Nicholas Dunlop (Nick): ÔMy son was born in the year 2000, and he can reasonably expect to see most of the 21st century. Now scientists are telling us that by the 2050s, on the high fossil fuel path weÕre on, the temperature of the planet will be up 3 degrees; by the 2070s perhaps 4 degrees, by the end of the century 5 or 6 degrees. If we follow the fossil fuel lobbyists up that curve, my son and all the children who are alive today who see out this century, are going to see a world no human has ever seen since the dawn of human evolution. ItÕs a world no human should ever want to see. And I tell you, they will not thank us for passing that world on to them. We will leave them a trashed planet.Õ



Commentary Anuradha Vittachi V/O (V/O AV): ÔNick Dunlop is a man on a mission to change the game on global warming.Õ



Nick: ÔWhat we want to arrive at is that when people think about the climate problem, they donÕt think, ÒOh my God, this is just too impossible. I donÕt know what to do, so IÕll think about something else.Ó They think: ÒBuild an energy internet.ÓÕ



Prof Zhang: ÔBasically we have this sort of magic element to bring the whole worldÕs energy supplies in together.Õ



Damir: ÔAnd the same way, when we built the internet, the internet, it was the same thing.Õ



Nick: ÔA global solar consortium, a global energy internet - these are just very nice ideas we can discuss in meetings like this. It needs a push from the top.Õ




Anuradha Vittachi meets Nicholas DunlopÕ



V/O AV: ÔNick Dunlop works as a new kind of diplomat Ð a diplomat not for a single country but for the planet as a whole. HeÕs passionate in the cause of climate justice for all.Õ



Nick: ÔIf we put the planetÕs temperature up 4 degrees, scientists tell us that grain production will plummet 30 or 40% in the tropics. You know what that means. It means that there will be no food on international markets, even if your country could afford it. EverybodyÕs going to be doing whatÕs already happened in periods of extreme weather, slamming the door shut to exports if they happen to be growing enough food, and in country after country, we are going to see famine. Now why are we going to do that to the three billion people who live on 3 dollars a day or less? Why do we want to do this? I donÕt want to. Do you want to? Nobody wants to! The only reason weÕre doing it is a combination of greed and vested interests - and, frankly, lack of leadership by governments.Õ



V/O AV: ÔHere in the Philippines, there is stark evidence of the effects that climate change is already having Ð especially on the lives of the poorest families.Õ



Lydinyda Nacpil: ÔThe first struggle is to really survive, to put food on the table. Climate change was no longer simply an environmental issue, it is very much an issue of survival for many of the communities in the Philippines. Crops being destroyed in the rural areas. In the cities, whole communities just being destroyed because their houses are swept away. People begin to think, ÒOh, thatÕs the way the world has always been, and will always be, and we canÕt really do anything. So thatÕs one of the first we need to address. That there is something we can do, and things can change, and will change.Õ



V/O AV: ÔTo power this change out of poverty, poor people need easy access to energy Ð and it must be clean energy - avoiding the pollution from dirty fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, which cause climate change and its devastating effects. But where is this clean energy to come from?Õ



Nick: ÔWe have a nuclear power station safely situated 93 million miles from the earth, which is a good distance, that will supply our needs forever.Õ



V/O AV: ÔIn fact the sun offers us more energy in one hour than we use in an entire year. But some people say renewable energy is only cheap because it is subsidised - forgetting the far greater subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.Õ



Nick: ÔOur governments are spending, according to such a conservative body as the International Monetary Fund, roughly 2 trillion dollars a year of our taxpayersÕ money to make fossil fuels look artificially cheap.Õ



V/O AV: ÔThe price of solar energy has fallen dramatically - to less than half the price of coal. Paddy Padmanathan, the biggest renewable energy developer in the world, thinks countries keeping their existing coal-fired power stations going are simply wasting money when solar energy is so cheap.Õ



Paddy Padmanathan: ÔÔPretty much anywhere, itÕs less than 3 cents now. We can deploy wind energy at about the same levels. And there is now the ability to capture the heat of the sun and store it in molten salt and deploy it at night. So we are able to do despatchable solar energy, day and night. And these are not theoretical exercises, these are contracts we are delivering. I think that the technology that has now brought us to this energy transition and the Green Energy revolution, what is it promising us? It is promising us reliable, low cost energy, in abundance, both centrally generated and distributed, which allows us to transform economies and ultimately it is also allowing us to save lives! People who are dying because of the pollution, because of the mining coal dust - and of course the climate change, which will have an unimaginable impact.Õ



V/O AV: ÔSo renewable energy seems to offer the way out. It's abundant, itÕs cheap, and it's totally pollution-free. But some people still see a problem. The sun doesnÕt always shine, the wind doesnÕt always blow. So is this intermittency its fatal flaw



Nick: ÔI think the problem is that most people are thinking too small scale. Most people are thinking about renewables just within their nation state. We have to think in continental terms. We have to plug everyone into the solar power and often good wind power that you find in deserts. Just imagine that you drew a box in the desert 150 kilometres by 150 kilometres and fill that box with solar power stations, you could produce all the electricity that Europe produces today from all its sources, from all its power stations. From a technical point of view, itÕs perfectly easy to power the world from renewable energy. What you do is you build long distance transmission lines, using high voltage direct current lines, that can transmit power over thousands of kilometres with very little loss, to link us all to the areas where renewable energy is most abundant.Ô



V/O AV: ÔSo intermittency wouldnÕt be a problem if we could get our energy from wherever the sun is shining, or the wind is blowing Ð places far away. But is this just a futuristic idea or something thatÕs possible now? At Birmingham UniversityÕs Energy Institute, Prof Xiao-Ping Zhang explains how far long distance lines can reach these days.Õ



Prof Zhang: ÔFor the distance, weÕre talking about up to 6,000 kilometres. Ô



V/O AV ÔBut the electricity flow needs to be controlled precisely. How can we switch it, from wherever itÕs most abundant and therefore cheapest, to wherever itÕs most neededÉ at any given moment of the day or night - and with split-second precision? The answer is Òsmart gridsÓ. And in Professor ZhangÕs lab, they are developing smart grids that can control these energy flows very precisely. These are already in use, for example between France and Britain, so when France has more electricity than it needs, the excess can be switched seamlessly to Britain Ð or vice versa.Õ



Prof Zhang: ÔWe can precisely control the power flow. We can see the power flow here, between the British system and the French system. We can share it. We can share it precisely.Õ



V/O AV: ÔSo if you combine clean energy with long distance power lines and smart grids, you get the Energy Internet. And if this vision is realized, it will be able to supply electricity, day or night, across Asia and Africa and the Middle East, all the way into Europe, the Americas and the Antipodes.Õ



Nick: ÔAnd the electricity grid needs to become more like another grid we all take for granted now, and thatÕs the Information Internet. In the Information Internet, anybody from the largest provider of information, Google or Amazon, to the smallest individual blogger can feed in information to the global network; anybody can take out information from the global network, wherever they are. And it needs to be the same that anybody can feed in from their rooftop solar panels or from a giant desert solar power station, and anybody can access the renewable energy thatÕs being fed in, in the same way. And the Information Internet crosses borders. ItÕs a global creation that we now all use Ð and it has to be the same with energy. We have to think beyond the nation state, share our clean energy resources in order for everyone to have reliable supply of unlimited, cheap, clean energy. Ô 



V/O AV: ÔOne of the leading scientists working on energy futures is Professor Catherine Mitchell. WhatÕs her assessment of this idea of globally interconnections?Õ



Prof Mitchell: ÔFor a flexible, secure energy future, which I see as a cost-effective one, and as a sustainable one, then interconnection is just an absolutely central part of that, and it is clear already that the technology and the cost of that interconnection is there, and we should be able to move over to a decarbonised energy system.Õ



V/O AV: ÔSo the Energy Internet does seem a key to the future, now that the main obstacles to clean green energy have been exploded as myths Ð if intermittency isnÕt a problem, if cost isnÕt an issue, nor subsidies, then what is the problem with switching to renewables?Õ



Prof Mitchell: ÔWhat is stopping that is those old companies, usually fossil fuel-based - sometimes they have a bit of nuclear in there, but theyÕre fundamentally fossil fuel-based - they are without doubt trying to slow down that change in order that they maintain their market share for as long as possible.Õ



Nick: ÔIt simply makes me very angry, to think that just to protect the profits of some large fossil fuel corporations and please some government leaders who are raking in the cash from the fossil fuel industry, or just because other government leaders canÕt be bothered confronting vested interests to change the energy system, we have to impose utter disaster on nation after nation Ð starting with the poorest nations. The people who are the first victims of climate change are the poorest because they have no resources to fall back on. So Bangladesh, one of the poorest nations of the world in which we work, is facing utter annihilation from the rising seas, combined with floods coming down from the mountains as the ice melts. Why do we have to cause famine, disaster, super-storms, floods, and have whole nations disappear? There is absolutely no need for it. We are just doing it to please certain vested interests.Õ



V/O AV: ÔSo who will counter these powerful interests? Be a champion for renewable energies? Back in 2008, MPs in the UK did take a decisive step, passing the worldÕs first Climate Act - virtually unanimously.Õ



Simon Maxwell: ÔAnd why was that? It wasnÕt because they all got up on the morning of the vote and realised this was the right thing to vote for. It was because there had been a lot of work over a long period, explaining, persuading, raising the understanding of the issue, building alliances.Õ



V/O AV: ÔSo Nick Dunlop had a striking idea. What if he could get together a group of governments from the global south to become the new champions of renewable energy? Its member countries could help each other fully understand the planetary crisis, and this Climate Parliament could help implement its breakthrough cure: building the Energy Internet.Õ



Nick: ÔWe need a group of governments to say: ÒThis can be done, hereÕs how, and weÕre going to get on with it.Ó And that will change the game. Particularly if we have some pretty serious governments, like China.Õ



Xi Jinping translator: ÔChina will propose discussion on establishing a global energy internet to facilitate efforts to meet the global power demand with clean and green alternatives.Õ



Hussein Shah, MP from Pakistan: ÔBefore attending, I had no idea what was going on, to be honest, because this is not my field. We will definitely go back and put a calling attention notice that there should be a certain amount of percentage in the budget for renewable energy.Õ



Keith Taylor, MEP: ÔIÕm Keith Taylor, IÕm a Green Party MEP for the south of England. And this is fantastic. This Climate ParliamentÉ ItÕs my first time here, and IÕm really impressed with the information and the determination. Õ



Beatrice Shellukindo, MP from Tanzania: Ô So we are going to do it, and we are going to start in Tanzania. As a group, after lobbying the presidents, weÕre going to lobby other members of parliament.Õ



Barry Gardiner, MP from UK: ÔClimate Parliament has a very specific aim, and it is to work with parliamentarians to make sure that there are enough experts in each country who understand these issues and who are then galvanised into taking action on them.Õ



V/O AV: ÔThe UN too had been trying to galvanise the worldÕs governments to tackle climate change Ð for 22 years by the time of the Paris Climate Summit. So why, with all the UNÕs power and prestige, had it still not succeeded? Because the same vested interests were constantly there, whispering in the politiciansÕ ears, and drowning out the cries for climate justice from the campaigners, outside.Õ


V/O AV: Ô00:16:16,960

ÔAnd the text of the Paris Agreement kept being watered down till it became much too feeble to stop the planetÕs life-sustaining boundaries are being crossed.Õ  



Campaigner: ÔThe red lines are the limits for a livable planet. We all have our red lines and they're being crossed by the text. We can't allow them to sign a death sentence for the planet and people.Õ



V/O AV: ÔThe more pressure politicians feel from voters, the braver they will dare to be. And they will need to be brave to launch an energy revolution: one that moves us away from fossil fuels and the catastrophes they bring, to a new and hopeful future for life on Earth. The UN canÕt be that bold because it is hobbled by yet another impediment: it must get agreement from every country in the world - 100% consensus - before it can make a decisive move. And so that it wouldnÕt get vetoed by the countries wanting Ôbusiness as usualÕ, the Paris Agreement had to be fatally unambitious.Õ 




Nick: ÔYou've got to remember that it's a low common denominator process becase youÕre reaching consensus among almost 200 governments, many of which are oil companies in effect dressed up as governments. I think of the US Congress, many of whose members are basically in the pocket of the US coal and oil industries.Ô



V/O AV: ÔUnlike the UN, the Climate ParliamentÕs great advantage was it didnÕt have to persuade 200 countries before it could make a move. It could make a transformative difference to the world simply by encouraging a small group of handpicked countries to commit to one critical action: building the Energy internet. One of these key countries was Costa Rica Ð and in Paris, there was a chance to pitch the idea to its Energy Minister in person.Õ



Nick: ÔThis is what they're proposing which is a global Energy Internet to trade renewable energy across borders Ð and for Costa Rica this works on two levels. One is that Costa Rica, as a major renewable energy leader, can benefit from the interconnections and can often be an exporter, but also can have more energy security, because, when itÕs cloudy or not windy, you can be importing.Õ



Costa Rica Energy Minister: ÔI like the idea.Õ



Nick: ÔWe found a kindred spirit in the MinisterÉ and um, he said yes.Õ



V/O AV: ÔAnother country key to building the Energy Internet is India: now rapidly developing a massive, green-energy network, right across the country - and beyond. They know that the energy revolution must happen now, not later. ÔLaterÕ is officially over Ð as IndiaÕs Energy Minister made clear, in his response to the Climate Parliament initiative.



Indian Minister: ÔOur government is very clear in its mind about our obligation to the coming generations. About our need to leave behind a greener planet for our great-grandchildren. ThatÕs what this revolution is about. And thatÕs why, yesterday, when Nicholas met me, I said that we are so happy to partner with you. Because you are engaged in a cause which is important for the whole planet. So the time is now. And thatÕs why I believe, Nicholas, that your initiative is important - and urgent.Õ




V/O AV: ÔSo is it game over now for dirty energy? After decades of cavalier ecocide, could fossil fuels be dethroned at last by the Energy Internet? In the unlikely setting of Wilton Park, the country seat of the UKÕs Foreign Office, Climate Parliamentarians come together ready to connect the pieces and eradicate the root cause of the climate emergency.Õ



Nick: ÔClimate change is a really easy problem to solve - that's what's so irritating about it. We have the technology we need, right now, to fix this problem. And we have no shortage of renewable energy resources. We could power ten world economies on solar power alone. We could power ten economies on wind power. And when you add in hydro and geo-thermal and so on, we have an abundance of resources Ð but: and this comes to the purpose of this meeting that brings us here today. We can only harness that massive potential if we have enough long distance transmission lines that connect all the major consumption centres, the cities and the factories, with the best locations for renewable energy. And now we've finally got the process going at this meeting. And we have to work out ways to do this really, really fast.Õ



Bo from GEIDCO: ÔFrom Sichuan to Shanghai, which is actually more than 2,000 kilometres longÉÕ



Mika from Japan: ÔSo our plan is to connect Kyushu with the Busan, and also Busan to connect to Matsue. And then China-Korea is like this one, that we are planning.Õ



Hussain from Pakistan: ÔAnd we're talking of connectivity from this area, the Gulf area into Pakistan. Then going up north from Gwadar to Gilgit to Xinjiang Province - 2,500 kilometres. I think that could be doable in the next 5-7 years.Õ



Bo from GEIDCO: ÔAnd then Central Asia countries, and then, where's Munich, Munich, Munich? Somewhere like this.Õ



V/O AV: ÔBut arenÕt many of these countries threatening war with one another?  IsnÕt it far too risky to be sharing your energy supplies with your enemy? Surprisingly, some of the participants feel that energy-sharing is an opportunity for creating peace. ItÕs one of the upsides of the initiativeÕs quiet diplomacy. Beneath the sabre-rattling that attracts news headlines, parliamentarians in these hot-spot countries are collaborating discreetly to solve their national energy and climate crises by sharing clean, green energy.Õ



Barry Gardiner: ÔThere is real simplicity in this when you boil it down. Politics is simply about how we live together. Climate change, at its core, is a question of justice. And if we donÕt live together fairly, justly, equitably, then of course we will never live in peace.Õ




Nick: ÔToday we share our knowledge through the internet. And now we need to share our fantastic renewable energy resources through the global energy internet. So if you pull back and look at the big global picture - in amongst all the gloom and doom and all the forces arrayed against us, the forces of the old energy system, the oil companies and the coal companies, and Donald Trump and all his ilk - weÕve been waiting for world leadership on the issue of climate change, for someone to say we need to speed this whole process up and make the energy transition at warp speed. And you know what, now we have a world leader.Õ



Greta Thunberg: ÔSome say we are fighting for our future. But we are not fighting for our future. We are fighting for everyoneÕs future. And we will not stop until we are done.Õ



Nick: ÔWow. This is what weÕve been waiting for. And if we can keep building that public pressure - especially from the young, who have the most at stake here because they are expecting to see out this century Ð then, you know, at some point, the combination of climate impacts, cheap renewable energy, and angry young people, might just give our government leaders the kick up the pants they need to really get going on a serious effort to prevent dangerous climate change.Õ







With thanks to:

The Climate Parliament

The United Nations



Smart Grid Denmark

Philippines Children Action

Massachusetts State Police

Kongkon Karmaker 

Daniel Dunlop

Wilton Park



Anuradha Vittachi


Video Production

Peter Armstrong


Empathy Media




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