Liz Screen states in the case for coal that the UK should re-invest in deep mining coal, stating that
“......to suggest that renewable technologies alone can power Britain cleanly and securely is also somewhat disingenuous.”I agree, renewables can not alone power Britain. This can only be achieved together with a massive investment in energy efficiency and a change in lifestyle. We can not keep going along with the mantra of unlimited economic growth, which is unsustainable.
We must abandon the idea of trying to keep up with the Jones' economic growth. There aren't enough resources on the planet to allow every country to aspire to the level of growth demonstrated by the west and the likes of India, China and Brasil. Last month the world entered into ecological debt, the date upon which the sum of global annually renewable resources has been consumed for the year.
Everyone will have to take their collective heads out of the sand and realise that the only way that we're going to get ourselves out of this climate mess is to face up to the changes in lifestyle that we're going to have to make, that will allow a decent standard of living for everyone on the planet. Implementing these measures will lead to a lot of job creation, too.
“Growth forever, as conventionally defined ..., within fixed, though flexible, limits isn’t possible. Sooner or later we will hit the biosphere’s buffers”Whilst acknowledging the cultural significance of deep coal mining in the UK especially in Wales, it can no longer play a role in the future energy needs of the UK. Much has been said about coal meeting part of the UK's energy mix, especially with so-called clean coal, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), but in reality CCS will not be ready in time, nor is the technology proven. The process of capturing the carbon at source can consume up to 40% of the output of the power station, thus reducing its efficiency.
The sequestrated carbon will have to be isolated from the environment longer than high level nuclear waste - at least nuclear waste decays over time (albeit a very long time!). How certain can we be that the geological deposits can contain the sequested carbon over these vast time scales?
CCS measures are, at the moment, market lead. There is no government lead on this. Are we going to trust something as vital as this to the market? CCS is touted as a lifeline to a struggling coal industry, but in reality it's just another example of greenwash.
King coal's days are over. We must not return to those days again, where so many communities were dependant on one source of employment. We must look to more diverse, resilient and sustainable ways of using energy, and to change the way we live our lives. To quote Ted Trainer:
“ To save the planet we do not need miraculous technological breakthroughs, or vast amounts of capital. Essentially we need a radical change in our thinking and behaviour.”