Electorate are at the mercy and ideological whims of politicians

I WOULD like to respond to a recent article produced by the President of the States Committee for the Environment and Infrastructure, published in the Guernsey Press (Saturday 12 November).

While I welcome the opportunity to gain some understanding of our government’s intentions towards combatting climate change, I find this article sadly lacking in any factual information. Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez tells readers that a ‘more sustainable Guernsey’ is the only option. Assuming that this is correct then, what are we to do?

Apparently, the ‘Green Way’ is not only viable but more affordable, healthier and safer. It will lead to tangible improvements to our quality of life ‘a more reasonable cost of living, better access to better quality housing and green spaces, vibrant public areas and a thriving economy and natural environment’. How?

She goes on to assure readers that ‘it will be easier to move safely and conveniently around the island – we won’t need to find an extra hour to navigate our way to and from work when there are multiple road closures’. How does ‘renewable energy’ bring that about? It seems to me that, providing all the extra infrastructure (connecting wind or solar farms to the public supply) will require more road closures.

Unless, of course, we are all cycling or walking by then. Possible for the young but not very realistic for the elderly.

She champions the transition from the ‘brown economy’ (based on fossil fuels and wasteful linear consumption patterns) to the ‘green economy’ based on renewable energy and more efficient, more circular use of resources. She even provides an analogy using a water bottle to illustrate the dreadful waste of energy in the production thereof. She makes a particular (and relevant) point about the ‘used’ bottle ending up in landfill, or even worse the natural environment. Would it not have been possible to re-use the bottle?

On that point, I am in entire agreement with Deputy de Sausmarez.

In my opinion there is far too much unnecessary plastic packaging within our environment. The supermarkets should be made to do something more about this problem. They have, at least, cut right back on plastic carrier bags but they still have a long way to go. Some shoppers take their own bags or baskets to the shops. It is possible to purchase fruit and vegetables individually rather than in plastic packaging.

From there on I beg to differ with the article. The deputy implies that she does not like the idea of ‘landfill’. Perhaps then, she can explain what she intends to do with all of the solar panels at the end of their useful lives. (Even more so the component parts of the wind turbines proposed by Deputy Meerveld). None of these items are biodegradable and more importantly, they contain large amounts of dangerous chemicals and metals (cadmium, chromium and lithium). Is the intention to send the redundant parts ‘off-island’ for burial (perhaps in some third world country where they don’t appreciate the danger)?

Or will we consign them to some disused quarry where they can gradually leach into our water supply?

So much for the ‘safe, clean green energy’. As for it being cheaper, ask the people of California. No fossil fuel power stations in that State. Sadly, even there, the elements, sun and wind are not sufficient to fulfil their requirements. They either suffer lengthy ‘blackouts’ and/or have to import power from other States who use fossil fuel or nuclear supplies.

Regarding efficiency, I again have my doubts on so called ‘renewables’. What is renewable about them? I have read that it takes more energy (fossil fuelled) to build a wind turbine than that particular unit will produce in it’s useful lifetime. If/when we have our beautiful array of turbines off our coasts, how much will it cost to maintain and replace these units? Will there be a security threat?

My other worry (based on a great deal of reading on this subject) is about the efficacy of solar panels currently on the market. I believe that some cheaper units are now available (made in China, of course) but these items are less well made and are more likely to leach chemicals etc. during times of heavy rain. Again, putting our water supplies at risk.

Deputy de Sausmarez tells us that we have the ability to ‘punch well above our weight’ if we follow this course of ‘green energy’. Really?

We cannot rely on wind and solar power to produce enough energy for our own needs (let alone make millions from exporting all the excess from our ‘wind farm’). Most people will have noticed that we do have the occasional ‘calm day’ and there are many days on which we don’t see the sun. Can we rely on France to supply our extra needs? France will be expected to keep most of Europe ‘powered up’ (especially those countries unwise enough to rely on energy from Russia). We would be crazy to assume that M Macron’s government would give us any preferential treatment (contract or not). Rio Tinto Zinc have just announced that there is not enough lithium available now nor will there be in the near future to produce all the batteries needed for EVs alone. What about our other requirements?

Green Finance will not provide us with any energy. I notice that the majority of ‘experts’ promoting a move to ‘renewables’ appear to be ‘investment bankers’. Obviously well-versed in climatology and not at all interested in personal gain.

Finally, she warns us of the many dangers of not changing to a ‘greener’ lifestyle. One of which is coastal erosion. Perhaps she could clarify what her department are intending to do about the Fermain sea wall, and when.

How much of the island will be lost to the sea if/when the anti-tank wall is removed?

Basically, we, the electorate and taxpayers are at the mercy and ideological whims of politicians. None of them are likely to still be around in 2100, when, it seems to me, we may well have entered a period of far cooler climate. No doubt the virtue-signalers among them will claim that the survival of our planet is down to their timely warnings.

Now, most importantly, I want to express my dismay and concern that Deputy de Sausmarez should use her column to interfere with what is supposedly a ‘democratic process’. She hasn’t actually mentioned another deputy by name but it is quite clear to whom she refers. She asks ‘will the appointment to P&R of a deputy who rejects the scientific and international consensus on climate change affect our government’s agreed priorities, or Guernsey’s growing reputation as a green and sustainable finance centre?’

So, there you have it. It has nothing to do with climate but everything to do with money.

As a previous head of the IPCC once said in interview: ‘It is not about climate. It is about the redistribution of wealth’.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of

the time.

PETER HUGO

St Andrew’s

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