We all know that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are bad news for the planet. Methane, however, is worse - approximately 23 times as potent as CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
So this story isn't good news:
Still, fortunately there are some groups which, having taken the science of climate change onboard, have some solutions in mind. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), for example, recently released a report examining how the UK could source at least 60% of its electricity from renewables by 2030:
Of course, the UK would be off to a fairly good start because Scotland has already committed itself to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2020. Realistically, the rest of the British Isles ought to be upping its game so that Scotland doesn't leave us standing (Scotland can already foresee a net income of £2bn and world-leader status in new-energy technologies, as long as Westminster doesn't foul everything up for them). And, given the scale of the climate crisis we face, 60% renewable energy for the UK by 2030 should be thought of as a modest ambition.
However, here's some more bad news. Amply covered by the Telegraph, among others, the right-wing Adam Smith Institute has paired up with the anti-renewables, climate-change-denying Scientific Alliance to produce a thoroughly bogus report about renewables not being economically viable. There's nothing new in this report - in fact, it's the same old misleading hogwash advanced by lobby groups and right-wing ideologues that we've all grown so familiar and fed up with (unless we're raving nimbies). And it's not just the renewables industry that has attacked the wayward propagandists of the Adam Smith Institute over this blatantly inaccurate and unscientific report. The government has, too.
The big question is: how is all this playing out with the great British public? Well, as two recent YouGov polls show, the results are ... interesting.
For reasons best known to themselves, the Times and the Sunday Times have chosen not to publish some of the results of their YouGov survey, but you can see them here:
First of all, the poll shows that a clear majority of those polled support the construction of a high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. So, that's one in the eye for those noisy anti-HS2 fanatics.
Then we discover that the majority of those polled - even among Conservative voters - feel that there should be MORE windfarms in Britain than there are at the moment. Yep, no less than 68% of those polled want to see more elegant, inspiring and impressive wind turbines quietly and harmlessly generating clean, green, cheap electricity.
Now, here's the really fun part. According to the Sunday Times poll, no fewer than 60% of those polled (Tory voters included) believe that the government is RIGHT to subsidise windfarms to encourage the use of wind power. No wonder these results haven't been published in the Murdoch press!! After all the insane exaggerations and blatant lies about windfarms and subsidies, it seems the majority of the Great British Public thinks that subsidies for windfarms are the RIGHT THING TO DO!!
What's this??? Can it be that the deranged anti-nowhere league which is currently marching, jackbotted and megaphoned, through this green and pleasant land of ours is simply an abusive and noisome minority of frauds and fools??? Could it be that most Britons can see sense and know that we need:
1) a High-Speed Rail Link
2) MORE windfarms
3) SUBSIDIES for those windfarms
And then there's another YouGov poll, recently conducted for energy giant EDF:
This one's possibly more conclusive. The vast majority (72%) of those polled in 2010 were "FAVOURABLE" towards windfarms. That includes Conservative voters. By way of contrast, just 42% were favourable towards nuclear power stations and a measly 24% towards gas-fired power stations.
Now, to go back aways, VVASP lied - repeat: LIED - about the level of local opposition to the proposed Lenchwick Windfarm. They'd probably lie about the resuts of these YouGov surveys. But both polls are unequivocal: the majority of Britons are FAVOURABLE towards wind power, SUPPORT windfarms and believe that government SUBSIDIES for wind power are RIGHT.
It's not all good news, though. Constant right-wing propaganda is having an effect on these figures. In 2007, for example, 76% of those polled were favourable towards wind power. It's not the increase in the number of working windfarms which has brought this figure down to 72% because people tend to like working windfarms and only go a bit berserk about windfarms that don't exist yet. So the only explanation for the minor erosion in public support for windfarms is the incessant campaign of lies against them masterminded by weirdos and maniacs.
The same demented campaigning by dishonest, not-what-they-seem groups, like the so-called Scientific Alliance and the laughable Global Warming Policy Foundation, accounts for one of the most depressing figures in the EDF poll. Last year, for the first time in the surveys, more people thought that "It is not yet clear whether climate change is happening or not - scientists are divided on this issue" than "It is a serious and urgent problem and radical steps must be taken NOW to prevent terrible damage being done to the planet".
Seems the propaganda is working, in its insidious, drip-drip way. People are beginning to believe the anti-renewables, climate-change-denying lies. Thanks to the monstrous efforts of a tiny minority, the whole country is getting steadily stupider.
There's still hope, folks. But it's diminishing fast.