Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Opportunistic hypocrites

I'm really sick of John Howard spruiking nuclear power as the panacea for global warming. It is sheer hypocrisy for him to now condemn those of us who oppose nuclear power and uranium mining as not being serious about, or wanting to everything possible, about global warming when he has been responsible for the most damaging policy of denying global warming and ham-stringing efforts to cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

From outright denial, to spiking Australia's support for the Kyoto Protocol, to foot-dragging, to his recent opportunistic conversion to 'climate change', and now advocating nuclear power at the expense of renewable energy, Howard's track record on dealing with global warming would be pitiful if it weren't so dangerous.

It appears that
where big oil is the industry ham-stringing America's capacity to effectively deal with global warming, uranium and nuclear interests are trying to call the shots over Australia's response. I certainly believe that it was no coincidence that Howard announced his inquiry into the viability of expanding uranium mining and developing a nuclear power industry in Australia months after meeting with mining magnates and with businessman and Liberal Party stalwart Ron Walker over their plans to establish a company to explore developing nuclear power generation.

Howard's credibility certainly took a beating from the Opposition's repeated questioning of the PM over his discussions with the businessmen over their plans to explore the potential for uranium mining. How much clearer can it get that Howard's policy direction is dictated by his rich business mates – whether from media, mining, or the uranium-nuclear industry.

(It is worth seeing how Howard will balance the demands of the coal mining/power interests, whom he has volubly supported, against the nuclear lobby.)

While it is the Coalition's backbenchers who are running around like chooks saying that they didn't want nuclear reactors in their electorates, Environment Minister Turnbull is claiming the Opposition is running a scare campaign on nuclear power. A bit rich, don't you think?

It is clear to me that Howard is first and foremost interested in supporting the vested interests of industry, rather than helping to save our planet from the brink of disaster. He has acknowledged that his support for nuclear power has been on the record for a long time. Meanwhile, he has clearly been an opportunistic Johnny-come-lately over global warming. We
now know clearly what has motivated him.

Howard's response when backed into a corner is to come out fighting, until we all get tired of this and go home. However, we need to remember why nuclear power is such a bad idea, so that we keep up the pressure and turn grassroots opposition to nuclear power into an election issue.

[Digital image by me, from a pic by Sprol that I've used before, used and created under creative commons licenses]

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At March 01, 2007 9:20 am, Blogger philjohnson said...

Excellent observations on John Howard's attitudes on ecological problems and his economania for sweet-talking nuclear power stations. It is something that has been a burr in my saddle. In June last year I blogged about Howard's announcement of the nuclear inquiry. I raised the grim spectre of private conversations from business allies having prompted the public discourse.

I revisited the problem again on my blogspot

I find the Howard government to be morally bankrupt on the topic. Unfortunately his government has been well supported since 1996 and that must surely raise questions about the "dumbed-down" and "cattle-herd" mentality that seems to prevail in the nation generally. Although there seems to be popular unrest about the nuclear option, the worry is that Howard's rhetoric about "bogeyman" threats (terrorists, asylum seekers, the ALP on economic matters, etc) so easily sways people into worrying more about their bank balance and Plasma TV screen reception than on wider problems.

I hope that the rumbles against certain aspects of the Government can translate across the board into an avalanche and that the election this year will yield a decisive defeat for John Howard.

At March 02, 2007 10:23 am, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

Hi phil, thanks for your comment, and welcome. I hear your point about Howard's capacity to use fear to garner his ongoing support. (What happened to 'relaxed and comfortable'?) There is strong popular opposition to nuclear power, but the key here is whether growing unease about global warming will be tapped into panic support for nuclear power.

Unfortunately, I think that people will more likely support the nuclear option over personal costs – i.e. making changes to the way we live that require drastic cuts to energy use, CO2 emissions, and financial expenditure.

As a population, if we're told that with nuclear, we can still produce and consume all the energy we want and solve global warming – we'll go for that.

The point is, it's a lie.

That's what the keystone is. That's what makes me so frustrated about the current discussion about nuclear power – people seem to have accepted the case of nuclear power being global warming's panacea without examining the arguments (beside that of vested interests), or considering the evidence.

In this case, I suspect it is less about herd thinking in the population, but amongst the media and pundits.

At March 03, 2007 3:13 pm, Blogger philjohnson said...

I agree Mark that fundamental lifestyle changes (thus affecting the materialism fostered over the past decade) are warranted. As you note it is "easier" to continue to behave in a highly consumptive manner by swapping from coal-power to nuclear-power.

If Australians in general were prepared to discuss and then act on the ethical and philosophical implications of high energy consumption and aspirational middle class values about personal significance and security then we would find ourselves feeling very awkward about what we buy, sell and use.

At May 25, 2007 10:53 am, Anonymous Poetry said...

We may not solve warfare or famine in your time.

But the cure of all disease may be within our grasp.

Imagine the if the trillions spent on

"Wars of Choice" or

"Wars against a concept"

was spent testing every natural and artifical substance

known to man against every disease know to man.

Imagine if we spent the remainder on determining

the molecular structure and sequencing the genes of every

disease so that we could construct cures that while

harmless and inert to ourselves, are deadly and irrestible

to the viruses, anti-viruses, and bacterias that plague us.

War is not the triumph of God. War is the failure of men.

Though there are necessary wars such as World War II, most

wars could be prevented. For instance, if we stopped buying

oil from Saudi Arabia, the money that finances terrorism

would dry up and the so called "War Against Terror" would be over.

It is instructive to note that no major politician has as his

chief goal, destroying terrorism in this way. Perhaps

they don't really want it to stop....And besides, every major

politican is getting by foreign oil interests and domestic big oil.

We could easily things such as coal and nuclear energy to be free

of those who fund terrorism. Unfortunately, the politicians have

yet to find a way to get paid if we switch to domestic energy

sources. Every pundit who says we can't switch to domestic

energy is also on they pay roll of big oil and foreign oil



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