Energy: March 2009 Archives

Trust the public.

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climateprotestaustralia.jpgHowever engaging the polling figures are on the ups and downs of the Tory lead over Labour (wait a minute, there's one guy holding both puppets!), ComRes in today's IoS has a more interesting stat for environmentalists.

83% of those polled said they were "ready to make significant changes to the way I live to help prevent global warming or climate change", actually slightly up since the start of global financial meltdown.

A recent Yale and George Mason survey in the States also came up with some eye-catching numbers on this issue. 69% of Americans said the US should sign up to an international treaty designed to reduce emissions by 90% by 2050. 

What's more, it's not just "we'll do it if everyone else does": the same survey shows 67% of Americans saying they should reduce their emissions regardless of what other countries do, with just 4% hardcore climate change deniers supporting no emissions reductions at all.

That 90% by 2050 figure is so radical that in this country only the Scottish Green Party and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research back it, incidentally. Next time the SNP, Labour or the Liberals tell you they back radical action on climate change, tell them even the much-judged average American is ahead of them.

Comrade aviators.

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gangoffour.jpgA frank and open exchange of views is going on down south between real Greens, specifically former London mayoral candidate Siân Berry, and some people who get billed as lower-case-g greens, notably George Monbiot. 

To complicate things an actual upper-case-G Green candidate in Oxford also went nuclear, allowing the Independent to go to town on us. 

The absurdity of the piece is made obvious when you see that one of the greens they cite as having had a road-to-Sellafield conversion is a former Labour cabinet Minister with a 100% record of backing nuclear power.

The battle proper kicked off when Siân put this piece up on her blog, criticising Monbiot's sell-out on nuclear power, and more seriously, attacking their haircuts (Monbiot, Lynas, Tindale and Goodall, left). 

Her arguments on nuclear were sound, but it was the following section that appeared to get his goat in particular:

"Like the young women mentioned above, these chaps have a few physical and biographical characteristics in common, largely a tendency to be over 45 with the haircut of a WW2 fighter pilot and the experience to know better than play so crudely into the hands of an industry on the make."

It's hard to deny that the four of them would fit in, visually, in the cockpit of a Spitfire. Goodall, bottom on the left, looks more like he's been promoted and flying a desk by now, but it turns out that her charge was particularly apt for him. He commented on her blog as folllows:

"Unlike those conchies Monbiot and Lynas, I was actually trained to be a fighter pilot."

No such good humour was forthcoming from Monbiot, who instead decided to take his plane on a kamikazi assault on the Green Party, Guardian megaphone in hand. His shameful straw man job on her arguments was followed by a declaration that he's not going to vote Green again. 

It's obviously his right to take the huff about the haircut crack (see how easy those straw men are, George?), and if he wants to find a pro-nuclear party to vote for there are plenty of options. 

He'll find Labour, the Tories and the Liberals just as weak as they ever were on all the other climate issues, though. 

On one side there's a clear explanation of the reasons why nuclear is the wrong choice, not just as the only option, but as any of the options. To quote Siân again:

"..there are so many other, less technically challenging, more job-heavy, cheaper, easier, quicker, etc etc projects out that would balance energy needs with production and cut carbon at the same time."

On the other side, there are four people who should know better giving succour to the backers of the most unsafe and uneconomic form of power ever implemented, pretending it's a proper low-carbon, affordable and sustainable technology, and doing so in the pages of the red-tops

They're entitled to their opinions, but I just wish the media wouldn't keep calling them environmentalists. If a former SNP politician or independence activist came out for the Union, it'd be news, sure, but it wouldn't be a split in nationalism, it'd be someone leaving nationalism. 

I'm with the Wrens on this one, tempting as it is to side with the peacemakers. Also, is there something in the water in Oxford?

The Prime Proliferator.

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shahirannukes.jpgOne of the substantial pleasures about McCain's defeat last year was the repudiation of his Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran approach to Middle East politics (youtube). It's almost hard to remember that there was so much talk about another war just months ago, despite the fact that it would clearly have made the Iraq invasion look like a teddy-bear's picnic.

How quickly things have changed. Gordon Brown not only supports the Iranian civilian nuclear programme, but threatens them with sanctions if they don't develop it. It's like the 1970s all over. The truly odd thing here is that even George Bush opposed Iran's plans to go nuclear. OK, he wanted to terminate it with a demented bombing run, but at least he linked civilian nuclear power to military nuclear proliferation. What on earth is Brown up to?

Perhaps coincidentally, there has also been an extraordinarily high volume of spin on show in the BBC coverage of nuclear power over the last couple of days. Here's just a few samples.

"No cost-effective low-carbon technology should be off-limits", including nuclear, according to Lewis Macdonald MSP on Newsnight. He's obviously not seen the numbers - nuclear emits about four times more CO2 than renewables, and will cost us billions and billions once you take into account waste, decommissioning and all the rest. He also claimed that "nuclear waste issues have been resolved". I take it he's found a way to convert these dangerous materials into butterflies and champagne.

Moving on, the British Energy person on GMS this morning said we have had "an almost utopian mix" of generation in Scotland - that would be one which in 2006 included 59% climate-busting coal, oil and gas, plus 26% coming from expensive, unsafe and unreliable nuclear stations. He also claimed that on a typical day nuclear provides 66% of Scotland's electricity, which is proper lies (see that 2006 data above). 

Anyone would think they've got a pig in a poke to sell us. And the Iranians.

Nuclear foundation.

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nuclearcake.jpgThe Renewable Energy Foundation sound like a nice lot, don't they? One imagines them funding labs full of researchers in white coats looking to make solar panels more efficient, or perhaps contemplating efficient grid connections for remote renewables projects to supply our cities.

Instead, they're actually a pro-nuke and anti-wind lobbying group, made respectable by their name and nothing more. They're backed by the radioactive Ian Fells, who some have harsher words for, and the demagogue Noel Edmonds.

They're also hosting a conference next week, with Tavish Scott as the keynote speaker. Could this be related to the fact that his former MSP colleague Euan Robson has also taken REF's irradiated shilling? Surely the Liberals aren't warming up to go nuclear as the basis for another ill-conceived line of attack on the SNP?

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Energy category from March 2009.

Energy: February 2009 is the previous archive.

Energy: April 2009 is the next archive.