Monday, 12 October 2009

Greenpeace Rooftop Protest Of Parliament

Thirty-one Greenpeace volunteers are still on the roof of Parliament as MPs arrived for their first day back after the summer break. 24 came down last night and were arrested and all have been bailed to return.

They occupyied the roof to call for a new style of politics in Britain, one capable of rising to meet the challenge of climate change. More people are handing out copies of their climate manifesto on the street which outlines the 12 simple steps the UK can take to save the climate.

We've got less than two months until the global summit on climate change and so far bold action has been trumped by short term interests. It's our generation that must take charge and save our climate. And we can, but the clock is ticking.

If you haven't already, please send a letter to your MP today and ask them to commit to the 12 policies the've outlined that are needed to save the climate and the planet.

You can also watch a video featuring a few of the volunteers on the roof to find out more and read all the updates on our site.

The 12 Policies:
Zero carbon. Guarantee that emissions from the UK power sector will be near zero by 2030, as recommended by the UK government's Committee on Climate Change.

Cut coal. Immediately rule out all emissions from new coal-fired power stations, preventing any new unabated or partially abated coal plants.

Cut emissions 42% by 2020. Commit Britain to meeting the bolder emissions target recommended by the Committee on Climate Change.

Insulate Britain. Drastically cut energy wastage by retrofitting all existing buildings and ensuring all new buildings meet zero-emission standards.

Fair financing. Commit to help pay for low carbon development in developing countries, to stop deforestation and to protect the world’s poorest people from the impacts of climate change.

Repower Britain. Commit to ensuring that at least 15% of the UK’s total energy (including heat, electricity and transport) comes from renewables by 2020.

Rewire Britain. Ensure that the electricity grid is upgraded to harness wind power and build smart local grids to improve communities’ ability to generate their own clean energy.

Curb aviation. Stop all airport expansion, including Heathrow’s proposed third runway.

Invest in Britain. Properly fund reseach and development, develop new training programmes and support the manufacturing supply chain to help Britain compete in the global low carbon economy.

Bank on green. Set up a green infrastructure bank that would lend to major low carbon projects and harness the expertise of the financial sector.

Issue green bonds. Give investors and savers a secure new way to help fund green projects through government backed bonds.

Reform taxation. Refocus taxation onto pollution so that it can support new green industries and drive down emissions while strengthening the UK’s finances


howard thomas said...

These figures are pie in the green sky I'm afraid Adrian. Cut emissions by 42% by 2020, 15% from renewables by 2020, power sector emissions to be zero by 2030
Much as it would be a good thing , this simply will not happen. There are not enough caves in the UK to live in!

Until there is some kind of 'world council' that could oversee the way that all countries together treat the planet, there is little hope of much change-----if the UK stopped producing all greenhouse gasses tomorrow,China would make up that amount within months.
To stop deforestation is vital, but how exactly do you stop a country like Brazil from doing that without perhaps some form of compensation.
One interesting point that you might like to think about is the ever increasing world population that puts more and more demands on the planet, and how does the human race control that?---A question that probably has no answer!

Adrian Windisch said...

Well you wont help matters that way Howard. Giving up is not an option, instead of looking for excuses, look for ways to reduce emissions.

Dont forget much of Chinas emissions are to produce stuff for 'us' in the west, so yes we can reduce that too. And why are countries deforesting? Because we are paying them too, thorough economic forces.

And you dont need a cave, just insulate your house properly.

howard thomas said...

Nobody is giving up,Adrian, only taking a more realistic view, and stating the obvious fact that targets like these will not be achieved.
I would agree that the government don't take the matter seriously, and to look at it from another way, do we really want to be highly dependant on Russia for our gas supplies.
I like all the gadgets such as solar panels and air/ground source heat pumps that are able to cut people's bills and obviously their emissions at the same time, but where is the encouragement from our government for the fitting of these things?
If this current government had passed a law that such gadgets had to be fitted to all new houses , there could be close to 2 million houses that were much more energy efficient than they now are!
Wind turbines are good ,but will always be limited on their use because of unreliable wind speeds, but we are surrounded with sea, which has a massive potential to create power on a vast scale. Take the Bristol channel for example, by using the power of the tides,which of course are guaranteed , we could harness vast amounts of reliable energy------but do you think it might ever be done?
One thing is for sure is that unless the action comes from governments to actively encourage things to be done on a big scale, then nothing will really change.But I wouldn't hold your breath!

Adrian Windisch said...

Update, Monday 7pm: after nearly 28 hours on top of the Palace of Westminster, the remaining 31 volunteers have been been taken into police custody after ending their protest peacefully. Thanks to everyone who's been supporting them!

Howard, we can all do something, and we can force the government to do something also. You are quite wrong about wind, it is a huge resource for us, we need a big network of turbines, just as you see in other countries, we are far behind.

pat said...

I find it amazing/odious that such "eco" groups want to save the planet and change the climate lol (as it, King Canute rules ok) but when I asked for help off them to stop local skylark nesting grounds being destroyed by the business-based council they had no interest.

Adrian Windisch said...

Which group did you contact Pat? Most such groups are made up of volunteers that are stretched already. Did you contact your cllrs/MP? They are paid to respond, and should have done so.

Ad your wrong about climate change, and also King Canute

howard thomas said...

Adrian---as I said wind turbines are good---but ultimately they will not have the reliability to provide more than a small fraction of the demand because of the unreliability of the wind.However there could be a lot more than there are now.

Adrian Windisch said...

Germany generates more than 7 percent of its electricity from the wind, in some regions its 30%. Denmark has 20%.

Is that a small enough fraction for you Howard?

Spain has 10%, the UK a pathetic 1.5%. So yes we can increase it a lot.

If one area has no wind, other parts will still be generating power. But not the total power for the country, for that you need other sources, such as solar, tidal etc.

howard thomas said...

"some regions 30%"----and some other regions????
I've been to Germany several times this year ,and to your (no doubt) disgust I have flown every time!
It is a good place from which to see Germany's turbines!
7% IS a small fraction , and even you, Adrian, must realise that there is a limit to the percentage of electricity that you can generate from wind power before you risk the lights going out when the wind doesn't blow. Full marks to Germany, but the limit will come!
It is essential to look at power sources that are truly sustainable,like tidal generation of electicity if any significant progress is ever to be made.
I would agree that the UK's minimal percentage from turbines is pathetic.

Adrian Windisch said...

I wish you could read what I say more carefully. I did say, 'But not the total power for the country, for that you need other sources...'.

Still at least we agree on something.

Try getting the train to Germany next time, it takes longer, but it is far more pleasant, as well as fewer emissions.

pat said...

Many residents living in close proximity to wind farms find the noise levels completely intolerable and are infuriated that assurances about noise given in advance turn out to be valueless. Doctors have suggested that turbine noise, which may be low key yet disturbing and unpleasant, may link to psychological effects, headaches and depression. Noise levels cannot be accurately predicted in advance. Authorities in Spain reported considerable numbers of birds of 13 species secluded under European Union law have been killed by wind turbines. Turbines in California have on average destroyed between 200-300 Redtail Hawks and up to 60 Golden Eagles every year, whilst it is estimated that 7000 migrating birds a year are killed at other wind turbine sites in Southern California. (Source: California Energy Commission). The wind turbine is regulated to generate power at low to moderate wind speeds, when the production is a trickle. As the wind strengthens and real power becomes obtainable, they have to be shut down or they may blow over. The two foremost European wind farms are close to each other in Powys, at Llandinam and Carno. Between them, they have 159 turbines and cover many thousands of acres. Jointly they take a year to manufacture less than four days' output from a solitary 2000 MW conventional power station. Together, they have a productivity averaging 20 MW (in winter, UK demand peaks at about 53,000 MW.)

Turbines can interrupt TV reception. This was noted in 1994 when the BBC and the Independent Television Commission recommended the Department of the Environment to oblige wind farm developers to reinstate reception where wind farms caused intrusion.

The main unfavourable impact that wind farm expansion is probable to have is on local economies depending on ‘tourism’. Wind speed sites are frequently positioned in the areas holding the premium landscapes. Wind developers are consequently targeting those localities where the sightseer trade consists of visitors seeking harmony and unspoiled countryside.

One of the most dependable critiques of wind-generation of electricity to date is the Darmstadt Manifesto on the exploitation of wind energy in Germany. Its main influence develops from its signatories - over one hundred leading intellectuals in fields including - Medicine, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Mechanical Engineering and Thermodynamic Science, Land Administration, and Agricultural Science.

It is an interesting topic

howard thomas said...

Adrian----do you have a cost and travelling time to get to Germany(Dusseldor) by train----and then it will no doubt become obvious why I fly

Adrian Windisch said...

Howard, I travel by train to Europe by train on occasion, because I value the environment. What you do is up to you.

Pat, the anti wind turbine groups have lots of statistics, and are well funded. But they dont mention that birds are killed by flying into buildings, or cars. Or that power lines are far more unsightly than turbines. The alternative to turbines is some truly horrible power stations such as nuclear or coal, which will pollute the environment.
answer your questions.

The RSPB supports wind power because it helps mitigate climate change, which poses the most significant long-term threat to the environment.

Turbines on average turn, and therefore produce electricity, for about '80 - 85% of the time'. This depends upon location.

If wind is just scam, as some critics say, how does it provide 30% of electricity in some areas?

The Darmstadt Manifesto is from 98, before climate change was so widly seen as a problem, and in the early days of the wind industry. Times have changed.

pat said...

The RSPB has apparently objected to 76 wind farm proposals, on and offshore, between 2000 and 2004 and has raised concerns about a further 129. The RSPB recently objected to a proposed 234 turbine wind farm on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, on an extremely fragile and special area for wildlife. These things provably mince birds to pieces!
Wind powered electricity is estimated to be two and a half times more costly than conventional sources. It would not be economic without a massive subsidy. This comes either from our tax or from the price we pay for electricity.
Consumers in Denmark, which has the highest penetration of wind power in Europe, also pay the most for their electricity.

Juliette Jowit of the Guardian reported about serious limitations over the wind turbine situation on 13th January 2009.

“Home wind turbines are generating a fraction of the energy promised by manufacturers, and in some cases use more electricity than they make, a report warns today. The results of what is thought to be the most comprehensive study undertaken of the industry show the worst performers provided just 41 watt-hours a day - less than the energy needed for a conventional lightbulb for an hour, or even to power the turbine's own electronics.”

This amazing disclosure would appear to indicate that such devices, beloved on many green lobbies, are largely a costly waste of time. The article continued.

“On average the turbines surveyed provided enough electricity to light an energy-efficient house, but this still only represented 5%-10% of the manufacturers' claims, said consultants Encraft. The findings will be an embarrassment for an industry which was an early winner from the small but high-profile rush to adopt green technologies.

pat said...

Wind and solar are small today for very good technical reasons. These are not about to change. Wind power by itself is not useful because it is not always available and suddenly stops. Therefore, for wind to be useful, it requires a backup support system the same size as the wind power farm to ensure a reliable flow of electricity when required. This backup system is a legitimate charge against wind power because wind power is not useful without it. The transmission lines to connect to the grid are also a legitimate charge. The value of the wind power is the value of the fuel displaced. Wind is only economical when the price of fuel is very high such as in northern Canada where diesel fuel is flown in. Large subsidies are required for wind power. This is a short explanation. One must always keep in mind the scale of energy that we use. Some people seem to envisage an alternative energy utopia with every house and office utilizing small scale wind turbines on the roof tops. This is a nightmare, as well as being expensive. It is one of the myths that circulate by people who do not understand how the energy system works.

Adrian Windisch said...

Pat, the RSPB will object to the turbines placed along routes of bird migration, but they support the wind industry as seen in my previous post.

Nuclear is also subsidised, as are other industries; do you pbject to this? Renewables should be supported so that it becomes cheaper. Non renewables will get ever more expensive over time, but if we follow your plan we would not be prepared for this.

If wind provides as little power as you say, then how do some regions get up to 50% of their electricity from it? Please note the 50%, it coincides with the backup figure you quote. Though in the future higher percentages may be possible.

I dont recommend rooftop turbines for most people, its just not that efficient. The location of most houses is not in the best place to collect the most wind. Some people do love them though.