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Go red for green


Amid all the talk of green taxes, carbon footprints and global warming, one country is ploughing ahead with moves to reduce energy consumption on a massive scale. Last year, socialist Cuba declared that the year 2006 would be the year of the energy revolution.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, which supplied all Cuba's oil for power stations and transport, Cuba was forced to buy expensive oil from Europe because of the US blockade of the island. This led to constant power cuts and a severe reduction in petrol or diesel for transport. Last year, Cuba signed a deal with China for substantial credits, buying new highly efficient, low energy, low emission local generating capacity to replace its ageing power stations.

Cuba also bought new energy-efficient cables to replace the national electricity grid. It has begun rewiring all buildings, and has bought five million energy-efficient refrigerators, rice cookers and steamers, sufficient for every family in Cuba to buy in national currency. The government is investing in solar and wind power.

Around 10,000 energy efficient vehicles have been bought including locomotives, rolling stock, buses and trucks, and new energy-efficient motors for existing trucks and buses. And a new pricing structure for electricity which will mean that the more that is consumed, the higher the tariff.

This contrasts with Britain's tariffs, which reward high consumers with lower prices. It's amazing what can be done when the working class holds state power, isn't it?