Carbon companies are gambling with our future
An influential report by the Carbon Tracker initiative has claimed that a new economic risk lurks in stock market valuations of the world’s energy companies. This risk has been called a “carbon bubble”. The market valuations of these companies are based on the amount of exploitable oil, coal or gas reserves they own.
The report has calculated that if we are to limit global average temperatures to international targets of 2 degrees then only 20 percent of these reserves can be consumed.
It also notes that Britain is particularly at risk. Oil, coal and gas companies listed on the London Stock Exchange represent 19 percent of the amount of carbon that can be burned while keeping within the target.
These companies also represent about 30 percent of the total value of the companies listed on the exchange.
And the report notes that fossil fuel companies are investing billions a year to find and process new reserves. It is estimated that all the listed oil and gas companies invested £523 billion in 2010 on increasing their capacity.
The report shows that, left to the market, there will be no transition to renewable energy. This is despite the declining cost of renewable energy while the cost of fossil fuel goes up.
Not only is reliance on fossil fuels threatening the climate and another global financial crisis, it is also leading to a massive rise in fuel poverty in Britain. According to Ofgem, £100 of last year’s £150 rise in the average household’s energy bill was due to the rising cost of gas.
The capitalist class is gambling on the world’s governments not having the political will to develop their economies away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
It underlines the importance of campaigns such as One Million Climate Jobs, which put forward an alternative.
John Sinha, North London
We need more nurses, not more training
Government health minister Jeremy Hunt has said that changes to the NHS will mean nurses must do a year of washing and feeding patients after they have qualified.
This further training, delivering “total patient care” for patients who are unable to care for themselves, is not what is required to provide compassionate care. What is required is enough nurses who have enough time to do the job well.
The total hypocrisy of Tories like Hunt is staggering but predictable. He wants to blame nurses for the crisis which occurred in Mid Staffs at the same time as he sacks thousands of health workers up and down the country.
In 30 years on the wards I have not met one nurse who came into nursing lacking compassion, or the will and intent to give excellent care.
However I have witnessed nurses in tears and burnt out because the impossible is expected day in, day out. I hope the managers and the health minister change their plans and employ enough nurses to do a good job.
Janet Maiden, deputy sister at a London hospital
Labour must decide which side it is on
Anger and fear over the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts are growing in South Wales.
Here in Swansea the council has received 7,997 enquiries from people who are either being hit or fear they will be.
Labour council leader David Phillips committed the council to take “all legal and financially viable measures to protect the people of Swansea from…the Conservative/Liberal Democrat benefit cuts”.
Yet earlier he refused to pledge a policy of no evictions over the tax.
The Swansea Anti-Bedroom Tax rally on Saturday 4 May will be addressed by Swansea West Labour MP Geraint Davies.
Labour cannot attack benefit cuts in Westminster but implement them in councils where they are in control.
Tim Evans, Swansea
275 of us to be sacked
Management at the Range at Mitcheldean in Gloucestershire announced 275 redundancies on 18 March and the closure of the depot by 30 September. Range sells garden furniture.
We are now in a 90-day consultation that ends on 3 July. We cannot understand why this is happening when the business is expanding.
Unlike Range boss Chris Dawson, who is 23rd on the Rich List with his £535 million, we need these jobs.
Those who have left recently have only been able to find temporary jobs.
Local MP Mark Harper has said 3,000 of his constituents have found work since the last election. Since 300 people have been made redundant in Tewkesbury and Gloucester recently, we would like to know where.
William Malsom, Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire
Margaret Thatcher, in her robotic autobiography The Downing Street Years, refers with venomous disdain to the “monotonous chants” of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
What was most repellent about her decade was the monotonous capitalism. She was obsessed with money. She had no compassion, no feeling, no humanity. In the brutal 1980s, the SWP alone seemed to provide principled opposition to the vicious nonsense of Thatcherism.
Zekria Ibrahim, by email
Are all holidays fair?
Don’t be so quick to condemn Michael Gove’s plans to change the school holidays.
It would save single parents a huge expense with childcare during the long summer holidays.
We can’t just take six weeks off from work.
David Gould, Essex
Hip hop language
Comrades, I’m all for the development of the English language but the use of the hip hop derived term, “back in the day”, in a piece of serious political journalism (Troublemaker, 20 April) is so "dry” man.
I assume this column is aimed at our younger comrades but it comes across as an embarrassing uncle trying to prove he’s still got it. What next, shout outs for all The Socialist Massive? Word Out.
Jeff Innocent, by email
Demoralising Tory legacy
I live in a town that lost its shipyards and its pits. Now it’s a ghost town. The only busy places are the job centre and the needle exchange.
They built the job centre on the shipyards’ car park and the needle exchange took over the post office sorting office. Its so demoralising.
David Fawcett, on Facebook
We’ve had enough
Rise up and rebel against these multimillionaire halfwits who don’t know the price of a pint of milk or a loaf of bread. The bedroom tax is a deliberately orchestrated cull of the poor and weak.
Shaun Crambie, on Facebook
The scars of occupation
Recent violence in Iraq has claimed the lives of almost 200 people.
It is a legacy of imperialism which stoked divisions in the country.
Maive Bradley, Liverpool