Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brown Govt. Greenlights New Nukes

So, it is now official, the Brown Government sort of, half unconvinced, believes in the nuclear "technical fix" to the Climate Crisis. I say sort of, because the whole announcement and the things that it means the government is going to do remain shrouded in spin and obfuscation. Hutton was on C4 News and was adamant that the piece in the White Paper that talked about Carbon Pricing did not mean they were going to rig the market for the nuclear industry. He wriggled like a fish on the hook when it was suggested the government were going to pick up the bill for cleaning up the mess and said the companies would have to build in the cost of decommissioning and waste management into their plans. Oh yeah? Hmmm

The whole announcement and the government's stance reeks of their being stuck in a mass of contradictions - their commitment to the free market coming up against their wish to be seen to be doing something about the coming energy crisis and their wish to be seen as "green" coming up against their instincts and previous practice of pushing costs into the future and living on the never-never. I would not be surprised if the private argument in the govt. is that if the nuclear industry cannot deliver then they, and/or the pesky greens, can be blamed for the energy crisis, and the big "gap" forecast for 2015-20. Then the government's nuclear pals can be given loads of extra cash to "solve the problem" if the public will wear it, or be quietly marginalised if they won't. It amounts to political gambling with our environmental and energy future in a most dishonest way.

Suffice it to say that the Brown Government is once again exposed as Janus faced - talking about reducing emissions and approving new runways, motorway expansions and the likely expensive and environmentally nasty "stop gap" measure of further gas and coal fired power stations. Then a return to nuclear when the public have been softened up by the effects (high fuel bills and energy shortages) of the government's own incompetence. All this avoids the real short term wins of energy efficiency and conservation and new renewables and the necessary massive investment to bring this about. If (when) the nuclear option has to be bailed out, it will siphon off the resources needed for further growth in renewables, CHP, Biomass etc.

Plenty of stuff on the net about this -

BBC Report here.

Peter Tatchell on "Gordon's Nuclear Con Trick"

Tony Juniper of Friends of The Earth comments.

John Sauven of Greenpeace's view here

Green Party of England and Wales view here.

Caroline Lucas MEP view here.

A Blogging response from -
Derek Wall

And last, but not least a relevant story from Socialist Unity Blog

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