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New nuclear power plants – a distraction from real climate action – Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein will be appearing at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas on Saturday, September 5. The talk will also be streamed live online.

text-relevantNaomi Klein says building new nuclear power plants ‘doesn’t make sense’  
SEPTEMBER 04, 2015 BUILDING new nuclear power plants to create a carbon-free world “doesn’t make sense” and just serves as a distraction from the risks, Canadian author Naomi Klein says.

The activist and author of This Changes Everything, was asked what she thought about the possibility of building a nuclear flag-Australiapower plant in South Australia, which a Royal Commission in the state is currently considering.

Backers of nuclear power often spruik it as an alternative to renewables because it does not produce greenhouse gases, unlike coal-fired power stations.

But Klein said building new nuclear plants did not make any sense to her.

“What’s exciting about this renewables revolution spreading around the world, is that it shows us that we can power our economies without the enormous risk that we have come to accept,” she told media on Thursday.

  • These risks are sometimes called “sacrifice zones” and this is actually a phrase that was used in government policy documents in the United States, Klein said.“Fossil fuels have always required those sacrifice zones,” she said, and these huge risks were often borne by certain groups of people, who were overwhelmingly the most vulnerable people in society.”

    She said these included indigenous and the poorest people who were the ones who had their lands mined and dealt with the health impacts.

    “Nuclear carries those same risks and that same logic … so no, I don’t think that’s the solution,” Klein said.

    She said the latest research showed renewables could power 100 per cent of the world’s economies.

    “We can do it without those huge risks and costs associated with nuclear so why wouldn’t we?” she said.

  • While there was still debate over the timing of when renewables should be introduced, and whether existing nuclear power plants should be taken offline first, Klein said it didn’t make sense to her to build new nuclear facilities.“People are constantly holding this promise of next generation nuclear which supposedly doesn’t have the risk of our current generation nuclear but at this point it’s notional, that’s not what’s being constructed and I think in large part that serves as a distraction from the risk associated with actual nuclear power.”

    In her book, Klein argues there is a conflict between what the planet needs in order to continue supporting human life, and what the current economic system needs to thrive, which is short term growth and “putting profits above all else”.

    “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war,” she writes. RELATED: Naomi Klein says she hopes Tony Abbott is still paying attention  “The International Energy Agency warns that if we do not get our emissions under control by a rather terrifying 2017, our fossil fuel economy will ‘lock in’ extremely dangerous warming.”

    In her book she said people needed to start speaking about climate change in terms of “right and wrong”, not of pragmatism and cost-benefits. But contrary to some people’s views, Klein said it was possible to have a stronger, fairer, more stable economy, and still act on climate change.

    “Every time he (Prime Minister Tony Abbott) tells Australians that they need to choose between the economy and climate action, that is a lie,” she said. “The latest studies show we would create six to eight times more jobs if we invested in those sectors than if we invest the same amount of money in the extractive sectors (like mining).

    “The problem we’ve had is only those extractive jobs have all too often been the only jobs on the table.”

    Klein said Germany was already getting 30 per cent of its daily electricity from renewables. On sunny days renewables can make up to 80 per cent.

    “They’ve created … 400,000 jobs in this transition, they’ve also deepened their democracy because they have taken back control of their energy grids in hundreds of cities and towns in Germany and are able to keep the profits of energy generation and use them to pay for services,” she said.

    “So this is not just about flipping the switch from one energy model to another, it’s also about changing our economy to make it fairer.

    “It is true that some of the most powerful actors in our current economic system … stand to lose a lot.” Naomi Klein will be appearing at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas on Saturday, September 5. The talk will also be streamed live online.

September 5, 2015 - Posted by | general

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