Tuesday, 11 December 2007

More from Bali and the feasibility of 25 cores in Australia

Kevin Rudd has arrived in Bali. See the below ABC reports:

Rudd arrives in Bali amid obstruction accusations

Emissions must be halved, say scientists (video)

Rudd stands firm on emissions target announcement

Australia/Rudd is still accepting raps on the back for signing Kyoto, but it looks as if our 15 minutes of enviro-fame have nearly expired. I hope I am wrong - but it doesn't appear Australia will be doing much about emissions for the next half year - at least not from a policy perspective. Without policy direction, the big changes such as where utilities invest to address increasing demand, how they mitigate the resulting business risks, etc. are essentially stalled.

What are the scientists, IPCC, UN, etc. saying about inaction???

But some action is still possible. Along with the continued support of renewables, efficiency and conservation; we can continue the expansion of domestic uranium mining, aggressively support innovative nuclear technology developments and even accelerate work on our own list of relevant nuclear infrastructure prerequisites. New nuclear capacity doesn't have to be built specifically in Australia to have a positive impact on the global energy to emissions ratio. Australia must support the efforts of other, well positioned countries to reignite/accelerate their nuclear programs. After the first few dozen have been constructed and commissioned, we will be ready for a few of our own.

Is it inconceivable that Australia could have 25 commercial nuclear power reactors in 43 years?

Ponder this: prior to 1954, just 53 years ago, humanity hadn't generated a single electron from nuclear generated heat. Today the world has 439 operable reactors with another 34 being constructed. 1984, seeing the most connections to the grid [that are still operating today] at 33 worldwide.

But while technically feasible, is it likely? Yes, but not anytime soon, unless Australia ceases to be a democracy. Public opinion may have shown recent signs of warming, but there are some loud anti-nuclear voices here that seem to spawn in an environment of colossal public misinformation and ignorance. But there is hope in Bali [and by that I mean the ongoing process that has begun in Bali]. Kevin Rudd has just been elected, but is coming off as somewhat right of the current enviro-political centre. Already Rudd's been leapfrogged by the very environmental groups that were lambasting Howard just a few weeks ago.

Ongoing change is a certainty. We haven't even begun to solve the problem yet [emission levels not only continue to rise, but at an increasing rate!!]. Dramatic action is only a matter of time. Eventually the laws of physics will have asserted themselves to an adequate degree and the more flexible 'laws' of economics and politics, not to mention the omnipresent public opinion, will have to abide. It never works the other way-round. Australia may have to waste a bit more time and resources to develop an understanding of the concept, but we will get there.

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