[Date Prev][Date Next]
[cdn-nucl-l] Political wind is the wrong answer
Political wind is the wrong answer
National Post, Mon 07 Jun 2004
Byline: Stanley R. Hatcher, Letter
Re: Martin Swings Left, June 4.
There continues to be absurd inconsistencies in the positions taken by
Canadian political parties about energy and the environment. Take, for
example, renewable energy. Our political parties rave over the prospects for
wind power. Yet the World Energy Council and the OECD's International Energy
Agency are clear that, while renewables can contribute to energy supply,
their contribution will be small for the foreseeable future.
The new wind turbine at the CNE grounds in Toronto is touted as the shape of
things to come. Now, any high school student can use the manufacturer's own
figures to show that it would take more than 14,000 such wind turbines to
equal the full annual output of just one of Canada's nuclear generating
These 14,000 wind turbines, if placed side by side and touching, would
extend for almost 900 kilometres, say from Toronto to Saint John. Together
they would supply less than 3% of Canada's total energy consumption. Do we
want the kind of visual and environmental pollution that would ensue from
using wind turbines to produce a fraction of our energy?
The election platform of the Liberal Party of Canada, states that "Wind
energy is already making an important difference in Germany, Texas and
Denmark, where it represents 20% of energy usage."
This is false and misleading. The OECD's International Energy Agency lists
the total contribution for geothermal, solar and wind combined, to be 0.3%
of Germany's energy usage, and that for Denmark as 2.4%. The U.S.
government's Energy Information Agency shows that in Texas the total amount
of energy generated from geothermal, wind, photovoltaic and solar combined
accounts for only 0.05% of energy usage.
The New Democratic Party's energy platform is built on renewables -- "green
power" -- and promises "to re-tool machines and create jobs by building wind
turbines in Canada and using a new national infrastructure program to foster
markets for wind energy."
Why do our political parties present such misleading pictures and
ineffective plans? Is it because of scientific and technological ignorance?
Is it to mollify the "greens?" Is it to satisfy what they believe the
electorate wants to hear? Or is it something else?
Whatever the reason, they have absolutely no excuse in this age, when
Canadians are calling for political honesty, transparency and
James Lovelock is a noted independent scientist and the creator of the Gaia
hypothesis of the Earth as a self-regulating organism. On May 24, he wrote
in the British Independent newspaper about the impending disaster of climate
"By all means, let us use the small input from renewables sensibly, but only
one immediately available source does not cause global warming and that is
nuclear energy." He went on to say, "I find it sad and ironic that the U.K.,
which leads the world in the quality of its Earth and climate scientists,
rejects their warnings and advice, and prefers to listen to the Greens. But
I am a Green and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their
wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy."
It's time for our politicians, federal, provincial and municipal, to come
clean with the Canadian people, put aside their fantasies and face up to
reality in energy and the environment. They must put in place energy
policies, incentives and penalties to shift Canadian energy use toward safe,
practical and economic non-carbon energy sources, such as nuclear power.
Dr. Stanley R. Hatcher, Terra Cotta, Ont.