Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The energy battle commences

No government worth its salt will ever risk letting its economic engine run out of fuel - ie, energy.

When needs must, the devil rides. This simple fact explains, and for the last 100 years has explained, much foreign policy.

Henry Porter outlined this simple fact in last Sunday's Observer article Nuclear power? Don't dismiss it, when he pointed out how, in Iraq, an American-inspired deal to hand over development of oil reserves, the third largest in the world, to US and British companies, in a 30-year binding agreement, is being rushed through by the oil minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi before next month's election.

Over a quarter of Europe's natural gas is supplied by Russia: by 2020, that figure will be around 40%.

Our new friend, top Russian bully-boy Putin, has ruthlessly acquired a monopoly of oil and gas production, which controls some 90 per cent of the country's reserves.

He imprisoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, stripping his oil giant, Yukos, of its assets and paid off Khodorkovsky's fellow oligarch, Roman Abramovich.

The ex-KGB officer has Europe by the balls, and with rising gas prices, it cannot be anything but sensible for Blair to look at other options.

Trouble is, his option is just one: nuclear power.

This is why, today, Greenpeace protestors entered the CBI conference in London where Tony Blair was scheduled to speak. They waved banners saying "Nuclear Wrong Answer".

He announced that the DTI has issued the call to battle: the energy review. The outcome of this battle will be decided next summer, and will determine British energy policy for the next 15 years at least.

The battle must be fair and transparent, with no special doors open just to the nuclear lobbyists.

Somehow, the Low Carbon Kid doubts whether it will be.

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