Fiona Harvey is a journalist consistently capable of missing the big picture on climate change, once imagining that global coal use had been in long term decline until a year ago, a statement similar to a film critic saying that he had just heard of Steven Spielberg. In regular form here she is in today’s Guardian:
The government will oppose attempts to set a new renewable energytarget within the EU, in a move that could put at risk tens of billions of pounds of green investment and tens of thousands of new jobs.
But in a sop to environment campaigners, ministers will agree to tough greenhouse gas emissions targets by 2030.
So, let’s take return to basics. When it comes to climate change all that matters is the amount of greenhouse gases we dump into the atmosphere. The number of wind turbines, solar panels, nuclear power plants or whatever other kind of low carbon prime mover is pretty much a secondary issue. Yet, it would appear to Harvey that renewable energy targets are far more important than an emissions targets. Counting renewable energy, and not carbon is bad arithmetic. We keep our eye on the progress of renewables, yet the resurgence of coal in Europe gets ignored. This kind of blinkered thinking sums up all that is wrong with environmental journalism today.
The story is carbon and whether we are producing less of it, not whether the path we take suits certain people’s prejudices. Perhaps it’s time I wrote a Carbon Counter Manifesto!
And for a little more stupidity here is Friends of the Earth’s director of policy:
BREAKING: UK opposes EU renewables target sending signal to low carbon investors they’re not welcome here BONKERS m.ft.com/cms/s/0/904121…
— Craig Bennett (@CraigBennett3) May 25, 2013
However at least one Twitterer has his head screwed on:
Guardian keener we set targets for power stations we build than for emissions we produce. That’s pretty fucked up. guardian.co.uk/environment/20…
— Richard Hall (@richonlyinname) May 26, 2013