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November 22, 2008


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Paul, Germany's renewables are a success and I saw many windmills while on a recent visit near Hanover.

That said Chancellor Merkel is pressing to keep 17 Nuclear power plants open until at least 2021. The plan is to subsidise renewables with the profits from Nuclear.

Although very successful Germany will still need either nuclear or coal fired power stations in the years to come. Renewables still only produce about 14% of its power requirements though this may rise to 30% by 2020. So still a long way to go.

We are way behind this. So the choice here is Nuclear - carbon free, or Coal fired. I find it hard to blieve that we can put together a renewable energy programme that will avoid that choice. You may know different.

Given your stance on Climate, nuclear is an obvious choice. Personally I would have no problem with coal fuelled power stations, with Carbon capture technology (if you insist :)) as I am not a great fan of nuclear.

As I said my position is very pragmatic. We will need energy but unfortunately even with a large investment in renewables, we will still not have enough generating capacity to stop shortages in the near future.


Paul Flynn

Thanks. Obama seems to be adopting the precise policy you advocate - except that there are 11 nukes in Illinois. Perhaps the world will follow Obama on renewables.

Paul Flynn

West 2, the German situation is a fascinating success. There weresome pump priming measures for renewables but they have proved to be good value.


"Agree with almost everything except West2."

I asked a number of questions.

The current conversion ratio for solar panels is at most 18%, that is not very efficient. How much is the cost per KWh compared to nuclear?

How much are 'sustainable' alternatives subsidised?

You didn't answer the key question, will your proposed alternatives stop the lights going out in the UK when the power stations are decomissioned?

Just being pragmatic.


Paul Flynn

Graham, I believe Obama is trapped by his election stance on an Afghan Surge. But it cannot last. He is too bright not to see the futility of the operation.

The crucial issue is that we in the UK should not be dragged into a fruitless build-up of soldiers who will provide new targets for the insurgents.

Paul Flynn

All you write is true Patrick, except your pessimism that nothing will change.

It was a small number of Greens in a German coalition that changed the agenda for Germany to set the pace for a non-nuclear future that is rich in renewable energy.

Obama will use the credit crunch to figght against the affects of Global warming. This is a great victory over a global warming denier.

But are we doing enough?..No, I am afraid we are not, yet. Keep the passion high.

Paul Flynn

Agree with almost everything except West2.

The sun panels produce electricity even when the sun does not shine. Windmills work 80% of the time - exactly the same as nuclear power stations.

on Monday the UK will approve the first stage of a 93 £billion clean of the mess left by nuclera power at Sellafield. That's on top of the billions taxpayers have all already paid in subsidies.

Sustainable What will we do when the uranium runs out?


I agree with your comments John.
We are in a mess. Even on our small island we are presently witnessing big decreases in biodiversity. Many Bird species,Bees, Butterflies and lots of other vital pollinators are all on the decline.
The combined effects of habitat loss(housing and roads),population growth, Industrialised farming are all contributing.Even the wildlife friendly townies have contributed.

Mr and Mrs Blogs have nowhere to park their new Four-Track so the front garden is tarmacked.The nasty leaves on the lawn are such a nuisance so they remove the trees.The Sparrows that nested in the rooves made a mess so they had the cavities blocked.The pond was wet so they filled it in etc.....

People have become completely detatched from the natural world. How can cosseted Western politicians escape from a world of subsidy and luxury and even begin to tackle issues that will put them out of power?
The fact is that hardly anybody is going to vote for Green issues.
To turn around the diversity situation people would have to make huge personal efforts and sacrifices. As this would get in the way of over-eating, binge drinking, pointless sun tan holidays, sport and celebrity worship.... is there any hope?


"Then we can follow Germany into efficient sustainable ways to slash carbon levels and keep our human habitat safe."

What effect will slashing carbon levels have? What do you mean by efficient and sustainable? What are the manufacturing, maintenance and replacement costs? How 'efficient' is Solar etc? Also what happens when the wind doen't blow or the sun doesn't shine? Back up systems to maintain the energy supply are needed in this case, what would they be? Of course research needs to be done to improve these technologies. Yet due to de-commisioning of current power stations, will this research bear enough fruit in a short enough time to ensure the lights do not go out in the near future?

I agree with most of what John says. We have time to develop alternatives. Oil is set to be around for quite a while yet. When the oil price went to $140 we were told it was the end of cheap oil, so why is it back below $50?

Nuclear may be a cul-de-sac though it is still an option and at least a proven technology. It would be nice to switch to alternate forms of energy. Being realistic, wind, solar etc are in their infancy and the cost per KWh is very high. Even Germany are not on track to 100% 'renewables' for their energy.

The greens/environmentalists do not always think things through in a systemic way. Think about the idea to use bio-ethanol. That was a bright idea, wrecked food production and now due to the $50 oil price even bio-ethanol is becoming uneconomic. Is that an example of sustainability and efficiency?


Graham Marlowe

I agree with every word you say about Afghanistan Paul. However we know that Obama wants to increase the "surge" there, and it seems he has chosen hawks rather than doves where defence is concerned. Add the prospect of the belicose Mrs Clinton (no chance then that Blair will be sacked from his otiose "peace envoy" role) and I sadly suspect it will be "business as usual" after January.


While we waste money on trident and 2 unwinnable and very costly wars that have brought untold misery to hundreds of thousands of fellow human beings we ignore the very planet our survival depends on.
I don't want to get into an argument about climate change but the inescable fact is that we are using up our childrens inheritance of natural resources at an alarming rate.We have deforested much of our once beautiful planet we have poisened its rivers and the very soil that we grow our food from.
The money that we waste on wars and war mongering should be spent on looking at non nuclear apporaches to our energy needs that are sustainable and do not have a potential to furthur damage the planet.
If we want to stimulate the economy we need to subsidise and encourage spending on research development and implementation of a non nuclear power production. We need to develop sustainable industry that does not damage our planet or seek to minimise such damage. This is the challenge of a world without oil.

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