Calling on Assembly Members to Re-Energise Wales
Today, on behalf of a broad group of signatories, Professor Emeritus Gareth Wyn Jones of Bangor University has written an open letter to all Assembly Members calling on them to rise to the enormous challenges posed by anthropogenic global warming. The letter calls for concrete policies to reduce our energy use and to develop our resources of renewable energy, and through this ‘re-energising’ our country.
The letter has been signed by academics and dozens of environmental and community groups. Assembly Members are challenged to prioritise energy use reduction in every policy, initiative and planning guidance and to promote the target of generating 100% of Wales’s energy from renewable resources, aiming for energy self-sufficiency by 2035.
Professor Emeritus Gareth Wyn Jones said, ‘The goal is to live better on less. Technology around energy is developing rapidly, renewable energy in particular. There are no longer technical barriers, but the lack of political and economic will is holding back progress. The technical barriers are surmountable, but the political and economic ones weigh heavily. The COP 21 Paris climate agreement of 2015, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act of 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act of 2016 make our moral, legal and practical obligations clear: to protect our young people (let alone future generations) in the face of this deepening crisis.’
The letter calls on every Assembly Member to commit to considering, supporting, facilitating and enacting policies that promote our social and economic wellbeing while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Gareth Wyn Jones and the other signatories believe that Wales has the natural, human and technological resources to lead the way, and that now is the time to weave the principle into the fabric of the National Assembly of Wales.
Dear Assembly Member,
We have a simple but vital message for you. We face a global crisis because of greenhouse gas emissions. The science is clear so please, no excuses, no denialism!
Our society is completely dependent on fossil fuels yet the scientific consensus and the direct experience of peoples around the world is that the consequences of the emissions from burning them are already disastrous and will in future be catastrophic. This crisis threatens the very fabric of civic and civilized society.
The COP 21 Paris climate agreement of 2015, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act of 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act of 2016 make our moral, legal and practical obligations clear: to protect our young people (let alone future generations) in the face of this deepening crisis, we must act now - you must act now!
There is a strategy that can meet this challenge and reinvigorate Wales in the process - it is to future-proof all policies, initiatives and planning guidance by making energy-use reduction and energy efficiency the priority, by making 100% renewable low emissions energy generation our target, and by maximising energy self-sufficiency by 2035.
The March 2016 Report of the National Assembly's Environmental and Sustainability Committee "A Smarter Energy Future for Wales" was a positive and vital step, but in omitting transport is incomplete.
We would draw your attention to a comprehensive renewable energy transition strategy called Re-Energising Wales, currently being planned out and fully costed by the Institute of Welsh Affairs. It's an ambitious and complex plan and it will touch virtually every aspect of our lives - but it IS POSSIBLE to implement.
The technical barriers are surmountable, but the political and economic ones weigh heavily. If we overcome these and reimagine our relationship with energy, it will bring countless economic, social and environmental benefits.
We have a unique opportunity available to us right now - interest rates are at record lows, the costs of renewables and attendant electricity storage and smart grid technologies continue to fall and, step by step, we are getting the necessary devolved powers to make it happen.
Climate Change is the elephant in the room and we believe in your hearts you know it. Maintaining the status quo is not an option and there is a clear path Wales should take to play our part in resolving the impasse.
You have just been given the responsibility to lead our country for the next five years and we call on you to live up to that responsibility. Coal, oil and gas must be phased out, bar some back-up generation linked to carbon capture and storage. Let us embark on a radical course of economic renewal - with renewable energy and energy efficiency at its heart.
We believe a bright future is possible for the Welsh people. Wales could be a leader in renewable and efficiency technologies and their implementation. The possibilities are limited only by our own imaginations.
Let's grasp the opportunity while we can!
Professor Emeritus Gareth Wyn Jones et al
Signatories / Llofnodion
Professor Emeritus Gareth Wyn Jones, Bangor University
Professor James Intriligator, Professor of Innovation and Consumer Psychology, Bangor University
Dr Kelvin Mason, University of Liverpool, Climate Camp Cymru
Wyn Bowen Harries, Cyfarwyddwr, Cwmni Theatr Pendraw
Twm Elias, darlledwr, awdur, gwladwr
Professor Judy Hutchings, School of Psychology, Bangor University
Professor James Scourse, Professor of Marine Geology, Bangor University, and Director,
Climate Change Consortium of Wales
Professor Gareth Ffowc Roberts FLSW, Bangor University
Friends of the Earth Cymru
Community Energy Wales / Ynni Cymunedol Cymru
Abergavenny Transition Town
Awel Aman Tawe
Cardiff Against Fracking Everywhere
Community Energy in Pembrokeshire CIC
Cydweithfa Egni Co-op
Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig
Frack Free West Wales
Friends of the Earth Abergavenny and Crickhowell
Friends of the Earth Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan
Friends of the Earth Swansea
Friends of the Earth Torfaen
Gower Power Co-op CIC
Keep Your Fracking Hands Off Neath Port Talbot
Llantrithyd Villagers Against Drilling
Robert Owen Community Banking
Rounded Developments Enterprises
Severn Wye Energy Agency
Sustainable Wick Community Group
The Environmental Network for Pembrokeshire
The Green Valleys (Wales) CIC
The Vale Says No! (Vale of Glamorgan)
Transition Bro Gwaun
Ynni Padarn Peris
38 Degree petition: 527 signatures to date. This letter is based on the petition text.