False Solutions, part 2: Carbon Capture and Storage

By Isabella Nilsen, Politics student

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is not a real solution for tackling climate change. It is expensive and comes with several risks, and might lead us to believe that we can continue using fossil fuels to the same extent as today, instead of investing into renewables and other ‘real solutions’. Furthermore, with forests providing a sustainable form of ‘carbon capture and storage’, we must also stop deforestation.

CCS

CCS plant in Canada [C] SaskPowerCCS Continue reading

Real Solutions: The Scottish Renewable Industry

Written by Laura Marion

A Bright Future

The future of renewable energies in Scotland looks bright: increasing opportunities in wind, solar and especially tidal energies come along with high cutbacks in production costs. If some investors keep betting on fossil fuels, it became evident that this choice is increasingly risky: fossil fuels’ production costs are rising and the carbon bubble threatens to burst at any time. Today renewable energies offer a viable alternative: the main Scottish investors such as for instance the Strathclyde Pension Fund, the 2nd largest Local Government Pension Scheme in the UK, would gain in long-term financial stability from dropping its fossil fuels assets and opting for green investments.

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False Solutions, part one: Nuclear Power

By Isabella Nilsen, politics student

With the ever more acute threat of climate change, it is tempting to call for technological ‘quick fixes’ which can allow us to continue living just as we are today. Of course tackling climate change will need technological solutions; however we must distinguish which ones are merely false ones, and that causing a greater damage to our environment.

Nuclear power is a false solution – it  carries the threat of accidents with consequences difficult to foresee, and there is also not yet a clear plan for where to store the radioactive nuclear waste. Furthermore, the mining of the nuclear fuel causes both disease among the miners, and damage to the environment.  With renewable alternatives available, which often are cheaper to install and might provide more jobs, investors should choose the real solutions and not invest into nuclear power.

Nuclear waste

In the process of generating electricity from nuclear power, radioactive decay is also created, which needs to be stored safely for a very long time. For example one bi-product, Technetium-99, has a half-life of over 200,000 years[1]. In comparison, our species, the Homo Sapiens, evolved  around 200,000 years ago[2]. Thereby, nuclear energy causes not only risks for species living today – but also for those to come to existence.  The storage of the radioactive waste is therefore one of the greatest difficulties associated with nuclear power. It has also led to controversy since understandably, few people want the dangerous waste to be stored close to their houses. This has led the UK’s Radioactive Waste Management having trouble to find a safe space where they can dispose the waste[3], and at the moment most of it is stored at ground level, in vaults at Sellafield in Cumbria[4].

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Reclaiming the power: Global solutions to global problems

By  Mathieu Munsch, PhD student in climate change politics

It is 4 am and I can’t sleep. A year ago, I would never have guessed that I would lie here today, by the side of the UK’s largest opencast coal mine, in a tent battered by freezing winds. In a few hours, I will disobey the law, along with hundreds of others, to march on this sordid black hole in the ground that is the Ffos-y-fran coal mine. Like most people of my generation, I have grown up with climate change – humans burn stuff, the stuff releases gas, the gas traps heat: clear and simple – but it still took me an awful lot of time to face the problem upfront. The school system I was brought up in glorified acts of resistance and vilified collaboration with an oppressive power, and there I was, turning a blind eye on the worst crime ever committed.

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