Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Climate Camp Workshop: Are Renewables As Good As They Seem?

A presentation by the Nordic Folkecentre on Renewable Energy.

There are two visions of renewable energy: most of us share both of these visions but we need to fight to keep both as a reality.

The first vision is of a rapid decarbonisation of our energy system and a mitigation of climate change. This is underway and accelerating fast. The second is a decentralisation of energy, a more local approach where personal ownership of renewables and a lessening of corporate involvement in energy systems causes a reduction in political power associated with energy provision. This second vision sees renewable energy as anti-imperialist in the sense that investment is local and impacts of energy acquisition for one portion of the global population are not imposed on another portion. This is a fine vision, and in terms of concern about climate change (largely motivated by our concern of its impacts on people) this appears to be a nice synergy.

In practice some renewable energies require large amounts of land, and with agrofuels in particular this can lead to indigenous peoples being forced off there land. Other renewables can often be produced in a sympathetic way, but if the attempt isn't made then they can be hugely destructive.

Renewables are only as good as they seem if the people where they are developed are either the ones doing the developing or are heavily involved. Decentralisation is preferable to mega-projects and open access to good technologies in a open source manner is a very significant factor in getting power to the people.


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Climate Change Action

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