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John Howard on global warming and nuclear power

January 5th, 2010 at 01:54pm

A few weeks ago, former Prime Minister John Howard weighed in on the global warming debate. I completely missed it at the time and stumbled upon the video this morning. The substance of what John Howard was saying wasn’t really my main interest at the time as I really just watched the video to see how he is holding up. Back in September he was rushed to hospital due to a potentially life threatening allergic reaction, and I haven’t anything from him or about him since then…so I was a bit concerned for his welfare.

I was very pleased to see that he is looking extremely well, although I think his speech has slowed down a bit. With him looking well, my focus then shifted to his comments on global warming. (Video | Transcript)

I disagree with John’s view that we should “play on the safe side” because “we will all be long dead when we actually know the answer” to whether humans are heating the planet. The evidence is quite clear that we are not heating the planet and it’s a pity that John doesn’t acknowledge that considering his apparent familiarity with the science and the climategate emails.

Still, John did have a good point about what we should be doing to reduce pollution…after all we all agree that actual pollution (Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant, regardless of what the Environment Protection Agency try to sell to you) is bad, right?

It’s well known that “renewable” energy such as wind is not currently capable of maintaining base load power. Maybe one day it will be, but at the moment if we’re serious about cutting pollution and doing so in viable ways, then our only option is to use nuclear power. Tony Abbott has recently raised this topic as being in desperate need of discussion, and it was refreshing to see John Howard weigh in with some sensible views on the topic:

I think we have to — I think countries that now don’t have nuclear power, including my own, should focus very heavily on nuclear power.

I think we should put enormous amounts of additional resources into things like clean coal technology, ways of making the fossil fuels we now use less polluting.
[..]
So, common sense tells me that what we should focus on is doing things that neither side of the debate can possibly object to, and something that utilizes a clean source of energy such as nuclear power — and it is the cleanest source of energy of all — anything that reduces the polluting impact of the use of coal and gas, things like that, where nobody can really argue.

Nuclear does raise the spectre of storing nuclear waste, and this alarms a lot of people, but not me. I am of the firm view that nuclear waste is only “waste” because we don’t know how to utilise it. I have no doubt in my mind that, given enough research, we can find a way to use nuclear waste for useful purposes, probably further power generation.

We mine so much uranium in this country that it’s a shame that we don’t have a nuclear power industry of our own. Hopefully Tony Abbott is successful in starting the national discussion and acceptance of nuclear power.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Global Warming,Samuel's Editorials

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