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Monday, February 20, 2012

Freedom of information request to find what is planned in our name

Dear Mr Lacy,
Thank you for your last email.

As you must appreciate this exchange of correspondence has followed a strange path. Firstly you were unable to provide any proposals to increase the level of ambition on international climate change co-operation. Then in the last email you say that something will be provided but that you cannot say anything about it. I am sure that you will understand that I should be rightly sceptical.

As this is an issue of major public interest, I would request that you make the proposals available under the Freedom of Information act.
I have also read the document that you have referred to in the last correspondence that was the basis of your position.
The following suggests the strategy for achieving the targeted CO2 cuts is highly unlikely to be achieved:
  • The document has a heavy reliance on carbon capture and storage. Unsurprisingly this is proving to be a commercial failure. The basic laws of thermodynamics make the idea of carbon capture and storage a non-starter. It takes so much energy to extract the carbon, compress it and then mine and transport the additional coal needed to run the process it barely passes the basic test of viability. Its fundamental flaws are made especially acute in a world that has already run increasingly short of fossil fuel. Put simply, carbon capture and storage will speed us along the path towards peak oil and peak energy. 
  • Likewise, your document bets heavily on nuclear. This is despite the ongoing and developing disaster in Fukishima where large parts of Japan are being abandoned forever.  I also note that there is nothing in the document about the carbon budget associated with the massive decommissioning programme that will eventually be needed  and how this will be catered for once our fossil fuel reserves have been exhausted.
  • The other significant omission is the carbon budget for the military and the construction and operation of our nuclear deterrence. Please explain how this will be incorporated into the UK Low Carbon Plan and how taxes will be raised to fund it in the economic environment that the document presupposes

Your own figures show UK CO2 emissions are now rising. The emissions from the nations that we are compete with are also rising. This makes it more important than ever that we propose true co-operation on climate change.  I therefore find it hard to understand why as a minimum we cannot commit to quantifying the CO2 emissions associated with the Trident System replacement as part of the Durban Platform.

Kevin Lister

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