Despite the evidence of over a generation that energy efficiency does not lead to large demand reductions, environmentalists like Porritt continue that energy efficiency is such a powerful tool, that nuclear power is unnecessary as a fossil fuel replacement. In addition to nuclear power, Porritt touts renewable energy sources.
Porritt recently criticized Green nuclear advocates by asserting:
There are all sorts of widening fault-lines on energy policy within today’s Green Movement. In the good old days, we’d just rub along together happy in the knowledge that for almost all of us energy efficiency came first, reducing the use of fossil fuels and vastly ramping up renewables came next, with nuclear (and carbon capture and storage for that matter) largely seen as a bit of a sideshow.Porritt does not offer an justification here. He simply chides pro-nuclear Greens for not following the party doctrine. What is the Green Party doctrine?
It’s becoming clearer and clearer that we’re now into a strict fight in terms of those two options. The days when people talked about “co-existence” are long gone; this is now either/or, not both/and. And disturbingly, in every single decision that the UK government has taken over the last few months, it’s clear that they’ve thrown in their lot, yet again, with the nuclear industry. Fukoshima doesn’t seem to have changed that.
Porritt has been a critic of British plans to use nuclear power as at least a partial replacement of coal fired electrical generation technology. Porritt has always portrayed himself as being opposed to nuclear power on practical rather than ideological grounds. The public would not accept nuclear, Porritt has argued, and in addition
the markets will not put up with it . . .Porritt has not justified his comments on public and market opposition to nuclear power, Yet he fails to not that a majority of the British public supports nuclear power, and numerous studies have shown that nuclear power is more reliable and less costly than renewables.
George Monbiot has recently criticized Porritt:Monbiot demonstrates exactly how disingenuous Porritt's claim that the British Government has thrown in its lot with the nuclear industry by noting that a recent report by the British Committee on Climate Change Which called for a division of future electrical generation,
I don't understand why the nuclear question needs to divide the environment movement. Our underlying aim is the same: we all want to reduce human impacts on the biosphere. . . .
The idea, on which there's also wide agreement within the movement, is that the petrol and diesel used to power cars, buses and trains, and the gas and oil used to heat our houses, should be partly or mostly replaced by low-carbon electricity. That means an increase in electricity supply, even as, with sweeping efficiency measures in all sectors, our total energy consumption falls.
So the only question that divides us is how this low-carbon electricity should be produced. I don't much care about which technology is used, as long as the other impacts are as small as possible, and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced quickly and efficiently. None of our options is easy and painless.
• 40% renewablesMonbiot points out that the committee Climate change report notes,
• 40% nuclear
• 15% carbon capture and storage
• Up to 10% gas without carbon capture and storag
Nuclear power currently appears to be the most cost-effective of the low-carbon technologies. . . . Although there is a finite supply of uranium available, this will not be a limiting factor for investment in nuclear capacity for the next 50 years.Monbiot asks Porritt to explain,
• What has the Committee on Climate Change got wrong?Porritt is said to be working on a response. However, Porritt's views have never been fact based, so what facts can Porritt offer in his response? The Real problem with the Plan offered by he Committee on Climate Change is its reliance on Renewables to generate 40% of British electricity. The committee probably knew this, but it was politically unacceptable with the pro-Green members of the governing coalition to say so. In fact not only is British wind power already impractical as a major electrical source, but the situation may get a whole lot worse during the next 40 years, due to changes that appear to already be underway in wind patters near the British Isles.
• Could you explain your contention that nuclear power and renewables can't co-exist?
• Do you believe that renewables are a better option than nuclear power in all circumstances? Or would you agree that beyond a certain level of difficulty, of cost, of visual intrusion and other environmental impacts (damming estuaries and rivers, building power lines across rare and beautiful landscapes for example), nuclear becomes a more attractive option?
• If you are to exclude nuclear entirely, what should the mix of electricity generation in this country be?
According to government figures, 13 of the past 16 months have been calmer than normal - while 2010 was the “stillest” year of the past decade. . . .Although Monbiot has adopted a reasonable approach suggesting the Porritt make lay out his case in response to a number of reasonable questions. There is not a chance that Porritt is going to make a case that will withstand Monbiot's response, and of course this means that Greens are already attacking Monbiot, again.
statistics suggest that the winds that sweep across the British Isles may be weakening. Last year, wind speeds over the UK averaged 7.8 knots (8.9mph), a fall of 20 per cent on 2008, and well below the mean for this century, which stands at 9.1 knots (10.5mph).