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.
On this day 11 years ago the then Environment Minister Ian Campbell rejected the $220m 52-turbine ‘Bald Hills’ Victorian wind farm which passed all planning hurdles. James Prest, in an excellent edited volume called ‘Climate Law in Australia’ takes up the story.
Senator Campbell held a media conference in his home town of Perth to publicly announce the refusal of the Bald Hills wind farm. This was an unusual step in decision-making under the EPBC Act. The maximum publicity most EPBC decisions receive is a silent announcement on the departmental website. Campbell said:
I’ve announced this morning that I have decided not to approve the Bald Hills wind farm in Victoria. I have done so on the basis that the report commissioned by my department has said that the Orange-bellied Parrot, which is threatened and is in a very precarious situation as a species, can’t really stand any further potential impacts. The wind farm proposed could have such an impact and hasten the extinction of that species.
(Prest, 2007: 232)
This was complete tosh, and the decision was later overturned. Campbell did not last much longer in his job… All part of the unrelenting hostility to renewables, eh?
See also: Hogan, J. 2006. Fury over wind farm decision. The Age, 5 April.
Also on this day –
2005 COAL21’s first conference
2011 Greenhouse 2011 in Cairns, with a speech by Greg Combet
2011 exp-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defending himself on climate change policy on ABC TV’s Monday night “Q&A”. See Bob Carr on this– Carr argues Rudd could have used GGAS model after Turnbull was overthrown and the CPRS therefore stuffed…
On this day ten years ago the chief of the CSIRO’s division of energy technology explained what many already suspected- research that was inconvenient to industry might not see the light of day… This report comes a year minus a day after, for example, Mark Diesendorf’s article in the Canberra Times (see tomorrow’s post). There’s a paper to be written on the long brutal and depressing history of climate science advice and Australian policy-makers…. #afterthethesis…
Beeby, R. 2007. Industry can gag research: CSIRO. Canberra Times, 15 February.
The CSIRO has confirmed coal industry bodies have the power to suppress a new report questioning the cost and efficiency of clean-coal carbon capture technologies because they partly funded the research. Dr David Brockway, chief of CSIRO’s division of energy technology, told a Senate estimates committee hearing yesterday it was ”not necessarily unusual” for private- industry partners investing in research programs – such as Cooperative Research Centres – to request reports be withheld from public release if findings were deemed to be not in their best interests. His comments followed questions by Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne regarding the release of an economic assessment by a senior CSIRO scientist of a new carbon capture technology to reduce greenhouse emissions from coal-fired power stations
Also on this day – Yet another ‘Kyoto ratification will cause the sky to fall” claim…
AAP. 2005. Signing Kyoto ‘counter-productive’. The Age, 14
Australia’s energy-efficient exporting industries would be penalised under the Kyoto Protocol, Environment Minister Ian Campbell said today. He said it was counter-productive to the cause of curtailing man-made climate change to prevent Australia exporting its high-quality energy products and low-emissions technology.
On this day in 2006 the then Australian Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell vetoed a Victorian windfarm on the extremely spurious grounds that it would harm an endangered species, the Orange-bellied parrot, that hadn’t been spotted within 10km of the proposed site.
He used a controversial Biodiversity Act that had been opposed by most of the big Green groups (with the exception of WWF). The decision was later overturned, but it contributed to the sense that the Howard government was taking the mickey.
The conservative hate-affair with wind energy continues down unto this day, for reasons that we might come back to…
Also on this day
On April 5, 2010, an explosion at another Massey Energy facility in Raleigh County killed 29 out of the 31 miners onsite, the worst mining accident in the U.S. since 1970. An investigation found Massey Energy’s negligent safety practices directly