06 November 2006

Spending Money on Trident or Climate Change?

The government allocates less than £1 billion per year to directly tackle climate change ... this despite the rhetoric of Tony Blair. To put that into perspective, the Ministry of Defence estimates that the cost of operations in Iraq between 2002 and 2006 has been £4.17 billion.

Why should we spend £76 billion to renew the Trident nuclear deterrant (buying missiles, replacing submarines, over a 30-year period) when we know that we need to spend roughly the same amount to drastically cut emissions?
Analysts were unanimous that it would make most sense to begin by investing public money to conserve energy. The Energy Savings Trust calculates that a one-off investment by government of about £4bn could insulate nearly 6m cavity walls, saving almost £2bn per year in reduced energy bills and nearly 12m tonnes of carbon - almost 28% of Britain's domestic emissions.

Oxford University's environmental change institute calculates that to reduce emissions across the domestic sector by 60% could require £420bn, but for about £5bn the government could kickstart a low carbon UK economy by overhauling every British home. Director Brenda Bordsman said government subsidy for home improvements would then be enhanced by private borrowing. As well as refurbishing housing stock, government money could help promote the redesign of appliances, and the development of solar and and other micro generation technologies. "It would, as a bonus, create thousands of jobs and it reduce overall emissions by around 60%."

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