The Green Party recognises an urgent need for job creation in the recession and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre will provide skilled jobs for Rotherham and South Yorkshire. However, we must express disappointment over years of government inaction which has failed to exploit the natural energy our island has in abundance.
June 2008 saw the publication of the “Green New Deal”, outlining clean solutions to climate change which could quickly create tens of thousands jobs in a recession. That was followed by the first Green New Deal conference in Sheffield in February 2009. Despite the urgency, we have seen indifference from Yorkshire Forward as they steer the region to a future of Drax, airport expansion and nuclear power. And indifference from a government prepared to leave future generations with the legacy of burning fossil fuels and radioactive nuclear waste.
We could have been leading the way in Europe on solar, tidal and wind energy as we cut our oil dependency and tackled climate change. We could be insulating all our homes and buildings as we cut energy waste while cutting fuel bills. Instead, lack of government support has prevented the massive transition needed from fossil fuels to green energy. A nuclear industry that has relied on massive public subsidies for all its 50 years will again be bankrolled by taxpayers as their lobbyists portray it as the “only answer” to climate change.
It will be another decade before the new power stations come on line by which time the world may be fighting over limited supplies of uranium. Huge problems still remain with design, supply, safety, waste products, and decommissioning. Decommissioning is extremely expensive and always paid for by the taxpayer.
The power of water, sun and wind is all around us and it can be exploited with a small impact on the planet while protecting it for our children and grandchildren. If the government acts now we can massively cut energy waste and cleanly cut emissions over the next decade to avert this crisis, creating the jobs we need without resorting to the nuclear option.
Sheffield Green Party