Brown's Green New No Deal

by | Apr 2, 2009

Climate Resistance Editor Ben has an article in The Register, on the UK government’s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy – the ‘Green New Deal’.

Apparently 400,000 new “environmental sector” jobs will be created by 2017, according to Gordon Brown, who reckoned 1.3 million people would by then be working in “green” jobs. According to Mandelson, “The huge industrial revolution that is unfolding in converting our economy to low carbon is going to present huge business and employment opportunities.”

But what are these jobs – and how did they get that number?

Read on…

Annoyingly, there wasn’t time to include the latest news from the UK’s ‘growing’ green sector, that BP have axed 620 of 2,200 jobs at its solar power operations. The Guardian takes up the story

Andrew Mill, who sits on the UK government’s Renewables Advisory Board, told the Guardian 10 days ago that the renewables sector was heading for crisis and British ministers’ climate change targets would not be met. “The government has done a lot in terms of policies and targets, but the reality is that it was always going to take a lot of money to make it happen. And that money is not coming through quickly enough.”

In other news, the failure of the government’s unicorn-spotting task-force has also been blamed on insufficient funding. 

More seriously, that renewable technology cannot produce the goods – literally – at a time when we are, allegedly, suffering from ‘peak oil’, and massive subsidies are available to renewable generators, and fines imposed for failing to meet targets, all ought to wake our glorious leaders up a bit. Instead, the language emerging from the G20 meetings indicates their belief that the ‘economic recovery’ will be ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’. 

It will be powered by unicorn shit. 


  1. Alex Cull

    I don’t think the current government can create a Low Carbon Industrial Revolution by simply wishing it into existence. The real Industrial Revolution didn’t happen just because a bunch of 18th century government ministers sat down and decided to launch a massive restructuring of society in order to move away from a mostly agrarian economy. There was no five-year plan. Jobs in the industrialised economy were created from the bottom up, as it were, by people such as mill owners and railway builders who envisaged new ways to become wealthy and used developments such as the steam engine, mechanical looms, canals and cast iron to enrich themselves; employing vast numbers of workers was a means to this end. That’s my understanding, anyway.

    To use a pre-industrial metaphor, the government is talking about constructing a wonderful new cart with which to convey us out of the quagmire of recession. Unfortunately, there is no sign yet of any suitable horse (or unicorn?) to pull it.

    Talking of climate change targets and funding, Peter Lilley is one of the few MPs who has highlighted how much the Climate Change Act is likely to end up costing us all. Here he is with a few inconvenient questions for Ed Miliband, courtesy of Iain Dale:

  2. Ian Wilson

    Great article as ever chaps, and I read el reg regularly as well, so its nice to see you getting time on their very popular site.

    I’ve got a question though. I am guessing that oil and gas will run out at some point (duh). So what is the alternative? Obviously Nuclear has a big part to play, but will that cover everything? (electric cars are still crap). I don’t generally (in the mainstream media) see any sensible discussions of the actual future energy options that don’t just rabble on about how great wind power is etc. etc.

    It would be nice to see a proper discussion or article, without greenwash being used constantly. I’d appreciate any links you or any other readers may have that scientifically presents the arguments for future energy usage and options, that doesn’t involve sending us all into the dark age.

    Thanks in advance, and apologies if I’m asking an obvious question.

  3. George Carty

    The Germans discovered how to make synthetic petrol from hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is why the Nazi war machine didn’t simply grind to a halt for want of oil.

    The process as the Third Reich used it is an AGW-believer’s nightmare (they used coal to provide the energy and the source chemicals for process, and two-thirds of the coal was burnt to provide the energy to convert the remaining one-third to oil), but a variant powered by nuclear energy could provide carbon-neutral synthetic fuels.

    The hydrogen would produced by splitting water – either via electrolysis or thermochemically, while the CO would be produced by reducing CO2 (harvested from the atmosphere – a Los Alamos proposal suggests that a nuclear power station’s cooling towers could do double-duty as CO2 collectors) using the reverse water gas shift reaction.

  4. George Carty

    Another possibility is methanol, whose manufacture would probably be more efficient than the Fischer-Tropsch process, but which has a lower energy density – although once car engines were modified to exploit methanol’s 115 octane rating this would be less of a problem.

  5. Alex Cull

    South Africa’s Sasol Limited has made a successful business out of the Fischer-Tropsch process, although I’m not sure how well they’re doing internationally, now the price of oil has fallen again.

    According to Wikipedia, Sasol’s plant at Secunda in SA is “the world’s single largest emitter of CO2”. George, I think your comment about the process being an AGW-believer’s nightmare would be accurate!

  6. Mark Harrop

    For those concerned about where we ought be getting our energy from, now and in the future, get yourselves a copy of Energise! A future for energy innovation by Woudhuysen and Kaplinsky.
    This is a belter of a book covering the politics, science and practicalities of energy supply. It surprised me with its endorsement of, previously, alternative energy sources such as wind and solar yet argues for these to be used on a grand scale – one that makes sense rather than something merely seen to be doing good. Yet the authors aren’t hippies (tho I have my suspicions that Woudhuysen may once have been . . . ) and good ol’ nuclear gets the green light too.
    Further to that there are such things as solar powered carbon stripping and newer carbon based, zero polluting fuels that all bode well for the future – once we rid ourselves of doom mongering fear merchants.

    A fascinating read and currently bargain priced at Amazon.


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