If the SNP wishes to convince us of the sincerity of its intention to create a more just society there is one issue upon which the First Minister must reflect (“Sturgeon demands new Tory approach on energy” in order ‘to safeguard the future of Scotland’s flagship renewables industry’, 20 May).
One of the most significant indicators of the plutocratic takeover of our society is the transfer of wealth, through the renewables subsidy regime, from the people, many of whom are already in fuel poverty, to the corporate sector.
The Scottish Government must recognise that its social-democratic credibility cannot be sustained unless it addresses this issue.
The bribing of some local communities by throwing a few relatively minuscule crumbs from the “rich man’s table” in their direction is no more than an attempt by the wind lobby to divert voters’ attention away from the regressive nature of the aforementioned subsidy regime.
I wholeheartedly agree with the principle of support for poorer communities but it ought to be done in a transparent manner by means of the existing democratic mechanisms for the distribution of resources on the basis of need and not on the basis of which way the wind blows.
Does Nicola Sturgeon really believe her far-reaching powers will change the pledges in the majority Conservative government’s election manifesto regarding onshore wind subsidies?
Surely they now have a mandate to implement this unopposed – something the SNP are very keen to shout about when forcing their will upon us at Holyrood.
She should perhaps respect they have a duty to those who voted for them, including many thousands in Scotland, to stop the wind boondoggle.
The Westminster government has recognised how expensive and deeply unpopular onshore wind is, especially with those adversely affected by it.
Only in Scotland could the government blunder blindly on promoting onshore wind and ignoring the burden on the consumer, the distress of communities, the pleadings from environmental groups to protect wild land, the destruction of the environment, wildlife and tourism industry for something that will never give us energy security or cause the closure of a single fossil fuel power station.
Nor is there any proof at all that any CO2 emissions will be saved.
Flagship policy? More like a rowing boat with the bung pulled out.
Your report, that “the First Minister wants … assurances over subsidies for green energy schemes” is timely, coming as it does just days after the publication of an International Monetary Fund paper: How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies?
Contrary to the impression assiduously cultivated by several of your regular correspondents on the issue of renewable energy subsidies, the IMF paper reports that renewable energy receives annual global subsidies of £120 billion whereas fossil fuel energy receives £3.4 trillion – more than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.
And this is only half the story: both the IMF and the World Bank have pointed out that fossil fuel subsidies go overwhelmingly to the rich, with the wealthiest 20 per cent in low and middle income countries receiving six times as much as the poorest 20 per cent; while the lead author of the IMF report has stated that correct (ie unsubsidised) pricing of fossil fuel energy would make renewable energy “all of a sudden … a much more practical option”.
Finally, we have the crazy situation where many of the subsidies given to fossil fuel companies are used to search for new reserves of oil, gas and coal, when the overwhelming scientific evidence shows that we need to leave these in the ground if we are to avoid potentially catastrophic, irreversible climate change.