Saturday, 24 October 2009

Carwyn says "it's time to get real on climate change"

Welsh Labour Leadership candidate, Carwyn Jones, will say later today that it's "time to get real on climate change". Carwyn will say it's time for Wales to accept the threat from global warming has already radically changed the terms of debate on nuclear energy.

Carwyn will make this significant policy announcement to coincide with a visit to Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey today ( 24 October).

In a bold policy statement, Carwyn will say that nuclear power must form part of Wales' low carbon response to the serious challenges posed by global warming, while making sure that nuclear waste is properly dealt with.

Carwyn will say:

"It is now perfectly clear that because of climate change, the terms of the debate we previously had on nuclear energy have shifted considerably. We are involved in an entirely different world and in energy terms we stand at a crossroads. Choices on which direction we travel in the future to meet our energy needs and simultaneously adhere to our international obligations to reverse global warming, have to be made and soon.

"I believe nuclear power will form part of Wales' low carbon response to the serious challenges we face in the years to come. If a community in Wales, like Wylfa, has developed skills and expertise in the nuclear sector, providing well-paid scientific and technical jobs, and if that community is supportive of new-build, then our response should be a pragmatic one, while ensuring the sustainable management of nuclear waste in Wales - something that has never before been resolved.

"That is why today, I commit myself to delivering a balanced, diverse, flexible and more secure energy policy for Wales in the future. A policy that kick-starts the debate on what energy mix we will require and also a policy that recognises the very real threat to our planet.

"Under my Leadership, I believe that all such forms of energy - as well as all forms of renewable energy - have an important role to play in meeting Wales's energy needs in the years ahead.

"We must be responsible in the direction we take and it is essential that the decisions we make, are future-proofed. The test for me is simple. We must be able to ensure we can look our children and our grandchildren in the eye, when we make these decisions."

Also in his policy statement, Carwyn committed to upholding current pledges and targets set by the Welsh Assembly Government in areas such as:
  • aiming for greenhouse gas reductions in excess of 3% each year;
  • making Wales more than self sufficient in renewable electricity by 2025;
  • attaining 70% recycling by 2025 and zero waste to landfill by 2050; and
  • taking all out of fuel poverty by 2018
The key components of Carwyn's policy statement on how Wales will tackle climate change under his Leadership, include:
  • making renewables key. Carwyn set the framework when he was Environment Minister and wants to see developments and progress made in the future e.g. biomass, wind, hydro, waste to energy;
  • a pragmatic commitment to make nuclear energy a part of Wales's low carbon response, maintaining the Welsh Assembly Government's responsibility for off-site nuclear waste disposal;
  • increasing the scope for clean coal technology, underground coal gasification and other forms of new technology, including carbon capture and storage;
  • Severn tidal power must be harnessed with the least environmental cost;
  • developing a comprehensive programme of retro-fitting renewables and insulation to social and private housing, to the boost construction industry as well, building on Heads of the Valleys low carbon programme;
  • abolishing fuel poverty by 2018 by fully implementing the Fuel Poverty Charter; and
  • building a critical mass of renewable investment designed to attract firms in the renewable sector to locate in Wales, like British Gas with its new Green Skills Technology Centre in Tredegar, which will train thousands in fitting renewables in homes.


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