Why bother when China is building new coal fired power stations . . .
Another place, another argument with someone who wants to know how much CO2, on a global percentage basis, will be removed from the atmosphere if Scotland meets her 2020 targets. The argument is that with emissions from China and other developing nations continuing to rise our contribution to the solution is miniscule and insignificant.
It is certainly true that Scotland’s overall global contribution to CO2 reduction will be a very small number as a percentage. It will however be disproportionately large compared to her population. To me this is something for Scotland to be proud of. To continue pouring pollutants into the atmosphere just because other people are is not the mark of a civilised country.
It is important to remember that the majority of anthropogenic CO2 currently in the atmosphere and causing the problem is not China’s, it is the USA’s and Europe’s.
Cumulative CO2 emissions between 1850 and 2007
1. US: 339,174 MT or 28.8%
2. China: 105,915 MT or 9.0%
3. Russia: 94,679 MT or 8.0%
4. Germany: 81,194.5 MT or 6.9%
5. UK: 68,763 MT or 5.8%
6. Japan: 45,629 MT or 3.87%
7. France: 32,667 MT or 2.77%
8. India: 28,824 MT or 2.44%
9. Canada: 25,716 MT or 2.2%
10. Ukraine: 25,431 MT or 2.2%
China at 105,915m metric tonnes of CO2 has a long way to go to catch up with the cumulative totals of the West, and may (hopefully) never do so.
So – our focus on emissions reductions is in part an acknowledgement of the historic burden we have placed on the planet, and of course ‘pour encourager les autres’.
Of all the reasons for not doing anything about our emissions this is perhaps the most pathetic. We create a problem then either refuse to acknowledge it or blame it on China. Time to man up.
Interim target of 31 per cent of demand from renewables met.
New figures published this week for the first three quarters of 2011 show Scotland’s renewable energy output was on track for the best year ever. The figures, which were released on Thursday by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, point to 2011 being a record year for renewable generation in Scotland, with the first three quarters of 2011 already delivering 94 per cent of the previous year’s totals, and 83 per cent of the previous record year. If the trend continues over the fourth quarter, 2011 will be a record year for renewable electricity in Scotland.
The statistics also demonstrate that there is enough generation capacity in Scotland to meet the country’s interim target of 31 per cent of electricity demand met from renewables in 2011. This is important progress towards the Government’s 2020 target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs met from renewable energy, as well as more from other sources.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“2011 has been an exceptional year for renewable energy in Scotland. These figures show that it is on course to be truly the best year yet. We have seen momentous progress towards our goal of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables and more from other sources by 2020, with enough renewable energy capacity installed to more than meet our interim target of 31 per cent. In the first three quarters of the year alone, renewables have already delivered 94 per cent of the previous year’s totals, and 83 per cent of the previous record year. This year projects were switched on representing 750 million pounds of investment in renewables, and a staggering 46 billion pounds of investment is in the pipeline.”
“But most importantly we have taken real steps to ensure that communities all over Scotland will benefit from the renewable energy generated in their area, with a community benefit register which will help empower communities, as well as loans projects to help them develop renewable energy projects of their own.”
The 2011 figures were published alongside figures for the whole of 2010, which show renewable installed capacity in Scotland reached a record high of 4.3 gigawatts (GW) over the year, and that Scotland continued to be a net exporter of electricity in 2010, exporting 21 per cent of electricity generated.
As a result of the driest year since 2003, hydro electric generation fell in Scotland by a third in 2010, which led to a fall in overall renewable output from a peak in 2009. Renewable sources delivered 24.1 per cent of total electricity demand in Scotland in 2010, down from 27.4 in 2009. However, this drop has been more than made up for in 2011.
The figures also show that final energy consumption fell by 7.4 per cent compared to 2008 and 9.6 per cent against the 2005-7 baseline in 2009. Although this is in part due to the temporary impact of the global recession on energy demand, the reduction indicates that Scotland is on track to meet the 2020 final energy reduction target of 12 per cent.
New report recommends devolving energy powers to Holyrood
A newly published report by Reform Scotland recommends that energy powers should be formally devolved to Holyrood so that the Scottish Government can formulate policy that meets the country’s needs and supports a policy environment that encourages innovative, low carbon sources of energy to accommodate new and emerging technologies that can make a significant economic development and environmental impact, including carbon capture and storage.
This would include:-
- increased support for research and development;
- a strategy for skills provision from universities and colleges;
- a framework for renewable development eg. port, testing and manufacturing facilities;
- accelerated planning arrangements for renewable projects;
- investment in domestic grid to facilitate an increase in new electricity generating capacity, distributed across Scotland;
- support for a wider European grid to facilitate a competitive Europe-wide market in electricity supply;
- access to grid at prices that do not discourage investment.
Reform Scotland believes that if these policies are carried out and the Scottish Government’s ambition of reaching its 100 per cent renewable target by 2020 is met, Scotland could earn £2 billion a year exporting electricity and become a world leader in new-energy technology.
It’s not ‘green taxes’ and windfarms, it’s the price of gas!
Households in the UK could face extra costs of around £300 per year as the bill for using fossil fuels to generate electricity spirals ever higher, a new report from Friends of the Earth revealed yesterday [Monday 17 October 2011] as it launched a new campaign for energy we can all afford and a public inquiry into the Big Six energy companies.
‘The Dirty Half Dozen’ report shows that if the Big Six energy companies – including household names like British Gas and E.ON – forge ahead with plans to build new fossil fuel power plants and abandon plans for new renewable energy, the nation faces an annual bill of £8 billion to £13 billion extra for our coal and gas by 2020 – with producers likely to pass the cost on to hard-pressed consumers and businesses.
Friends of the Earth is also warning that consumers are being misled about the true cause of bill hikes, with some think tanks and commentators blaming ‘green taxes’ when in fact the rocketing price of gas is to blame – and investing in clean power and cutting energy waste is the only way to bring bills down in the long run.
The campaigning charity has welcomed the recent announcement by SSE to auction all of its power on the open market as a step in the right direction, but warns that all energy companies must invest massively in renewables rather than fossil fuels to give consumers a better deal.
Top for Scotland’s renewable energy news - over 200 articles so far
Since this site went live on 15th February this year we have written and published well over 100 original and interesting articles in our blog. On top of that we have published nearly 100 short news articles - available via our NEWS DIGEST – cataloguing major events in the ongoing development of Scotland’s renewable energy sector.
Our earlier blog posts can be accessed via the Categories menu on the left hand side of the blog. Here’s a look at that menu in case you have never noticed it – why not have a look through the categories that interest you most: