Greens on trial
It's been a long time since I've written a blog. Very lazy, I know. So I've come back with a broadside. My question is whether the green movement is becoming part of the climate problem.
There is no doubt that the green movement has been instrumental in raising the profile of the climate issue. But, having moved green issues into the political mainstream, can the green movement offer solutions to global warming?
No, says David King, Britain's former chief scientist. He says if we want to move to a low carbon economy we are going have to - as he puts it - "use every tool in the box". But the green movement rules out quite a few of the most promising tools.
Take the question of how we are going to generate power. The green solution is renewable technologies - wind, solar and wave power.
No-one questions the need for these technologies to be part of the mix. But here's a checklist of other leading low carbon technologies: nuclear power, genetic engineering, nano-technology, carbon capture and storage.
Each one offers the potential for revolutionary new ways of generating power yet many greens oppose all of them. Quite a number say even research into these technologies is wrong.
So why do Greens take such a radical position? The reason is that most Greens are profoundly risk averse when it comes to technology. That should be no surprise. The key preoccupation for most Greens is the conservation of nature. That can make them very - well - conservative.
A key strand of green thought is the "precautionary principle". That's the idea that if you can't predict what all the risks of a new technology are then it is probably best not to use it.
Sounds like good sense, doesn't it? But don't forget how urgent the climate issue is. The green consensus is that carbon emissions have to peak by around 2015 if we are to stay within the crucial 2 degree temperature rise after which global warming could become uncontrolled.
That gives us just six years.
My question for the Greens is this: if time is so short surely we are going to have to take a few risks.