Last week I was one of two members of the House of Lords attending a session in Brussels of this body. It brought together parliamentarians from nineteen countries and seven Members of the European Parliament. It was chaired by Sir Graham Watson, the MEP for South West England. The theme was the urgent need to develop renewable energy and the efficient use of energy throughout the world, but perhaps especially in India and China.
I give below a general statement about this specialized parliament: (www.climate/parl.net)
According to the UK Met Office, we are currently on track to raise the Earth’s temperature by 4 degrees C by 2070, with catastrophic consequences. Most of the greenhouse gases that threaten our future come from burning oil, coal and gas. We have the technology right now to power the world with clean energy. But to do so we need to use the power of connection in three ways:
Connect to the sun
We have a nuclear power station, safely located 93 million miles away, which can provide all the energy we need. It gives us sunshine, and its energy creates wind and rain. Can we really generate enough energy by conectingto sun, wind and water? Easily. Solar power stations could meet the energy needs of 1 billion people consming at the European level. Wind power has similar potential. Hydropower, biomass or geothermay can all provide reliable backup energy.
Connnect through smart grids
We should meet as much of our energy needs as possible from local sources, with regional supergrids delivering the rest. Trough smart regional grids, we can all connect to the areas where engergy is most abundant – such as sunny deserts, windy seas or hydropower in the mountains. And when the wind drops or clouds cover the sun in one place, we can draw energy from areas where the wind is still blowing and the sun is still shining.
Meanwhile, 1.4 billion people still haven’t as much as a lighbulb in their homes, yet most of them live in rural villages that are rich in renewable potential. Village mini-grids, combiining as many sources as possible, can provide the energy they need for their development.
Time is runing out, and the UN talks are moving slowly. We need legislative action now, on every continent. The Climate parliament is linking up concerned legislators around the globe. Through national parliamentary groups, international meeting and internet outreach, we’re pressing for both public and private investment to switch the world’s power supply to renewables. Before it’s too late.