The big news this week is that Obama’s new climate plan has been announced. At long last and not before time… The scheme is a sort of cap and trade one but one on a state by state basis. So each state can adjust its portfolio of generation to optimise CO2 reduction. They can do this by renewables and energy efficiency, making existing plant more efficient and more controversially by the use of nuclear and shale gas.
For once the word historic describes Obama’s new climate plan. By 2020 each state will have cut emissions by 25% and by 2030 by 30% over 2005 levels. Is this achievable? I would say so. The amount of solar power in the US is leaping as the US vies with China to become the world’s biggest market for PV.
However, at the moment Obama’s new climate plan is just that. There are already threats of legal action from the coal industry. There is also a danger. Over the last year US natural gas prices have edged up and with them emissions as power plants have burnt more coal. But over the last few years shale gas has led to a drop in emissions (does anyone take into account both the energy use of extraction and leaking methane?), but the coal has been exported to us. Its essential that there is a wholesale move to renewables. Germany has shown how it can be done with Germany meeting 75% of electricity demand from renewables on the 5th of May.
Finally we should not forget this is a moral issue. The poorest around the world and in our own society will be effected before the wealthier of us, but ultimately civilisation itself is at risk. As it says in Isaiah 3v15
“What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord GOD of hosts.”
A lot more detail on Obama’s new climate plan can be found here.