Physical Insights

An independent scientist’s observations on society, technology, energy, science and the environment. “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.” – Carl Sagan

An open letter to Kevin Rudd and the Australia 2020 Summit.

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As worldwide concern mounts over the potentially serious effects caused by potential forcing of changes in climatic systems resulting from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, Australia must undertake serious consideration of how best to reduce, within reason, the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions of our civilization.

In an Australian context, the most significant, obvious step which we can take towards the mitigation of CO2 emissions is the replacement of our extremely polluting and harmful primarily coal-fired stationary electricity generation capacity with alternative systems for stationary electricity generation on the large scale required, which are environmentally sustainable and not CO2 emissions intensive.

50% of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions in Australia come from stationary energy generation – clearly this is the most obvious place to start if we really want to make a dent in carbon dioxide emissions.

The idea that 80% of our electricity generation capacity is being generated from coal and fossil fuels, with the dangerous waste of fossil fuels just being spewed into the environment as usual, is absolutely appalling.

To this end, rational, factual, well-researched and scientifically motivated consideration must be paid in particular to the use of nuclear energy – which is a proven, mature, environmentally sound and non CO2 emissions intensive source of electricity generation which works on the large scales of energy output required.

Nuclear energy must be considered, and compared with the alternatives available, in a way which is informed, scientifically motivated and free of dogma, ignorance and political bias, and based on consideration of the environmentally sound technologies which are available and proven right now which can most successfully provide large scale electricity generation with the high capacity factors required to substitute for and replace dangerous and environmentally destructive coal-fired generation in the near future. Nuclear energy is a technology which satisfies all these criteria.

I would like to hear what account the Rudd government would give, what scientifically, factually motivated basis they could give, for their opposition to nuclear energy – and I strongly urge them to reconsider it, for the good of us all.
[Yes, I did officially submit something very close to the above to the summit.]

Written by Luke Weston

April 16, 2008 at 9:21 am

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