Your chance to tell Mark Lynas where the green movement needs to go from here

Here are a few comments from Mark Lynas, quoted in a Guardian article yesterday (14th June).

‘…the green movement is stuck in a rut, but I think the problem is deeper than mere professionalisation and endless strategy meetings in corporate NGO head offices.

“Many ‘green’ campaigns, like those against nuclear power and GM crops, are not actually scientifically defensible, whilst real issues like nitrogen pollution and land use go ignored. The movement is also stuck in a left-wing box of narrow partisan politics, and needs to appeal to a broader mass of the public who are simply not interested in organic farming and hippy lifestyle choices. It needs to re-engage with science, as well as with the general public, if it is to remain relevant to the 21st century’.

Mark’s new book The God Species, available in shops in the next few weeks, looks at what the world’s environmental movement needs to focus on. How can we use science productively to solve ecological problems? Along the way, he takes multiple swipes at what he sees as the irrational and anti-scientific tendencies in many green organisations, obsessed with fighting the wrong battles.

Come to listen to Mark Lynas and Professor Johan Rockstrom, the leading figure in the ‘planetary boundaries’ movement that seeks to quantify the ecological limits that mankind has to stay within. Central London, afternoon Wednesday 6th July, free admission but reservation vital. All the details are here.

(22.June.2011 – last few tickets available, book now)

Planetary Boundaries PDF

(When booking, please say you saw these details on Carbon Commentary).

  1. Carlo Ombello’s avatar

    There are few, but well armed “environmentalists” in the UK who, knowing little about the available technologies, show utter faith in that industrial dinosaur which is nuclear fission. Going to the point of claiming that the current UK (lack of) energy policy is good, and anyway better than that of Germany or others is amusing.

    Italy, for that matter, had this referendum set since 12 months ago, and it would have been largely won regardless of Fukushima. An overwhelming number of citizens went to the poll despite complete silence by Government-influenced TV and radio broadcasters, and despite 12 months of unbearable lies about pros and cons of nuclear.

    For once, I would like such environmentalists to tell us what they think we should be doing for those 10 years during which a nuclear plant would be built, without producing a single kWh.

    In the meantime, silly Italians and Germans have installed in one year so many PV plants as to replace the annual production of 1 GW nuclear plant, in each country. Italy will produce 9% of its electricity through solar power by 2016 (or more, now that a new energy policy will be set), on top of all other sources which now already account for 20% of electricity generation.

    Studies are also showing that the much trumpeted costs of PV incentives (paid for by retail consumers) are actually more than offset by the peak shaving effect that solar power is producing on prices now that it’s being sold at minimum prices in the market at peak hours, to the detriment of peak fossil fuel plants. Let alone the fact that, once the 20yrs FiTs are over, solar plants will still produce free electricity for another 10, 20 or 30 years, something no one ever seems to appreciate.

    One last, immediate effect of the demise of nuclear plans. Geothermal is finally going to get a boost, we have in Italy a 10 GW potential mostly untapped, which would give us 20% of our electricity. A 1GW project is being developed offshore right now, after years of political disinterest. Wave power is also getting a boost, with first projections of GW level production in a few years.

    And finally, the demise of nuclear should not boost coal plants installations. Instead all current coal plants should be decommissioned in favour of gas combined cycle plants. The UK has a long way to go before it can claim anything in terms of sustainability and clean power. A simple plan should be to stick to the massive offshore wind deployment, and complete decommissioning of coal in favour of gas. But “experts” will keep talking about nuclear, good luck to Mark Lynas!

    Carlo Ombello

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