Chris is bent on turning out the lights on Britain, according to Melanie Phillips – and “provoking a possible nuclear explosion in the energy department” for good measure.
One’s mind inevitably jogs back over 25 years to the days when Chris and Mel were both Guardian leader writers – and wholly comradely in their views. More chattering-class socialism? Not really. Just two highly intelligent people agreeing a leader line, because agreement was the nature of the job. Journalism may be the first rough draft of history, but leader writing is the first rough draft of coalition government.
Observer 23rd May 2010 more >>
Huhne and his Liberal Democrat colleagues had secured a vital concession: that no public money will be used to finance nuclear stations. Huhne – who described the coalition agreement on nuclear as one of many “unpleasant” compromises in the new partnership – may feel the lack of government cash is a major deterrent. Industry leaders are being more sanguine, despite the estimated £40 billion-plus price tag attached to the replacement of the UK’s ageing fleet of 19 reactors operating across ten sites. Mish Tullar of Centrica says what the government has set out is “all positive” in terms of what the nuclear industry requires to move forward. “Clearly new nuclear power stations are not cheap things to build, but equally you don’t have to come up with all of that in a single lump sum,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily require public subsidy. What it does require is a fair wind in terms of the planning consents, and a fair reward structure for clean production.” To that end, two points in last week’s coalition agreement have been particularly welcomed. The first is a promise to provide a floor price on carbon allowances that generators must buy to cover their emissions. In effect, this will provide additional help for all low-carbon projects – including nuclear – which can sell their excess allowances to higher polluters. The price of these allowances has been volatile in the past, most notably in 2007, when their worth fell to zero. The second significant change is a plan announced by the Conservatives before the election to speed up the planning process and stop protestors from delaying construction. The new system would give parliament direct powers to approve new stations.
Scotland on Sunday 23rd May 2010 more >>
Queen’s Speech: Energy Security and Green Economy Bill. (Dept for Energy and Climate Change). A big win for the Liberal Democrats and Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, this will seek to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses and promote low carbon energy production. Energy supplies will also be “secured”.
Telegraph 23rd May 2010 more >>
Labour put forward a shortlist of 11 potential sites for new nuclear power plants, including Dungeness. But the site, which already has two reactors, one of which was decommissioned, was removed from the list for environmental reasons. Senior politicians in Kent called for the decision to be overturned, arguing a power station would create jobs for 2,000 people during construction and a further 350-450 over a 60-year period. Damian Collins, the new Tory MP for Folkestone and Hythe, said he would continue to push for nuclear power at Dungeness.
Kent News 22nd May 2010 more >>
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne says that Liberal Democrats will not stand in the way of privately funded nuclear plants. The Lib Dem party had a long record of opposition to nuclear power stations until it joined the coalition. Mr Huhne had previously described atomic power as a “failed technology” but he now backs new construction. The move means that the prospect of new plants being built at Sizewell in Suffolk may have grown.
BBC 20th May 2010 more >>
The new British Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has now announced the beginning of the long-awaited Strategic Defence Review and the indications are that the process will be completed before the end of 2010. Given Britain’s role in the European Union and NATO, and its close links with the United States, the outcome of the review will be watched with interest in many countries.Professor Paul Rogers, warns that the Government “may be shooting itself in the foot, unless it reconsiders costly programmes that are already under way, such as the aircraft carriers and Trident replacement. Carrying on with these will hugely constrain the kind of review that Britain really needs.”
Oxford Research Group 21st May 2010 more >>
Desmond Tutu: This year the nuclear bomb turns 65 – an appropriate age, by international standards, for compulsory retirement. But do our leaders have the courage and wisdom to rid the planet of this ultimate menace? The five-yearly review of the ailing nuclear non-proliferation treaty, currently under way at the United Nations in New York, will test the strength of governments’ commitment to a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Guardian 22nd May 2010 more >>
With his bouffant hair, platform shoes and strange penchant for zip-up, khaki catsuits, it would be easy to dismiss North Korea’s dictator as a faintly ludicrous pantomime villain. But Kim Jong-il, known as the Dear Leader by his impoverished, brutalised people, is a psychopath who threatens the world with his burgeoning nuclear arsenal and his neighbours with his pathological bullying.
Daily Mail 21st May 2010 more >>
The SNP government is on track to suffer an embarrassing defeat in the Scottish Parliament this week unless it toughens up its targets for cutting pollution. Labour, LibDems and the Greens are threatening to combine to throw out ministers’ latest plans to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by just 0.5% in 2011 and 1% in 2012.
Sunday Herald 23rd May 2010 more >>
One of the world’s biggest technology companies is working on plans to power its data centres using energy generated from cow manure. Researchers at Hewlett-Packard (HP) want to build computer warehouses on dairy farms where they would be hooked up to power plants fuelled by waste. Just one cow produces enough waste every day to power the televisions in three typical households. A large dairy farm, with about 10,000 cows, produces enough to run one of the firm’s typical data centres and meet the energy needs of the farmer, the HP scientists believe.
Sunday Times 23rd May 2010 more >>