24 February 2014

Labour Presses the Nuclear Button

So the £16 billion deal for expensive nuclear power is going to be signed off, as it stands, by a new Labour government in 2015. There will be no renegotiation, no scrutiny and no change.

We’ve seen some incredible energy figures in the last week. At one point, wind was generating nearly 1/5th of UK energy needs, closing in on nuclear, and we can build and install wind capacity quickly relative to nuclear, if there is the political will.

In Spain, wind has already overtaken nuclear in terms of electricity provided over a year, generating over 21% of national consumption, with renewables now providing 49.1% of the capacity of Spanish energy. The resulting 23% fall in greenhouse gas emissions gives us real hope that we can actually turn round the likely climatic disaster we are unleashing on ourselves, if there is the political will.

This brings me right back to a fundamental issue about political pragmatism. If Labour supporters want any real shift in the positions their party has adopted on matching the coalition spending plans in 2015/16, backing Trident renewal and backing an expansion of nuclear power, then they have just one opportunity to do that, if they express their political will.

The European Elections gives voters a chance to elect other parties under the proportional voting system. You can vote mark a glowing nuclear X for Labour (or Lib Dems, Tories, UKIP) or a renewable and energy efficiency X for the Greens. From a non-nuclear Labour point of view, getting Greens elected to the European Parliament (at the expense of the Liberal Democrats) is going to be the best way to shift their own party’s position.

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