So long, solar

I receive at least three emails a week asking me to add my signature to another worthy cause, and because I’m a predictably opinionated member of the liberal media elite (or if not elite, the Championship), the only surprise is that I don’t receive more of them. As Morrissey (almost) sang, Some Causes Are Bigger Than Others, and today’s inbox was illuminated – in an environmentally friendly way – by a request from Greenpeace that I object to the government’s batshit proposals to reduce the Feed-in Tariff for solar energy even more.

“Ordinary hard-working British people shouldn’t have to pay more on their energy bills to subsidise solar…blah blah blah”, prattled the latest minister too browbeaten by the Treasury to show some vision and leadership.

Oh yeah? Well, I have worked with people from the nuclear industry, some fossil fuel types and some budding biomassers over the past few years, and am fully cognisant of the minefield that is the electricity strike price, the EDF nuclear subsidy etc. etc. I get it. It’s complicated.

But the simple truth is this. More of us need to use renewable energy. (And by us, let’s restrict this to British people for now.) If we can generate it, we should. And if we can’t, well, because, as the government often tell us, “We’re all in this together,” we might just have to pay a few extra pennies to encourage those who can to do so. Via a subsidy. A subsidy that, I know very well, favours middle class homeowners in the south of the UK: a demographic that’s already holding several winning tickets in the lottery of UK life.

We have one planet. We’re frying it. Because we’re generally hardwired to avoid self-sacrifice, we aren’t going to give up our cars, our flights or our meat and two veg every night. If we are to maintain this planet for our children, we need to do something. And if that something also provides employment for thousands of people while reducing CO2 emissions, that has to be good, right? Right. So sign the petition.

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