If you want to be green you should recycle, right?
Recycling does reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. But that is only one measure of environmental impact.
If recycling uses more energy and/or causes more pollution dumping could be the greener option.
Alternative forms of energy might look greener but as Andrei and Gravedodger pointed out yesterday appearances can be not just deceptive but dirty.
They were commenting on the Green Party policy to provide cheap loans for the installation of solar panels.
When we altered our house 12 years ago we looked into installing solar panels but were advised it would cost too much for too little power.
We investigated solar panels again before undertaking further alterations a couple of years ago and were told the technology still wasn’t good enough to be worth it this far south.
There might be a better ratio between the cost and benefits further north but that still doesn’t counter the criticism about the environmental cost of making and disposing of solar panels and batteries.
Then there’s the Green’s mistaken assertion that there are no government subsidies involved.
The Green Party’s belief in their ability to make money magically appear seems to have no limits says Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges.
“The Greens’ solar power policy creates low interest loans that make expensive solar power suddenly a cheaper option for kiwi families, with ‘apparently’ no government subsidy involved.
“I have news for the Greens — if it’s a lower interest rate than normal, it must involve a government subsidy. And if it makes the cost of solar power cheaper for families than existing power options it also must involve a subsidy.
“Everyone wants something cheaper but someone has to pay. Solar is about three times more expensive than grid-scale generation from wind, hydro or geothermal power stations. If solar power was to be made more affordable other taxpayers and power users would have to pay for it.
“There is certainly a place for solar in New Zealand, but given the abundance of lower cost renewable alternatives, it can’t be a priority to subsidise solar power or change the rules to suit a specific technology.
“We’ve seen that with expensive solar subsidies in other parts of the world, including Germany and Spain. The irony is that New Zealand already generates 75 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources and the percentage is moving higher without any need for government subsidies.
“No matter how you dress it up the Greens’ grab bag of power ideas, which also includes nationalising power purchasing and a more expensive ETS, will heap higher prices on Kiwi households.
“If the Greens are serious about their policies, they need to front up and explain who pays for all of this, or whether they would roll out Russell Norman’s printing press again.”
David Cunliffe made a mess of his party’s big baby bribe announcement by saying one thing and meaning another.
Norman’s assertion that there are no government subsidies involved is not just misleading, it’s wrong.
If the environmental impact of the materials, manufacture and disposal of everything involved in solar energy is taken into account the claim that this policy is clean and green is also wrong.