Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Ideology and the Chancellor

“there are people in the green movement who oppose the use of civil nuclear power for ideological reasons, if you like, when it is by definition a green source of energy generation”

photo credit

That's George Osborne, February 2014 in a speech that also described fracking as a 'green' technology that will reduce UK carbon emissions.

George, even apart from your attempt to rebrand 'green' to include nuclear power stations, you haven't a clue what you're talking about.

Why do you presume that ideology drives the opposition? Can't you even recognise that there is a real, evidence-based argument out there. The only 'ideology' here is the principle that we should leave this planet in as good, or better condition as we found it.   Assuming (ok, it's a bold assumption) that you go along with that, what further ideology have you identified that opposes civil nuclear power, as matter of principle and belief, as a 'world view', rather than as a rational position?

  • from the start nuclear power has been inextricably linked with nuclear warfare (the unthinkable)
  • sixty years on, we still don't know what to do with the waste – or how generations to come will cope with the poisonous legacy we leave
  • We've had more than enough of our own costly accidents, but worldwide there have been big scale disasters with huge health and economic impacts.
  • Every stage of the nuclear cycle from mine to waste dump is fraught with risk, both natural and man-made, to life.
  • (this one ought to appeal to you, George) you can't insure a nuclear power station – the cost/risk factor is untenable.
  • The timescales for bringing new nuclear on line make it largely irrelevant to the urgent need for greenhouse gas reduction.
  • 'New generation' nuclear relies on foreign direct investment, limiting essential regulation
  • While you promote nuclear, you're cutting back on energy conservation (the green levies)
  • While you promote nuclear, you're taking funding away from renewable energy development.
  • You're subsidising foreign investors from the public purse.

Any or all these things make for a reasoned case to reject nuclear power as an energy source. 
It's you, George, that's the ideologue.   We know that you're guided by more than one – the economic ideologies of exponential growth, the supremacy of the market, and the 'hidden hand' that will turn personal greed and ambition into a public 'good'. You certainly have a right wing 'small government' ideology. All these beliefs clearly guide your management of the national economy. Even your acceptance of man-made global warming is expressed as a 'belief (“I'm someone who believes climate change is happening, that it's caused by human beings”), not simply as an acceptance of the scientific consensus. 
You've not bothered to look at the whole picture, the whole balance of energy supply sources and consumption and how they serve the long term public interest. 
Maybe that's because you let your economic ideology, right or wrong, dictate your whole approach.

[Added 23/2/2014]   Forgive me for singling you out, George.  The other lot are doing their best to follow your bad example.   Caroline Flint, shadow energy secretary, seems to think the subsidy for Hinkley C is acceptable -  and that nuclear is renewable energy!

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