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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

spruiking nuclear power « Previous | |Next »
June 27, 2008

It didn't take long for the nuclear power lobby to restart up their campaign to sell nuclear as the green solution to greenhouse gas emissions. This time round their voice is Paul Kelly in The Australian, who says that the pro-green Bob Carr and Paul Howes, from the Australian Workers Union, are far more strident about the need for nuclear power than Howard was before last year’s election. Kelly is articulating the view of the NSW Labor Right. He adds:

While few people champion the nuclear option, this obscures the real point - mounting alarm from the unions, business and politicians about the design and consequences of an emissions trading scheme.The corridors of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue were infected this week with multiple sources of this alarm. The unease is profound. It is as though Australia is sleepwalking into the biggest restructuring of its economy for a generation, with a popular culture that thinks climate change solutions are about light bulbs and carbon-free concerts. The community is utterly unprepared for the harsh application of climate change mitigation - if the Rudd Government has the will to impose it.

Sleepwalking? Utterly unprepared? Thinks climate change solutions are about light bulbs and carbon-free concerts. Why then are people putting solar power on their roof, buying smaller more fuel efficient cars, catching public transport, and making their homes more energy efficient? The Australian public voted in a political party that stood for doing something about climate change as opposed to one that refused because it had been captured by Big Energy.

Surely Kelly has things around the wrong way. It's the people who make up the Australian American Leadership Dialogue -- who are unprepared. These--particularly the corporate conservatives amongst the foreign policy/national security mob--are the ones who have traditionally resisted climate change. They are the ones whose fears are contradictory and confusing.

We don't know the internal conversations in the various sessions of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue because they are not leaked. Presumably Kelly is not spilling the beans either. So he is the voice of the campaign against emissions tradiing given his talk about Australian industry and jobs being the losers, that any Australian action will be environmentally insignificant as China’s economy advances undeterred, and that nuclear power must be assessed as a commercial option and not banned.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:41 AM | | Comments (11)
Comments

Comments

I heard a unionist from the AWU on Radio National Breakfast the other morning saying that geo-sequestration would save all the jobs in the La Trobe Valley. Nuclear was not even mentioned. Neither were renewables.

The unionist in question was Paul Howes, National secretary of the Australian Workers Union. He gave the impression that he was in the US as part of his campaign to protect the jobs of resource industry and manufacturing workers in Australia.

Peter,
no doubt we will see more op eds in the AFR from the publicists of the nuclear lobby saying how wonderful nuclear is and how terrible renewable energy.Of course, nothing will be said by these publicists about the big public subsidies that will be required to make nuclear power a commercial proposition in Australia.

Gary,
SA appears to be mobilising the population to reduce consumption by setting up a kind of interstate competition - look, we're greener than they are. Bligh has just started a similar ball rolling in Qld. We did it with water, we can do it with other stuff. They're trying to bulk buy solar panels so people can get the bulk discount as well as a subsidy.

These seem like far more constructive ways to approach things than secretive power meetings about nuclear, which doesn't help solve the petrol problem or anything related to it.

Lyn,
South Australia is doing very little to reduce consumption of energy from coal-fired power station. There a few wind farms, but the Rann Government is not really interested in helping to connect that generation to the main grid.

They are also doing very little to help households with solar panels on roofs.

It's mostly rhetoric in SA.

OK you literary types, here's a question for you.
Who was the Roman senator who finished every speech with the line "Carthage must be destroyed!" [or whatever it was, I expect the exact Latin to be quoted.]
Cos that is how I'm feeling about our mass media.
Not that it should be destroyed but major changes definitely need to occur.
Just about every durn issue facing us now has to go through a filter of disinformation and media spin that is poisoning public awareness.
Just look at this line:
"mounting alarm ..... about the design and consequences of an emissions trading scheme."
Remember my suggestion [hardly original] some time ago that the polluters lobby would mount a campaign against moves to decrease GH gases and use , among others, 'tame journos'?
Didn't take long did it, cos this is not the first.

"Something has to be done about the mass media in this country"

One of the Catos ... the elder if I remember right. 'Carthago delenda est' was the expression.

It has been adopted by contemporary US wingnuts like Dick Cheney, John McCain and Joe Lieberman by substituting 'Iran' for 'Carthago'.

Nan,
I was thinking about more than power.

Qld doesn't have wind farms or the container deposit scheme. We've got desalination and recycled water on the way, but there's a huge anti-pooh drinking campaign going on as well. We're being urged to turn off the air conditioning, but we have a fuel subsidy. And we also have lots of lovely coal.

"Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam."
Cato the Elder

Peter,
nuclear power starts to become commercial at a carbon price somewhere between $40 and $60 a tonne. The Rudd government is talking around $20-30 a tonne.

The Weekend Australian is calling for climate change to be treated as an economic not a moral issue. So what do they mean by that? Guess. Nuclear is the option. Here is the reasoning:

The Weekend Australian firmly believes responding to climate change is a scientific and economic challenge. Unfortunately, too much of the climate change debate is taking place on a plane divorced from reality. Responding to climate change is not about being ideologically pure. It is about finding technology that works.
Paul Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Australia's biggest blue-collar trade union, has every reason to be alarmed for his members given the CSIRO estimate of potential job losses in a switch to a low carbon emissions economy. The Australian Conservation Foundation-funded CSIRO finding that these job losses will be offset by growth in "green-collar" jobs is speculative and heavily dependent on government intervention.

Nclear power, it says, remains the only proven technology available to produce emissions-free base-load power to replace coal, oil and gas.

So how does Thee Australian, that well known free market, anti-nanny state advocate, reckon nuclear power is commercially viable, given its strident and trenchant criticisms of public subsidies.

Nan,
They are just stirring it along in the hope that the ALP tears itself to bits over the issue. That is what they would like to see.