This article first appeared in our COP27 special issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 11 November 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
When David Cameron – remember him? – denigrated renewable energy and energy efficiency by calling it ‘green crap’ in 2013, I feared the worst.
At the time I was running The Renewables Roadshow, a series of events designed to take cleaner tech on a nationwide tour of the UK.
Meanwhile, on a parallel track, my friend Robert Llewellyn, founder of the Fully Charged Show, was educating consumers about electric cars.
In the US Tesla was 10 years into its electric journey and winning awards with the Model S. Germany’s energiewende was still in its nascency and China was entering the 12th five-year plan of its long-term energy policy, as it sensed the biggest transfer of wealth in modern history.
In 2015, the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal broke – an egregious breach of trust in which German carmakers (principally, but not only, VW) were caught cheating emissions tests.
The following year Tesla announced its intention to bring the Model 3 to market, and despite the scorn poured on the company then, now it strikes fear into the heart of the legacy car industry.
And what of Greta Thunberg? Well, she was waiting in the wings if you like, and started her School Strike for Climate in 2018 at the tender age of 15.
Politics and green energy
I could quote hundreds of examples of leadership coming from unexpected sources, and yet relatively little has changed within ‘the establishment’.
In fact, and I can scarcely believe this, the UK’s establishment was, at the time of writing – and (very much) against ‘the will of the people’ – about to start licensing fracking.
Would this lower energy bills, the purported reason for these licenses? No. Note that Jacob Rees-Mogg was at the time Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Is there a genuine prospect that fracking will get the green light? Almost certainly not. But it’s just another cynical, insidious way to delay the progress of more democratic technologies like wind and solar.