Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan

There’s an issue that makes Brexit, let alone the internal LP fight, almost insignificant. In twenty years’ time, or maybe 50 or 80, will human life on earth be sustainable? Will food production be sufficient? Will catastrophic droughts, floods, storms of all kinds make our present world seem like paradise in comparison?

To prevent this, and it’s just a possibility, we need immediate and drastic action, a complete revolution in energy use, such as we have never seen. The use of fossil fuels has to stop – soon. Capitalist societies will have great difficulty in doing this – some would say it’s impossible for them. The fossil fuel companies are huge, and hugely influential. I thought that some European countries were taking important steps, although none fast enough at the moment. Today I saw news in The Guardian, however, which shocked me:

“…….. The EU’s renewable energy directive. The climate law could suck in as much imported wood as Europe harvests each year because it will count energy created from the burning of whole trees as “carbon neutral”, according to several academics, including a former vice-chair of the UN IPCC.”

This is something LI members should be aware of, and spreading awareness of. This directive must be changed, to stop wholesale felling and burning of mature trees, with the argument that replanting will eventually replace the carbon stored in those trees. The key for me is ‘eventually’. We are close to an historic tipping point of climate change, and we have to stop increasing the CO2 level in the atmosphere as soon as possible. Waiting for decades to ‘soak up’ the CO2 from burning trees now, and in the next few decades, is extremely dangerous.

Please use any influence you have to get this directive changed.

Local Note:

Where I live the native woodlands are being burnt for heating and cooking in a non-sustainable way, as people come to this attractive area to retire and for tourism. I use a sawdust stove for heating and bottled gas and electricity for cooking. Although Chile is so neo-liberal, at last it is recognised that renewables are more economic long-term. And they continue to get cheaper. There is tremendous investment in solar energy – the Atacama desert having the clearest skies on the planet and high radiation – and wind power. We could be exporting energy soon.

Other renewables are not yet important, but could be. A scheme to store solar energy by pumping sea water up a cliff to a natural hollow, releasing it through turbines when needed, awaits investment. So cheap is electricity forecast to become, that it should replace wood stoves for heating, thus cleaning up the extremely dirty air in southern cities.

Dan Morgan

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