31 May 2011

Now let's follow Germany

Germany's coalition government has announced a reversal of policy that will see all the country's nuclear power plants phased out by 2022. Italy, Thailand, Malaysia and Switzerland have already said no to nukes recently. Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said, "If a high-skilled society such as Germany - with a strong industrial safety record - says it can't justify the risk to its citizens from nuclear power, why should it be any different here?"

Photo: Oldbury nuke viewed with my camera from top of Ash Lane, Randwick

Germany will build their energy security by investing in renewables and this can only be good for it's export market. We could be doing just the same if our government would only listen to common sense. It is vital that we build up renewable energy and energy efficiencies.

News this week regarding carbon emissions could not be worse - see Guardian here -a record rise in emissions despite the recession and news that we will miss stopping the temperature rise more than the all crucial 2 degrees target.
"These figures indicate that [emissions] are now close to being back on a 'business as usual' path. According to the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's] projections, such a path ... would mean around a 50% chance of a rise in global average temperature of more than 4C by 2100. Such warming would disrupt the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the planet, leading to widespread mass migration and conflict. That is a risk any sane person would seek to drastically reduce." Professor Lord Stern of the London School of Economics, the author of the Stern Report in 2006
Even now there are possibilities to avert disaster but as John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, notes: "This news should shock the world. Yet even now politicians in each of the great powers are eyeing up extraordinary and risky ways to extract the world's last remaining reserves of fossil fuels – even from under the melting ice of the Arctic. You don't put out a fire with gasoline. It will now be up to us to stop them."

Nuclear power is not the answer to tackling climate change. As this blog has noted nuclear will not be ready in time - we need to act now and to divert resources into new nuclear will only impact negatively on our abilities to invest in renewables - furthermore as growing evidence shows climate change is likely to seriously effect nuclear power plants - in France the hot summer meant their nuclear reactors had to close - similarly sea water rises threaten many sites - and see here evidence re growing costs.As the government's Committee on Climate Change reports, large onshore windfarms are "already close to competitive" with burning natural gas, and are likely to get there by 2020.

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