Showing posts with label government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label government. Show all posts

Saturday 29 June 2024

A Just Transition who decides


Its crucial we have sustainable and realistic moves to Net Zero. For a fair just transition should a small group of activists decide?


Fossil free Books (FFB), campaigned in 2023 to have UKs book festivals ban major sponsorship by Baillie Gifford investment bank, who also fund Edinburgh’s children’s program. This was brought to a head by Greta Thunberg’s cancellation of her major event at Edinburgh’s Playhouse last year. This also effected the Hay and Cheltenham’s book festivals in England.


It turns out only 2% the Baillie Gifford investment is for fossil fuels – and that most financial investment banks have 11% fossil fuel investments. Bookshop Waterstone’s are backed by Elliot advisors investment bank, who have oil and gas funds - as have Amazon books. in fact book production itself requires fossil fuels. 


The Green economy requires both private and public funding. The Greens, in the Scottish government partnership have encouraged ‘active travel’ – which is fine – but at the huge expense of drastic cuts to road infrastructure. Quite simply not everyone can ride a bike to work. Spending on main A trunk roads  - in 2016, 500m/ 2021, 54m/ and 2024, 12m. 


Book festivals are a major platform for informed and constructive debate on many major issues facing us, such as the climate emergency. The Arts funding, particularly after Covid, are under serious financial strain. Did book festivals appear an easy target? I attend EIBF each year and its an unmatched place for informed debate, intellectual collaboration and creative thinking. Why are green activists targeting a place of free add open ideas for our future? When there are so many fake, ignorant click baits on so much of online media?


We must question why a small group of extreme activists must hold the rest of us to account? I’m as keen as anyone on a just transition but it must start at the cliff face. That is by consumers asking for plastic free food. Twenty years ago our fruit and veg would not come wrapped in plastic, but rather cardboard or brown bags. A main culprit to the climate crisis, is plastic clothes and there must be another way of producing plastic free practical sweat tops etc. I buy cotton when its available. I prefer organic and vegetarian food.


This rush to Net Zero is not all about electric cars. Its about improved infrastructure – park and ride, joined up transport, better insulation etc. Scandinavia has been planning for net zero since the 70s. Britain is far behind this curve. About biodiversity, natural woodlands, and protecting our seas.. Meanwhile Baillie Gifford invests in several green innovations such as – Northvolt (Swedish battery company), Climeworks (carbon capture Iceland), Solagen (Texas, first carbon-negative molecule)


Who decides on planning for this huge pylon destruction of Scotland’s beautiful countryside? – the local council, the Scottish government or the UK government. Energy policy is reserved to Westminster. 

New oilrigs are much more efficient while the older rigs are more carbon inefficient – so the carbon intensity must be analysed on a case by case basis – as the SNP are advising. Scotland will require the engineering skills of UK companies to aid with green innovations for our just transition. 


I agree we must encourage a green economy and jobs for the future – as Biden has done in America with a green deal. The reality is complicated with the need for investment. Its such as farce – when ignorance leads to misguided judgements and imposing fake opinions on how both scientific innovation and investment actually works. The green economy requires both private and public funding and for oil companies to drive innovation to a greener future. 


The green activists would turn off the oil and gas taps tomorrow. This is not practical. The UKs older homes are poorly insulated. What about petrochemicals that are used in medicine, dyes, paint, clothes, supplies for industry and more. Until an alternative can be found we will need oil and gas for decades to come.