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The General Synod’s environmental debate

by
14 March 2014

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From Professor John Twidell

Sir, - Your account of the General Synod's debates on "Shrinking the [carbon] footprint" and "ethical investment" (Synod, 21 February) indicated a welcome policy change to disinvest in buried-carbon futures, e.g. coal. The excess carbon now emitted into the atmosphere arises from our using fossil fuels; so keeping these underground is the obvious way to mitigate climate change.

Yet, as was stated in the debate, disinvestment is not a creative policy. Unfortunately, the debates did not progress to the positive policy of investing in renewable energy technology and products. Worldwide investment in "new" renewables (wind, solar, biomass, hydro, marine, geothermal, etc.) for electricity, fuels, and heat is now more than £145 billion/year -within which, 30 per cent in Europe, with one million jobs (sources: UNEP and REN21).

Investment in renewables therefore enables carbon mitigation, satisfying employment and creative futures in businesses showing a financial return. Additionally, there is considerable opportunity to invest in the efficient use of energy, e.g. LED lighting and smart-meter controls, which is ethically correct, whatever the supply.

All these technologies are needed urgently so that the "North" reduces carbon emissions and the "South" increases sustainable supply. Overall, this can be ethical investment with no regrets.

JOHN TWIDELL
Bridgford House, Horninghold
Leicestershire LE16 8DH

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