Climate Change Policy

Want to know why the actual policies put forward to deal with climate change are so crap?

John Hutton, the Business Secretary, would like to see 7,000 wind turbines built off the British coastline by 2020. That’s roughly two a day, if we started construction now, worked flat out, even weekends, had enough engineers for the job (did I mention Network Rail?) and everything went without a hitch.

“It’s crazy,” says Sue Ion, from the Royal Academy of Engineering. “Building wind turbines in a difficult marine environment is not an easy job. This is a serious engineering challenge that hasn’t been thought through properly.”

In September the academy, backed by the large engineering institutions, proposed a feasibility project to see whether Government ambitions to green the nation were technically doable. The project would, according to Dr Ion, provide a kind of engineering roadmap, assessing current technologies and forecasting research still required. Best of all, it would cost a miserly £750,000 and be free of vested industrial interests.

Surprisingly, the Government has yet to respond. Dr Ion admits her frustration: “The science on climate change is clear but people have forgotten that engineers have to apply that science. It’s all very well to say that we’ll have 20 per cent of our energy coming from wind power by 2020, but that’s useless if nobody’s done any studies on how that’s going to be delivered. If people continue to set unrealisable targets, Government policy will begin to lose credibility.”

Because everyone\’s missed a rather important point. Having accepted the "scientific consensus" everyone is now shouting out in their own best interests. If you are indeed going to accept the position of experts, wouldn\’t it be rather useful to listen to all of the experts? The engineers, say, the economists perhaps?

Instead of the political process, which is simply a sorting though of the various special interest groups?

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