Any serious attempt to dramatically cut carbon emissions is going to mean draconian cuts in living standards. Maybe the one is really called for, though I am skeptical; but those pushing cap & trade and similar kinds of legislation in Europe haven't been open about the other.
Or at least not until now. This from The London Telegraph:
Demand for power from homes and businesses will exceed supply from the national grid within eight years, according to official figures.
The shortage of supplies will hit the equivalent of many as 16 million families for at least one hour during the year, it is forecast.
The admission that Britain will face power-cuts is contained in a document that accompanied the Government's Low Carbon Transition Plan, which was launched in July.
Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, outlined the plan amid much fanfare.
Britain has an Energy and Climate Change Secretary?
The looming problem in Britain is caused by the scheduled closure by 2015 of nine oil and coal-fired power plants. They are the victim of an EU directive designed to cut pollution.
In addition, four existing nuclear power plants are set to be shut, adding to the need for new sources of energy.
Labour failed for several years to commit to a new generation of nuclear power stations. Several reviews and rows with the green lobby delayed any definitive statement on the issue.
So Britain is going to close some perfectly good oil and coal-fired power plants, maybe keep open some nuclear plants that are supposed to be decommissioned, but can't seem to get around to building new nuclear plants. The only good news here for the Brits is this:
Greg Clark, the shadow climate and energy change secretary… pointed out that the scale of the blackouts could in fact be three times worse than the Government predictions. He said some of the modelling used was "optimistic" as it assumes little or no change in electricity demand up until to 2020. It also assumes a rapid increase in wind farm capacity. There is also the assumption that existing nuclear power stations will be granted extensions to their "lifetimes".
That's good news if the bit about a rapid increase in wind farm capacity means that there won't in fact be such a rapid increase. Wind power doesn't curb pollution and it doesn't provide a net gain in power. So if they can't manage to increase wind power like they plan because, basically, they are lousy and doing anything they plan to do, that's unexpected good news, no?
So maybe there is hope than it looks like. But that's true only if the government responds to the present situation with the same incompetence that got it there in the first place.