For environmentalists the real world is a significant problem. If only reality could be tamed and replaced with the way the world 'should' be, everything would be a lot nicer and fluffier. Sad to say:
In July, a tonne of carbon sold for €35, but today it fetches less than €9. Too bad, thinks the finance director, dump them anyway. If the politicians are still quacking about the climate in two years' time, we will buy them back, if we still have a business.
Environmentalists must be loving this recession. It is reducing CO2 emissions, cooling the planet, getting cars off the road and encouraging poverty-stricken people to use public transport. If only the whole western world would just hurry up and collapse, the world would be safe at last.
But from the same article is another unfortunate intrusion from the real world: the plan to shut down coal power:
Meanwhile, the UK must make a huge decision. We have promised to shut down seven old coal plants by 2015 because they emit too much sulphur. These can supply 12 gigawatts, or a sixth of UK capacity. Ideally, we would fill the gap with nuclear power, but EDF has made it clear that the first new British nuke won't be ready until 2017, supplying less than 2 gigawatts.
It is self-evident that we must carry on burning coal for the time being and politicians must stop telling lies about energy. They must begin to set plausible targets, explain their true cost and how they will be achieved. The impact of recession on industrial demand is one reason why the carbon price is weak. The other reason is credibility.
I quite like sulphur, it is a nice yellow colour. It smells a bit, but I'd rather breath a bit of sulphur than have my lights turn off. It's tough being an environmentalist.