Monday, March 06, 2006

Scots favour renewables, but it depends how you ask

Over half of Scots still oppose new nuclear power stations despite Labour voting for nuclear and the nuclear industry's massive misinformation campaign.

A BBC poll result shows that the wool cannot be pulled over their eyes.

But it also shows it depends how the question is asked. 52% said renewable energy sources were their the "preferred method of meeting future energy demands in Scotland"; 21% preferred gas, 15% nuclear and 6% coal.

When asked if they would support or oppose nuclear power stations in Scotland, 51% were against and 33% in favour.

But if asked if they would support or oppose new nuclear power stations if they helped Scotland to avoid becoming dependent on imported energy, 54% were in favour of nuclear and 34% against.

The Low Carbon Kid has been listening to a lot of radio coverage of the debate. BBC reporters talking to locals about their opinions, on, say, windfarms. The questions are almost always couched in terms which ignore the wider impacts of choosing nuclear power.

For instance, this morning's Today programme talked to wind farm opponents in Essex. They complained about the visual impact of the wind farms compared to nuclear power stations, and at no point did the interviewer raise other issues, such as security, nuclear proliferation, etc.

How would poll respondees respond if asked "Do you want nuclear power if it means a more unstable world?"

The re-nuclearisation of the world

Last week, Bush and Chirac promised India support for a new generation of nuclear power stations, and Bush did the same for Pakistan. Neither country has signed the non-proliferation treaty. Come to that, neither has Israel. China is scheduled to buold 20 new nuclear plants and the US wants some of that action too.

France and the US are rubbing their hands at the idea of the lucrative contracts that will ensue. Blair no doubt also sees lots of export potential if the UK goes for nuclear and sends this green-for-nuclear-go signal to the world.

But we are seeing in Iran how a country can become an 'enemy' and their nuclear status lead to international insecurity. Chavez - the progressive left wing leader of Venezuala, whom the US would love to despatch so they can have better acccess to Venezuala's oil, is supporting Iran's stance, despite Iran's appalling human rights record and treatment of women, because they share the same enemy.

New power lines are being drawn as we shift into a world where more and more countries want what only the west has previously had, and, in the struggle for increasingly more scarce resources, nuclear weapons will at the present rate, now inevitably play a part.

It seems a shame that the world is forgetting the horrors of the Cold War with its 'Mutually Assured Destruction' and the constant threat of the end of the world. We nearly kissed nuclear power goodbye. Now it is on the ascendant again, and its biggest friend - as a trojan horse driven into the enemy camp - has been and still is, climate change.

Its second biggest friend here in the UK is so-called 'energy security'. I know which kind of security I would prefer if given the choice between so-called 'energy security' and political/military security.

Maybe that's a question the pollsters should ask the people.

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