It seems that Gordon Brown has either completely lost it, or is so cynical as to think that the British public will swallow the idea that yet more nuclear plants might be the answer to rising oil prices. In 2006, only 1% of our electricity was generated by burning oil, whereas 67% of all petroleum used in the UK was for transport fuels. According to the BBC website, the government has ruled that energy companies wanting to run the new nuclear power plants will have to pay the costs for decommissioning existing sites, and pay their share of waste management costs. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority estimated the cost will be £72bn over 20 years – up from an estimate two years ago of £56bn. The plants themselves will cost up to £2bn and take 15 years to build.
I’m sorry Gordon, but we don’t have 15 years left to avoid the worst scenarios of climate change – only a massive programme of renewables combined with insulation, cutting energy use in domestic, commercial and transport has any realistic prospect. Our environment, economy, food security and future society depends on us adapting quickly to a more sustainable, lower energy use, as proposed in the notion of a growing number of ‘Transition Towns’ – (see www.transitiontowns.org ) which I hope will soon include the City of York.