Conservative silly season: nuclear disaster and global warming

Or at least more silly than usual. First, Boris Johnson, mayor of London and socialite sex symbol, is aghast at the effect of the nuclear reactor disasters in Japan. Thinking he should jump in first to defend nuclear power against those who might have some legitimate concerns, the conservative fop writes about the ‘anti-nuke’ lobby:

These are the atomkraft-nein-danke brigade, who have always believed that any kind of nuclear fission – tampering with the building blocks of the universe – was an invitation to cosmic retribution. They will now do everything they can to exploit the Fukushima explosion and the difficulties being experienced in bringing a couple of plants under control. I don’t want in any way to minimise these problems, and we must hope they are sorted out as soon as possible with the barest leaks of radiation. I just doubt that there is any real read-across between the difficulties of nuclear reactors in a well-known earthquake zone, and the proposed nuclear programme in this country, which is becoming more essential with every day that passes.

Ah, Boris the greenie, waging a righteous campaign against all those nutters. But why do we get the sense that we are not being told what is really happening in those reactors at Fukushima?

And then Tony Abbott debates with himself over climate change. Back in 2009 he infamously stated that global warming is ‘crap’ and that the scientists on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, are ‘alarmist’. But then he turned on himself to say that it was ‘real’ and that we need to do something about it. Then again, he countered his own argument by telling a community forum a couple days ago: ‘whether carbon dioxide is quite the environmental villain that some people make it out to be is not yet proven … I don’t think we can say that the science is settled here’. But yesterday he rebutted his own argument, to say that ‘climate change is real’ and that ‘Humanity is making a contribution’.

Now, Abbott is a formidable and pugnacious opponent, as Gillard and Rudd before have found, but never quite as ferocious as when he is taking on himself. So what does Abbott believe? It looks like Jesus has the answer:

OK, so the climate has changed over the eons and we know from history, at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth,  the climate was considerably warmer than it is now. And then during what they called the Dark Ages it was colder. Then there was the medieval warm period. Climate change happens all the time and it is not man that drives those climate changes back in history. It is an open question how much the climate changes today and what role man plays.


6 thoughts on “Conservative silly season: nuclear disaster and global warming

  1. The climate change “debate” illustrates the basic fact that human civilization does not control its ultimate fate. What will actually happen to this planet is something that can only become known after the fact.

    Perhaps its surface will indeed become like that of Venus: bone dry, superheated, and sterile.

    One thing that is nearly certain is that a day will come when no more human beings walk on the earth. In terms of how long the universe has been around, extinction of humans is just around the corner. Perhaps somewhat later the biosphere as we know it will lose its stabilizing mechanisms and cease to exist.

    All this is, of course, in the natural progress of events, and nothing is to be done about it.

    Therefore, why not enjoy nuclear-powered electricity in your home to post stuff on your Internet server. Fixation remains centered on radionuclides as an exotic killer rather than on the mundane, yet lethal, things like soot from poorly ventilated cooking fires in poor parts of the world.

    1. That’s about as persuasive as the line: ‘shit, the sun’s gunna become a red giant and its gunna implode and whatever and we’ll all diiiiieeeee! So what’s the point of doing anything?’

      1. Fatalism is hardly something to advocate, as you say here. However, the number of problems that can be addressed by means of public policy is limited.

        Whether nuclear power, or any other particular source of energy, is “bad” enough to require cessation is a difficult question to answer. Any policy designed to halt global warming will have unforeseen side effects likely to hurt someone. The someone who gets hurt is often poor and politically powerless. Like the gal who will get cancer because she must cook over an improperly vented stove rather than an electric hot plate, a situation brought about partly because authorities forbade construction of a power plant.

        Therefore, long and hard thinking should precede these kinds of decisions.

      2. Whether nuclear power, or any other particular source of energy, is “bad” enough to require cessation is a difficult question to answer.

        Really? I don’t think so. Not if you’re responsible. We have moral obligations as human beings and social conscience too with the next generations and their futures to ensure. You’d have to be pretty thick, naive or selfish or just plain greedy, to ‘enjoy’ using nuclear energy. ‘I can smell the uranium on your breath.’

        Keep NZ nuclear free.

  2. I just liked the line “during what they called the Dark Ages it was colder”, because in Monsignor Abbott’s mind, far from being a bad time in European history – the only kind that counts – it was a time of strong families and faith-based social entrepreneurship. It’s time to reclaim the “Dark Ages” from the black armband history brigades and their anti-family agenda.

  3. Galaxy: Yes, but that assumes we are working within the coordinates of the current system and not setting out to change those coordinates themsleves.

    VM: Plus, when you get strong families etc, the earth cools of its own accord.

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