‘Renewable Energy Solutions; fact or fiction’


Report 10th April St. James Debates, Riding Mill led by Malcolm Reid and Bob Hull who are both supporters of Transition Tynedale.

‘Renewable Energy Solutions; fact or fiction’

At the Parish Hall 40 people gathered to hear 30 minute speeches by Malcolm and Bob; who each described their personal and organisational involvement and commitment to sustainability, and reduction of carbon emissions in the face of the predicted catastrophic events resulting from man made climate change; effects that are already occurring could well become irreversible in less than 20years unless there is pressure for intergovernmental global action.

Bob was formerly employed developing policy and action plans for the EU for over 10 years and he has worked tirelessly for the Hexham Hydro Project. He is Chairman of Hexham Community Partnership and currently involved with a renewable energy company hoping to extract gas off the North-east coast. He assured us this is not fracking but a more environmentally friendly method to extract natural gas. Bob is actively involved with ethical business enterprises including the development plans for the Local Community Renewable Energy Project. He explained how the UK has a wealth of opportunities for the development of renewable energy supplies, including off-shore wind turbines, solar panels, and natural gas production from the North Sea, but the powerful influences of the oil and coal industries are obstructing government from the necessary investment in renewable energy sources.

Thus the global scientific imperatives to reduce carbon emissions have failed to break the destructive cycle of excavation, combustion, and consumption that is threatening to cause climate change that will cause social and environmental catastrophe.

Malcolm spoke about the importance of direct non-violent action by enlightened individuals. He described the recent success of Greenpeace when the Russians were observed drilling for oil in the Arctic. Malcolm believes in the power of people to influence politicians; but described the dis-affection of younger people with ‘Politics’ as a problem that is allowing governments to get elected without regard for the long-term consequences and their lack of will to address the problem of climate change. Malcolm emphasised the need for equality, for resources to be shared with the developing countries and for the excessive combustion and consumption of the Western nations to be reduced. We must vote for a government that will recognize the urgent need for change.

After a delicious meal and time to socialise the floor was open for a discussion ranging from population growth, the value of ethical investments, the opinions of James Lovelock, and the importance of nuclear energy to bridge the gap in our energy supply. And finally, the elephant in the room, we focused on methods that each one of us can do to reduce our own carbon emissions, and enjoy the benefits for all of adapting to more sustainable lifestyles.

Barbara Grundey


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