|An email I received recently and my response. Any other contributions to this debate would be welcomed. Use the Comments section or contact me through the usual channels. Andy
Thank you very much for taking the trouble to bring this issue to my attention. I have some awareness of the matter. I am not sure quite what the focus of your concern is, but I am happy to share these observations with you.
China has an appalling environmental and human rights record in connection with just about any industrial activity you care to mention. This is something we are very concerned about and is something we have been lobbying about for many years (see this report on Green Leader, Caroline Lucas, raising the issues in 2005: http://www.carolinelucasmep.org.uk/2005/08/30/meps-adopt-lucas-report-on-trade-between-the-eu-and-china-%E2%80%98bra-wars%E2%80%99-spreading/ )
The tone and emphasis of the Daily Mail article that you have flagged up is typical of this paper’s twisted agenda. It says that this is “one of a multitude of sins committed in the name of our new green Jerusalem”. I am sure you are capable of deciphering such loaded, emotive language. They are not campaigning out of any real compassion for the Chinese people affected. They are campaigning on behalf of British Tories who oppose wind turbines spoiling the views from their sea view windows (such as in Porthcawl) or their country (second home) cottages.
There is an issue with wind energy being perceived as the only meaningful renewable energy option. This is something we are also working to change. Check out our policy statement on energy here: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/mfssen.html . The Daily Mail rarely has anything to say (good or bad) about most of these other options. It seems to have adopted the view that as the Green Party is the main left of centre option in Britain these days, and it is also the most serious environmental lobbyist (because environmental issues are of most threat to the most vulnerable people), it opposes most ‘green’ initiatives almost as a knee jerk reaction.
As for the issue of neodymium specifically, it is found in bastnäsite deposits in China and the United States, which constitute the largest percentage of the world’s rare-earth economic resources, and also in monazite deposits in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States. Places like Canada demonstrate that it can be extracted safely – if there is the will to do so – and, yes, the willingness to pay the higher price. However,China is skillfully manipulating world trade in these and other rare commodities, and this is indeed cause for concern on a number of levels. It is likely to use the forces of supply and demand to force up the price of many rare commodities and essentially profiteer by holding the rest of the world to ransom; all the while treating its own people with contempt, as the Mail article does highlight.
The way forward is to address the issues of democracy, human rights, and environmental degradation in China itself; to address the world market mechanisms that allow the ‘haves’ to screw the ‘have nots’ at every level and scale; and to conduct the debate on our own energy future on the back of research, reason and an eye to the legacy we leave our children. This is why I am in the Green Party.
Insofar as the article adds weight to my own view that we need to broaden renewable energy options and reduce the focus on wind energy, I very much welcome you bringing this evidence to the forefront of my mind – especially as we have national Green Party Conference in Cardiff next week. I will seek to bring it into the debate where I can. http://www.greenparty.org.uk/conference.html
If you would like to discuss this or any other issue further, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.
Date: 02/18/11 14:02:04
Subject: Check out In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experi
Click here: In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale | Mail On
I read your letter in yesterdays Glamorgan Gazette and looked up your details on Google.
You may have seen this report already.
Let me say that this report should transcend politics.
However it does not exactly fit in with what is called a green agenda.
It is a disaster for the people who are living there in horrific inhumane conditions. Makes a mockery (in this instance) of so called green energy.
I have sent the report to various Ministers and Politicians in both Westminster and the Welsh Assembly Government, plus the Press, Green Organisations and others.
A few replies maybe five, out of fifty plus emails sent.
You may possibly have more power to highlight this issue than me,
Any comment, can you do anything with this?