Simon Leadbetter explains how the benefits of subsidising renewable energy technologies far outweigh any kind of opposition.
There’s a famous scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the People’s Front of Judea (or was it the Judean People’s Front) in Roman-occupied Palestine ask, “What have the Romans ever done for us?”
Essentially, the Romans subsidised things that ‘civilised’ the people and made their Empire richer and more secure, such as water supplies (aqueducts and irrigation), sanitation, roads, defence and public baths.
One of the criticisms of renewable energy is its apparent status as a ‘subsidy-junkie’. But subsidy is just another word for government aid for a public good.
If you object to renewable energy on principle because of subsidies you have to give up a lot of other things too
It’s apt, considering this article’s opening, that one of the largest on-going public subsidies is for roads, which went unsubsidised nationally and were a complete mess from Roman times to 1936 – when the government decided to take charge again.
Around £3.8 billion goes into roads each year with hundreds and hundreds of billions spent since the government first took responsibility for the greatest subsidy junkie that is road transport. Without massive subsidies there would be no A roads or motorways.
What else are subsidies doing for us?
Nuclear power decommissioning: £2.2 billion per year and £70-£100 billion clean-up costs. Without massive subsidies, we would have nuclear waste stored and disposed of insecurely.
Rail: £4 billion a year for a privatised industry, up from £1-1.5 billion when nationalised – but imagine if those 1.3 billion journeys took place on the roads – along with the 500m tonnes of freight (ORR).
Without massive subsidies, our already congested and heavily subsidised road system would grind to an abrupt halt and we would need anymore subsidy to cater for the demand.
Clearly those who oppose subsidies for renewables wouldn’t oppose the government defending the realm through our armed forces and police service – but even those have heavily subsidised private parties involved in provision of equipment and services.
Not to mention a better education system than in pre-Education Act times and the most cost efficient health service in the world (OECD), before the current cuts and reforms kick in.
Oh, and the internet, which grew out of the massively subsidised CERN project. The Americans saved themselves a few billion by cancelling their CERN-like project, letting all their physicists move into Wall Street to develop complex financial instruments – current subsidy running into trillions.
The cost of air particulates’ damage to public health is estimated to cost anything from £5 billion to £35 billion. Most of these air particulates come from burning fossil fuels in our transport, industry and homes. Subsidising the impact of oil, coal and gas on our health and children’s health seems a price worth paying to those who think subsidising renewable energy is a bad thing.
As the infographic above shows, the subsidies for fossil fuels globally far outstrip the subsidies for renewables.
Renewable energy subsidies are costing £2 billion a year, rising to £6 billion by 2020 – by which time that’ll account for 61p per day for everyone in the UK.
It seems a very small price to pay for clean, limitless, domestic and secure energy and a lot more sensible than, as Al Gore put it, “Borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet.”
If you object to renewable energy on principle because of subsidies, you have to give up a lot of other things too.
In the words of Reg in Life of Brian, “Alright… alright… so apart from better air quality and medicine and education and internet and public health and roads and sanitation and rail and public order… what have subsidies done for us?”
Like our Facebook Page
Prominent Trends in Seafood Sustainability in 2022
Can PEMF Help To Improve Plant Growth for Eco-Friendly Gardeners
How the U.S. Government is Promoting Green Energy in the Country
12 Essential Things for Buying Your First Home
Harnessing Sustainability with User-Centric Technology Innovation
Making Your Dream of Having an Eco-Friendly Garden Come True
Tips for Optimal Waste Management in Your Home
The Agricultural Benefits of Weather Stations for Eco-Friendly Farmers
What Makes Online Furniture Eco-Friendly?
How Eco-Friendly Indian Tourists Can Apply for Visas to Brazil
7 Eco-Friendly Plant-Based Alternatives for Everyday Products
Teaching Them While They’re Young: Sustainability Tips for All Ages
Top 5 Benefits of Eco-Friendly Cars
Why Eco-Friendly Homes Should Have Outdoor Bathrooms
Merits of Sustainability Reporting: What Every Manager Must Know
Low Emission and Clean Air Zones: What You Need To Know
4 Ways To Build A Sustainable Home
Why Transitioning Your Company to an EV Fleet Makes Sense?
CEO Brian Ladin Explains How The Shipping Industry Is Going Green
A Guide to Eco-Friendly Landscaping
- Features11 months ago
Seven Health and Safety Tips for Eco-Friendly Products in a Green Home
- Energy11 months ago
Eco-Friendly Homeowners Lower Carbon Footprints through Greater Air Conditioner Efficiency
- Features10 months ago
Essential Guidelines for Eco-friendly Moving into new Home
- Features10 months ago
5 Compelling Reasons to Hire an Eco-Friendly Contractor