23 April 2009
Commenting on the government's announcement of public funding for carbon capture and storage projects, Caroline Lucas MEP, leader of the Green Party, said today:
"CCS is the wrong technology for the UK. We're facing a recession as well as a climate crisis, and we need a lot of jobs urgently."
"Carbon capture projects wouldn't start delivering either emissions reductions or jobs for the next decade. But existing renewables technologies and energy-conservation prgrammes could do both, and that's where the government should be putting its effort."
The Greens argue that comparative studies have always shown renewable energy sustains far more jobs per megawatt than coal.
Recently the Department for Energy and Climate Change said the global market from carbon capture and storage (CCS) on coal-fired stations could be worth £2.4 billion a year to the UK by 2030, creating over 50,000 jobs. But the Green Party said then that:
* Investment in wind energy instead of "clean coal" could generate four times as many jobs, ten years sooner.
* A nationwide energy-conservation programme could generate almost three times as many jobs as "clean coal" - while reducing energy demand to such a level that the new coal-fired power stations would not be necessary.
Green Party spokesperson on sustainable development, Professor John Whitelegg, commented:
"The promised 50,000 jobs in CCS by 2030 are far too few, far too late. On the other hand, if we generated the same proportion of our electricity from windfarms as Denmark does, and at the rate of growth Denmark has achieved, we'd create about 200,000 jobs by 2020."
"We could start doing this tomorrow and achieve the emissions reduction and the job-creation we need much faster than with so-called 'clean coal.'"
"And if we bring every home in the UK up to the proper energy-saving standards, this alone could create 137,000 jobs, and we'll save so much energy we wouldn't need coal-fired stations anyway."
Professor Whitelegg added: "And with coal, we'd be dependent on imported energy just as we are now, and vulnerable to potential price fluctuations and disruption as we have been with oil. We need to leave that coal in the ground and invest heavily in energy-conservation and renewables."
"We know how to achieve a very low-carbon economy through jobs-rich green energy policies. Why on earth should we tinker with jobs-poor unproven technology that keeps us dependent on fossil fuels?"
From Green Party press office, 020 7561 0282.
Published and promoted by Spencer Fitz-Gibbon for the Green Party of England & Wales, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.