There were ructions beginning in 2006 around climate change. The “APC6” meeting in Sydney was met with derision and protests. In April a bunch of businesses had joined with Australian Conservation Foundation to call for climate action, including a carbon price… So, what did John Howard do? He reached for his little bag of wedges, and threw the nuclear option onto the table. This time in the shape of a post-meeting-Dubya-Bush announcement about the “Global Nuclear Energy Partnership”.
Here’s an account of the reaction.
At least one cartoonist absolutely nailed it.
Nuclear Power, eh? Always about to be too cheap to meter, always on the cusp of this Amazing Technological Breakthrough. Such Promethean dreams, we had… In Australia, thanks to the low population etc etc nuclear never made much sense (there were abortive efforts of various pollies (prime ministers and premiers), but the numbers just never made sense. Nuclear proponents argued for it in thelate 80s, and in 2006 Prime Minister John Howard threw that particular dead cat onto the table as climate change concerns began to bite at his heels. The issue keeps popping up, of course. And so it did on this day seven very very long years ago-
NUCLEAR advocate Ziggy Switkowski has said an Australia powered by up to 50 nuclear plants would pose little risk of an environmental disaster such as this week’s threatened oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef.
Dr Switkowski, chairman of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, said Australia should build 50 nuclear power stations by 2050, doubling the number he suggested to the Howard government in a key report three and a half years ago.
Kelly, J. 2010. Ziggy Switkowski calls for 50 nuclear reactors in Australia by 2050. The Australian, 7 April.
Also on this day–
On 7 April , two days after the Bald Hills decision [of Ian Campbell], Neil Mitchell of 3AW put the Prime Minister on the spot in relation to a housing project west of Melbourne at Melton, saying ‘there’s a $400 million development out there at risk’ because of the elusive and endangered grassland-dwelling Golden Sun Moth. The Prime Minister was unaware of the moth. Still he promised ‘I will investigate that’. Other stories queried whether the endangered red-tailed black cockatoo would ‘sink a $650 million pulpmill’ in SA, and whether the little known flatback turtle would continue to raise an issue for Chevron’s $11 billion Gorgon gas project off the northwest coast of Western Australia.
(Prest, 2007: 253)
7 April 2011: Grattan Institute issues comprehensive analysis of alternative emissions reduction policies and considers you would need to announce a grant tendering scheme of around $100 billion to meet the 5 per cent target.