Well Ed Milliband (Minister for Energy and Climate Change) has been a busy guy recently!
A couple of weeks ago he came out with a pretty important document called the ‘Low Carbon Transition Plan’, this sets out exactly how the UK is going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the coming years.
It was quite well received as it set out how we could reduce emissions by 34% on 1990 levels by 2020. Definitely a step towards us reaching our legally binding target of 80% reductions by 2050.
Though again a step is not a leap. Until we have secured our future on this planet no level of emissions reductions are good enough. So no sitting back Ed!
Most of these reductions would come from decarbonising our power sector. Energy from renewables will then be providing 31% of our electricity.
Interesting, since we are now over a week into a protest about the shutting down of the UK’s only wind turbine factory!
The shutting down of Vestas is something Ed has had lots to say on. He has pledged £1 billion more investment for wind farms. But he is also saying that until we as a whole country really start taking wind seriously, and the noisy minority of people opposing wind farms are dwarfed by the voices of the people calling for clean energy we will not get the renewable energy or green jobs we want.
Sounds like a challenge to me…
But back to the low carbon transition plan. In it Ed also set out how the transport sector will decrease its emissions by 14% through us all driving electric cars, taking low carbon buses and high speed trains. I wonder if a low carbon bus or a high speed train is any better at running on time…
One of the disappointments of the plan was that the only targets set for aviation were a reduction on 2005 levels by 2050.
And this neatly brings me to one last thing Ed has been up to.
On Tuesday in Oxford he attended a public meeting. As a sign of how much our movement is growing at the last minute the venue had to be changed to accommodate the 800 people who turned up (they were expecting 100).
I wasn’t able to go but Guppi, another young person from the UKYCC, was in attendance. When questioned about aviation emissions Ed responded that if we cut aviation emissions to the levels that are being asked for we would be going back to 1974 levels of flying and that “young people are flying everywhere these days, we can’t just stop them from being able to do that.”
Hang on, is this you or young people talking Ed?
As you can imagine this did not make Guppi happy and at the end of the meeting she struggled to the front to speak to him.
She asked him not to speak on behalf of young people and to also please not use us as an excuse to not cut aviation emissions.
Well put Guppi!
Young people have much more to be gained from us securing our future on this planet than flying all over the world on cheap flights, and we know that! We will not be used as an excuse by our government!
If our government wants to speak about what we think perhaps they should speak to us (we’re still waiting for a meeting Ed promised us in December last year!).
And though this low carbon transition plan does set us on the right path I hope Ed is not sitting back and relaxing. Because words mean nothing, now we need the action.
We need major, major investment in renewables. We need hundreds and thousands of new green jobs. We need to seriously make sure this new public transport works, and works well. If the high speed trains never run on time and the low carbon buses are always late no one is going to leave their cars behind.
Because we don’t just need a low carbon transition plan, we need a transition plan to a whole new way of working, a whole new society.
And young people are ready to lead the way.
If you want to know how, all you need to do is talk to us Ed.