Wandering in Fields of Idiots

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Letter to Baroness Worthington

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I’ve been following the growth of interest in Thorium as a source of energy, it seems to me to be one of the best ways of producing large quantities of energy in a consistent way with a balanced ecological impact. Baroness Worthington was Raised to the House of Lords in February 2011 and as an ecological campaigner she brings something interesting to the mix. She made her maiden speech in the House recently and having seen it I thought I should send her a message sharing my views. Don’t know how it will be received by her (I used http://www.writetothem.com to do it) and if she will accept what I have to say, but without input Politicians can’t be representing the people. Bellow is my correspondence for your consideration and yes I am terrible at finishing correspondence:

Dear Baroness Worthington,

I was this morning directed to the video of your maiden speech in the House of Lords and I would like to write to you to offer my best wishes. I am a great supporter of the House of Lords because I believe it should be a neutral check and balance for the House of Commons which can sometimes be reactionary in response to short sighted pressures. I also recognise the leading position that your house can take in informing those in The Commons of opportunities they may otherwise miss.

Of particular interest to me was your mention of Thorium energy during your speech. I am purely an interested observer of the subject but having taken an interest in the subject some months ago I have done extensive reading and I am strongly of the belief that energy production from Thorium is one of the key components in achieving a sustainable balance in securing our energy supply towards the next century. But currently it seems that those that have interests in the traditional nuclear industry are not welcoming innovation in this area despite it having been proven to be viable in the 60’s. There is obviously still a need to make a commercially viable power generator using Thorium but I believe that Britain has the scientific, engineering and commercial power to make a viable business from Thorium. We already know that China and India are investing in Thorium as a key source of energy, if they are doing so then we must look to them and strive to recapture the lead in this market so that we can secure this vital component of not only our economy but also our ecology and our lifestyle. It has even been recently stated that the Pentagon in the USA is willing to independently license small scale, or portable, Thorium reactors even where the US civil regulatory authorities will not if it allows the US Department of Defence to reduce it’s dependency on oil and improve operational effectiveness.

I look forward to further growth of interest within our Government on this subject and I hope that support and investment is forthcoming.

I must say however that on the subject of Emissions Trading I am only a limited supporter. In my view companies must take responsibility for their emissions, if they are to make emissions then they cannot divest themselves of their guilt or responsibilities. They must understand that by purchasing off-sets they are not allowed to pollute but that they are being taxed in a commercial way. To me the process of Carbon Offsetting is seen by some as similar to the early Christian Church process of paying for Plenary Indulgence. You could once make a big donation to the Christian Church and as a result all your sins would be forgiven; incidentally this procedure was a core component which caused Martin Luther to break and form the Protestant Church.

One of the key aspects which I do not like about Carbon Offsetting is that in some cases I think it can be quite ineffective. We now have a subsidy on eco-lighting which puts it at a very economical price which is good, pensioners get free light bulbs (a good thing in itself) but consistently and regularly they keep getting them. My mother’s house is fully equipped with light bulbs and she always has spares but the offers keep coming. Previously when BSkyB was offering their set-top boxes to the Government Help Scheme for Digital TV was packaging their power hungry set-top boxes with two energy saving bulbs as a way of off-setting the impact (I believe this practice may now have ceased).

I believe there must be many examples of opportunities to reduce carbon emissions which are perhaps stifled because blanket trading initiatives are used instead which may have only a limited effect. For example where are the subsidies for solar water heating, when it is more effective than solar photovoltaic electricity at reducing domestic dependency on fossil fuels? Where are the low interest domestic eco-loans for home improvement which should be accessible to all income groups?

Yours sincerely,