Year of Green - The Future of Energy has to be Green
By Zoe Franklin
We have known for a long time that humanity's choices in the way we live our lives is destroying our planet and our children's futures. But we have failed to act. In particular, we have failed to act on the need to shift and end our reliance on fossil fuels and that failure lies firmly at the feet of politicians across the globe. I recognise that the shift away from fossils is not an easy one, especially for those in developing countries, so my comments in this article are primarily targeted at western political leaders and particularly successive UK governments who are in a far better position to act and yet have failed to do so.
I remember learning at school in the 1990s about fossil fuels - how they came to exist, the fact they are a finite resource and that we knew they were running out fast. Why then, if children in the 90s were being taught this, does it appear that Governments since then have 'missed the memo'? Instead, all I heard as a teen was about CFCs destroying the ozone layer - an important issue of course but I now wonder why I never heard more about renewable energy…
Renewable energy is all around us. Admittedly the UK has some challenges when it comes to solar energy for obvious reasons, but as an island nation with waterways crisscrossing it we have a potential abundance of hydro and tidal power, and there's then, of course, wind power. We are also fortunate to be a global leader in climate technology innovations. Yet, Government has lacked any urgency in its prioritisation of policy that would have pushed consumers and businesses towards renewables. Perhaps with the exception of the Coalition years when, as minority partners, the Liberal Democrats pushed the Conservatives towards prioritising the environment and incentivising a shift to renewables - incentives that rapidly disappeared once the Conservatives took solo control of Government in 2015.
Government failure to shift society towards green and renewable energy has also had a financial cost. The rocketing energy prices we are experiencing now are, to a large extent, the result of our over-reliance on fossil fuels, since it leaves us at the mercy of the volatile nature of fossil fuel prices which are subject to global and geopolitical factors far beyond our control. Of course, the financial fuel burden we are experiencing right now falls most heavily on the shoulders of low income and vulnerable members of our communities.
The reality is that we are in the midst of challenging times in terms of energy prices and they will not end quickly. But we have the ability to change and we must change in order to make energy affordable again, as well as make it green and clean. That is why I am proud of the Liberal Democrat approach to green and renewable energy. Here are the headlines:
- We want a minimum of 80% of UK electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030.
- We will invest in insulating homes and improving their energy efficiency helping people reduce their energy consumption and bills alongside the crucial shift to green energy.
- We want to permanently ban fracking due to its negative impact on climate change, the energy mix and the local environment. It is not an appropriate means of tackling our energy problems.
- We will support investment and innovation in cutting-edge energy technologies, including tidal and wave power, energy storage, demand response, smart grids and hydrogen.
- We support the Local Electricity Bill to enable communities to generate energy and enable people to buy local when it comes to energy.
This is just the start - we are always looking at new information and innovation to ensure that Liberal Democrat policy really addresses the urgency of the climate emergency we face.
If you are with me, I encourage you to take some crucial actions:
- Sign up and back our green plan: www.LibDems.org.uk/Green.
- Get involved with the work that I am doing locally alongside the Guildford Lib Dem team.
- Vote for me and the Liberal Democrats at the next election so that we can work with you to transform our future for the better.
Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford, Cranleigh and our villages
8th April 2022