UK businesses call for green energy backing
The UK’s biggest business lobby group has criticised the government for presenting a “false choice” between going green and pursuing growth, a move it says is putting a £20 billion annual boost to the economy at risk. In one of the most comprehensive assessments of the green economy in the past five years, a report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the UK’s £122 billion low carbon sector accounted for about a third of all growth in the past year and employed close to 940,000 people. John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, criticised government policies such as the “rejigging” of solar panel subsidies, saying that ministers needed to “send signals that going green isn’t a risky gamble”. Most recently, the government has caused uncertainty by signalling a planned U-turn on onshore wind subsidies, prompting threats of legal action from wind energy companies. (Financial Times*; BusinessGreen)
Fukushima disaster was 'profoundly man-made'
The crisis at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant last year was a “profoundly man-made disaster” that “could and should have been foreseen and prevented”, an independent parliamentary commission concluded yesterday in a damning report. The commission said the incident was brought on by "collusion" between the government, the regulators, and the plant's operators, and blamed the "ingrained conventions of Japanese culture" for the plant's failure after an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan's north-east coast on 11 March, 2011. This point is underlined by the independent commission itself, which is the first of its kind to question Japan's constitutional government. (The Independent)
Technology firms expect a responsible future
A little more than half of Internet stakeholders expect a future with greater corporate responsibility when it comes to supporting human rights through technology, according to a study by non-profit Pew Internet. The study highlights the ongoing discussion of the tech industry's role in politics, activism, and freedom speech. Jonathan Grudin, principal researcher at Microsoft, responded to the survey, expressing hope that the market would keep firms from bowing to government requests to monitor or block activists’ internet activity. “I remain fairly optimistic…that firms that try to control content in response to government intervention will risk being abandoned in droves, and thus forced to stick to a reasonable path,” he said in the report. (CNET)
Fifth protester dies from Peru clash over Newmont mine
A fifth protester has died following two days of clashes with Peruvian police, as critics said President Ollanta Humala's crackdown on a rally against a $5 billion gold mine proposed by Newmont had gone too far. Protesters accuse Humala, who has been in office for a year, of reneging on a campaign promise to put access to clean water ahead of mining projects. Humala has not spoken about this week’s events, but appears to have lost patience with protesters, having suspended civil liberties to curb demonstrations at least three times. Newmont’s local office said on Tuesday that the violence was unfortunate, but that it was “reaffirming its commitment” to the project. (Reuters; The Guardian)