Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Why Labour is putting energy reform at the heart of its green agenda

Jeremy Corbyn in the Guardian - no issue better connects the environment to people’s lives than energy. In order to deliver clean, affordable electricity we need to change our undemocratic system of supply.

We are on course for a climate catastrophe. 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record. Unless the Paris agreement’s target of limiting the rise in temperatures by 1.5C is met, heatwaves like that in 2003, which killed tens of thousands of people in Europe, will become the norm. And that is before considering rising sea levels and desertification that will sink cities, and kill and displace millions, or the fact that the Earth has already lost half its wildlife in the past 40 years.

The task for politicians is to propose real solutions to the single most important issue facing humanity. Too often, the environment is considered a matter for scientists, enthusiasts and activists. To increase public understanding and energise the political debate, we need more than facts – we need a programme that resonates with people’s everyday experiences, offering not just warnings but opportunities and improvement.

No issue better connects the environment to people’s lives than energy. In Britain today, seven million households struggle to pay their bills because of spiralling costs, while the big six energy companies have seen their profits rise by more than tenfold since 2007. The energy market is not just expensive, inefficient and polluting – it is, above all, undemocratic.

In order to deliver clean, affordable heating and electricity we need to change the whole system of energy supply. When energy is driven by the needs of people, it will be greener – because saving the planet is in the interests of everyone.

That is why I am today announcing a bold new set of policies which will pioneer a democratic, community-led system of energy supply. Over the course of the next parliament, we will use public investment and legislation to promote the creation of over 200 local energy companies, giving towns, cities and localities the powers they need to drive a clean, locally accountable energy system with public, not-for-profit companies.

The full article can be read here.

Note: With the very welcome agreement by the US and China to ratify the IPCC's Paris Agreement - which does include limiting global temperatures to 1.5C or at worst 2C above pre-industrial temperatures - and now with the leader of the opposition  in the UK recognising that climate change 'is the single most important issue facing humanity' - the chances of global warming being acted on globally and in the UK, through significantly reducing the burning of fossil fuels - has improved immensely within a single week.

No doubt there will be more issues to be overcome as the powerful fossil fuel corporations fight to keep their share of the energy market - but there does now seem to be hope where there appeared none. We must wait to see how matters progress.

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