately; these intermediate and sector targets tend to obscure the bigger picture. I am pleased this project is trying to find a Pathway to the Ultimate target.

Since 2012-3, the urgency of reducing the increase in Global warming has become more obvious.

We need to find the critical pathway, that brings down carbon dioxide and hence global warming, as quickly as possible. Achieving this decade scale objective may mean postponing dealing with other goals, such as achieving millennium scale sustainability.

It must mean departing from emphasis on single sector solutions. The electricity sector has drawn the most publicity. We have different technologies fighting each other for a slice of the electricity generation cake, with other sectors making hardly any progress toward non fossil fuels.

Virtually all technologies can help reduce our fossil fuel use. The question that should be asked is not 'can a particular technology provide a major contribution to a reliable low carbon electricity supply', but how can this technology best contribute to an overall low carbon energy supply.

Some renewable energy output might be better used to produce carbon free HGV and bus fuel, than to generate electricity.

Every technology from Nuclear to Onshore Wind has powerful lobbying campaigns. Our team have to put aside lobby pressure, prejudice and pop campaigns and delve into the science and mathematics necessary to find pointers to that Critical Pathway. But they also have to map the surrounding terrain and be ready to divert if better pats are constructed.

From the start we need to convince the nation of the urgency of the task, and the hazards of not taking it seriously. As each section of the pathway is unvailed, we need to persuade the public to take it.

Our Government has promised no tax rises for 5 years, but at the same time embarked on giving up sharing the costs of many aspects of administration with 27 other nations. Instead it is setting up duplicate provision, financed by us alone. At the same time it is setting up vast bureaucracies, to negotiate out of a trade block we have been in for 4 decades, and hurrying to negotiate replacement deals. Funding for public services is falling. The task of persuading people to invest for their children's future is not going to be easy.

This is why the Green Lib Dems are hosting this meeting, and why we have raised over £2000 towards the project.


Introductory speeches were also given by Baroness Lynne Featherstone and Buncan Brack, a member of the Federal Policy Committee. [If we receive transcripts these will be put on the GLD webpage.

The core of the event was a presentation by three experts from the consultants engaged by Lynne Featherstone, with questions and commemnts from the floor.

This event is being written up and will be published on the website in April.

S Bolter March 2017