An imbalanced energy debate

Dr Ziggy Switkowski: "One of the big challenges is to have a public debate about energy, that is a data based or evidence based.  It's been excessively ideological.  So we have in our political environment a labour government in coalition with the Greens and dependent upon the Greens for political support that gives the Greens' policies more influence than might otherwise be the case.  And the Greens here and perhaps around the world, are deeply ideological in their views.  So they want to move to a completely clean form of energy but they reject nuclear power.  They demonise coal and gas even though those are the fuels at the heart of our economy and they're unprepared to consider the balance.  So the public debate tends to be a debate around strongly held opinions and philosophies, not about on the one hand these are the benefits as well as the challenges and these are the costs, versus an alternative.  When the government some years ago, initiated a white paper process around energy strategies for this  country, they then bounded the terms of reference to say to the public servants and the consultants, design an optimum energy strategy for Australia but exclude nuclear power but do not challenge a going in price for a carbon tax.  Well they are artificial constraints that are political.  So the country which has the capability to have a very sophisticated mature debate about anything hasn’t been permitted by the politics of the moment to do that, to consider all the facts in a balanced way and then to make rational decisions.  It's quite reasonable for the country to decide we will not have nuclear power but it should be on the basis of a proper consideration rather than you feel strongly that you don't like it."

Categories: Energy Choices, Energy Concerns, Government
Author: Dr Ziggy Switkowski
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