STOP POURING PETROL ON THE FLAMES
The debate in the UK parliament on energy and climate change policy was almost exclusively about energy production not reduction in energy demand and sustainable reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
Politicians do not appear to understand that climate change is already happening. Every extra tonne of GHG emissions only adds to the exsisting excess already in the upper atmosphere. The 'safe' limit of 350 parts per million was passed in 1987 and this year has exceeded 400ppm in the Northern hemisphere - ref http://co2now.org/Current-CO2/CO2-Now/annual-co2.html and http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/01/record-greenhouse-gas-trouble-scientists
We have the technologies to achieve permanent reductions in GHG emissions - replacing the need for any additional energy production from fossil fuels - through massive energy conservation, to reduce the need for energy production, and alternative zero GHG' energy systems to provide essential energy, for maintaining the health, comfort and amenities of modern life.
The proposed US and UK governments policies to extract more fossil fuels to burn will produce GHG emissions - the equivalent of pouring petrol on a fire to put it out. The argument that fracked gas is less polluting than coal is fatuous in the circumstances.
The only sustainable source for future energy and the only cost effective means to achieve permanent reduction in emissions to regain safe limits is Negawatts - (Rocky Mountain Institute terminology for zero GHG energy) - and Carbon Capture and Storage to reduce existing GHG emissions from existing fossil fuel powered plant.
The policy of requiring all new homes in the UK to be 'zero carbon' from 2016 is a step in that direction, but increasing gas extraction and building more gas fired power stations risks negating the effect of that policy.
Instead all resources should be directed at permanent freedom from reliance on fossil fuels in all sectors, to attempt to avoid permanent runaway global warming, which will negate all other endeavours, leading as it will to extreme weather conditions destructive of the means of support of civilized human life on earth.
The prize of virtually free energy for all - harnessing the ambient energy all around in sun, wind, tides, air, water, and gravity – permanently available to support sustainable economic growth. The costs of dependence on fossil fuels are increasing costs, conflict over non-renewable resources and increasing global warming leading to the destruction of property and lives through storm, floods and droughts. The cost is not to be measured in money, but by the degree of success in the survival of civilized life on earth. We need to quench the fire permanently.