Aboriginal Leader Warren Mundine Tells Australians to Grow Up and Go Nuclear

warren-mundine

Warren Mundine says it’s time to grow up and go nuclear.

***

STT tends to leave the debate about global warming or ‘climate change’ to others.

However, STT has always thought that if man-made CO2 emissions really were destroying the planet, then sensible governments would have moved to build nuclear power plants from the moment the Chicken Littles started wailing about the heavens collapsing.

The French generate over 75% of their sparks using nukes – and have used nuclear power – without any serious incident – for over 50 years: the first plant kicked off in 1962.

Nuclear power is the only stand-alone thermal power source that is base-load and which does not emit CO2 emissions when generating power. And it’s a whole lot safer than wind power, with its with million strong fleet of bat-chomping, bird slicing, blade-chuckingpyrotechnic, sonic-torture devices.

The wind industry has been flapping about for not much more than 20 years (producing a trickle of unreliable power, even today) and has killed more than 160 people; nuclear power has been a serious contender for over 50 years and (in a single accident at a military facility, Chernobyl) killed 56, most of whom were fire or rescue workers (see our post here). Despite the frenzied reaction to the Fukushima incident – a result of damage caused when a monster tsunami knocked out the power plant’s power supply – not one single soul was lost during the incident or in the 5 years since.

Then there is the, not so minor, matter of the safety provided to families, the aged and the infirm who rely upon air-conditioners to keep them from boiling in summer or freezing in winter; and, in particular, those on life support (whether at home or in hospital) for whom power is truly a matter of life and death.

In South Australia there is a growing cohort who have experienced what it is to live with an erratic and chaotic power supply, due to its ludicrous attempt to run on sunshine and breezes.

Beyond mere survival, secure, reliable and affordable electricity is the very essence of economic growth, the creation of jobs and human welfare.

For one group of Australians, obtaining jobs and enjoying the confidence, esteem, social status and income that comes with meaningful employment is – all too often – an existential challenge.

Aboriginal Australians suffer lower rates of literacy, higher rates of unemployment, incarceration, infant mortality and entrenched poverty than the population as a whole. There are plenty of historical reasons why that is the case, however this is not the time or place to debate them.

What encourages STT, however is that there are plenty of Aboriginal men and women who are keen to relegate those pitiful statistics to history. Leaders like Warren Mundine.

Warren is as clever as he is passionate about advancing Aboriginal interests, through education, training and employment opportunities. He has worked tirelessly at every level of government to improve the position of an often forgotten and downtrodden people.

Alive to the fact that the outcomes for many Aboriginal people depends upon vibrant, regional economies – which are often driven by power-hungry mines or mineral processors – Warren has identified crippling power costs and unreliable power delivery as impediments to a brighter future for his people.

Demonstrating a political intellect and maturity clearly missing amongst Australia’s political and media class, Warren has come out with an obvious call for Australia to grow up and go nuclear. We applaud him for both his common sense and his courage.

It makes sense to put nuclear into our power mix
The Australian
Nyunggai Warren Mundine
16 February 2017

Technologically advanced, prosperous and mineral-rich, Australia shouldn’t be having an energy crisis. Shifting to renewable electricity and closing traditional power plants is to blame.

Nationally about 14.5 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewables, about 7.5 per cent from wind and solar. But several state governments are targeting 40 to 50 per cent. Labor wants 50 per cent. Federal schemes also force conventional power stations to buy renewable energy certificates, effectively redistributing funds from traditional power plants to wind farm operators.

Using the expression “renew­ables” is misleading. Hydro­electricity (dams) accounts for three-quarters of renewable electricity globally. But new Australian hydro projects are near impossible to get approved. The Greens want hydro excluded from our renew­ables target altogether.

Biomass (burning wood and agricultural byproducts) is the largest source of renewable energy globally but accounts for only 2 per cent of electricity generation. Most is burned directly for cooking and heating in the developing world. Many countries, including China and India, will rely on biomass to meet renewables targets. Yet biomass produces carbon emissions and other pollution.

Geothermal is a tiny electricity source except in Iceland. Marine power barely registers. All three Australian marine energy trials failed.

Australian renewable targets of 40 to 50 per cent really mean generating 30 to 40 per cent from solar and wind.

This is without precedent. According to the latest US Energy Information Administration statistics, the only First World country generating more than 35 per cent of its electricity from non-hydro renewables is Denmark.

Denmark is two-thirds the size of Tasmania with a population of 5.7 million. Australia generates almost 10 times more electricity. Denmark is also in the European electricity market. When wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining it has ready access to electricity from one of the largest markets in the world. France and Germany alone produce 35 times more electricity than Denmark.

Denmark also has the highest electricity prices in the EU.

Denmark is an outlier. I counted only 18 countries generating more than 20 per cent of their electricity from non-hydro renewables; 14 of them generate less than 25 per cent of Australia’s electricity and the other four are in the European market.

South Australia’s move to 50 per cent renewables was a great big experiment. It delivered skyrocketing prices and plummeting reliability.

We’re being conned. Instead of talking about reducing emissions we’re talking about increasing renewables. Governments are picking winners.

If the goal is emissions reduction all solutions should be in the mix, including nuclear, hydro, clean coal and gas. But they are discouraged or banned. Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corp can’t invest in nuclear or carbon capture. Gas extraction is hampered by moratoriums on new projects and organised opposition.

Demonised by ideology, attitudes to nuclear power are, ­frankly, superstitious. Nuclear generates 10 per cent of the world’s electricity, including in Europe and North America. China and India are building more plants. Australia has plentiful supply of the required resources (uranium and seawater). It’s non-emitting, highly efficient and reliable. And science and experience show nuclear power is safe.

We’re told to listen to scientists on climate change. Why not on nuclear?

Narrow focus on wind and solar drives up power bills and sends jobs offshore. Subsidies and targets make it uneconomical to lend to or invest in coal plants or upgrade them with new technologies. One coal station is likely to close every year. High prices and unreliable supply also force industry closures and send business and jobs offshore. This just exports emissions.

Politicians should also focus on adapting to climate change. Australia produces a small fraction of global emissions, but we’re stuck with the consequences of other countries’ emissions. And global energy use will only increase, with more than a billion people yet to be connected to electricity.

The Paris targets won’t prevent climate change. They’re acknow­ledged to be just a start. Meaningful temperature reductions are long-term goals, to be achieved through ambitious targets yet to be agreed in the future, by other people.

Reversing or halting climate change requires deep emissions cuts at enormous economic cost. Even the more ambitious targets yet to come will only delay climate change. This means incurring economic costs but still experiencing the negative consequences of climate change. Yet the economic growth forgone could do a lot to mitigate those consequences.

Energy abundance and economic growth are inextricably linked. Affordable, plentiful energy is what built nations such as Australia and it is essential for eliminating poverty in developing countries and reducing global inequality.

Recently an academic from the Institute for Sustainable Futures suggested giving companies incentives to power down in peak times. If those with “more discretionary needs” switch off electricity, supply cuts to needier businesses might be avoided. Only an academic would suggest governments pay businesses to do less business.

Paying more for inferior electricity is stupid. Yes we should identify and adopt new energy technologies with low or no emissions. We should also for climate change. Economic strength is key to both.

Nyunggai Warren Mundine is chairman and managing director of Nyungga Black Group.
The Australian

aboriginal school kids

Warren Mundine wants to power up their promising futures.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Here’s an assessment that needs to be understood. Professor Richard Lindzen is very courageously taking action right now in the U.S. under the new administration. Check out his petition.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/08/lindzen-understanding-the-ipcc-ar5-climate-assessment/#comment-1441028

  2. Divergent says:

    Looks like Nyunggai aka Warren is providing his own alternative facts. Geothermal electricity in New Zealand accounts for 13% of its power. It is also used for direct heat applications in industry. In the US geothermal power produced more electricity than all of the solar PV output at least until recently. I wouldn’t call these numbers tiny but then one man’s tiny could be another man’s small.

  3. Jackie Rovensky says:

    A very well put together account of what is going on.
    “We’re being conned. Instead of talking about reducing emissions we’re talking about increasing renewables. Governments are picking winners.”
    Yes and their picks are no winners for us.
    “Narrow focus on wind and solar drives up power bills and sends jobs offshore.”
    Oh so true.
    “High prices and unreliable supply also force industry closures and send business and jobs offshore.”
    SA is showing the way.
    “This just exports emissions.”
    When will this become an acknowledged consequence by those who continue to support the lie that Renewables are good for Australian jobs and economy?
    “Paying more for inferior electricity is stupid.”
    Oh yes and how we are being played for fools who sit back allowing other country’s to take over our energy supply and distribution but do not hold these people to account for not providing our energy needs, at affordable prices and reliable access.
    Perhaps the most important of our ESSENTIAL SERVICES we had over control to people we have no control over.
    Australia – the Clever Country!!!!

  4. Actually, it is not quite correct to say that nobody died as a result of the Fukushima nuclear accident. The Japanese press reported that a cabbage farmer committed suicide when told that as his cabbage farm was just inside the declared cautionary zone set-up by the bureaucrats around the nuclear plants, he would therefore not be allowed to sell his cabbages. The conclusion that can be drawn from that is that often it is the do-gooders who cause more damage than the supposed original problem. The devastating environmental effect of wind farms on avian life is proof of that. For some reason the RSPCA seems to ignore it.

  5. Peter Pronczak says:

    If the argument is not all about keeping society in economic slavery, then what is?
    A lot of readers would not be aware of the following quote – does any more need be said?

    “Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter…It is not too much to expect that our children will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history, will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a lifespan far longer than ours, as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age.” – Lewis Strauss, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, 1954.

  6. Polly Staffer says:

    Interestingly, in 2006, Mr Mundine held a term as the National President of the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

    Perhaps a word in Electricity Bill’s ear wouldn’t hurt?

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