Owen Paterson wants the UK to run on electricity from Nuclear Submarines
Owen Paterson is a bit of a submarine himself these days. He goes under, for weeks at a time, then pops up, fires off a few choice quotes (mostly climate change denial, Green Blob paranoia or anti-Europe) and disappears again.
He’s just surfaced and fired a torpedo.
No surprises that the Telegraph gets the juicy titbits from Owen Paterson’s forthcoming speech to the Global Warming Policy Lobbying Outfit, or whatever they have decided to call themselves now they have split the “charitable” activities out from the all-out Fossil fuel funded lobbying that Lord Lawson and his cronies have been up to for the past 7 years. Except perhaps the Mail would have been a more attractive prospect to place the story, given its much larger readership. Never mind.
No surprises that Paterson is using the speech to call for the Climate Change Act to be suspended or scrapped, if everyone else doesn’t also do what the UK has committed to doing through the Act, reducing our Carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
No surprises that Paterson is scaremongering like billyo about it, warning the lights will be going out if we don’t abandon our commitments to act on climate change. And no surprises that he is advocating a new Dash for Gas – Shale Gas.
These are givens, all the things we come to expect from OPatz. The man who refused to take a brief from his chief scientist, instead preferring cosy fireside (coal fire I imagine) chats with his Brother in Law the Irrational Optimist Viscount Matt Ridley.
But there are a few surprises in the leaked items from his speech to the denialist faithful. Paterson is going, apparently, to advocate using small nuclear power plants, akin to the ones used to power nuclear submarines, dotted about all over the country. Where would Paterson put all these reactors? Since so many high security military bases where the reactors could have been stored safely, have been sold off, I’m not sure having loads of small nuclear power stations dotted about the country is such a good idea; terrorists may feel they are being encouraged to take advantage.
If I have read the article correctly, these nuclear reactors, or the heat from them, will be used to heat Combined Heat and Power systems…but heat can only travel short distances economically. So I guess Paterson is suggesting all these small nuclear reactors are placed within our large towns and cities. I’m not sure this has been entirely thought through.
Paterson then drops a real bombshell. We will have to get used to “demand management” where clever switches will turn off our freezers and other electrical stuff for a couple of hours a day. Demand management, from the arch neoliberal free marketeer? Really?
I am now wondering if someone has been masquerading as Paterson in some sort of satire. Perhaps it’s a friend of Banksy’s. Perhaps the whole thing is some sort of Banksy-esque performance art satire. We can but hope.
Of course we are only hearing the parts of the speech that Paterson and his denialist chums want us to hear at the moment. I expect when the speech has been made, and Nigel Farage et al are applauding him and beckoning him over into the UKIP camp, we will hear the parts of the speech that are more typical climate denial grandstanding we have come to expect from Paterson. We will hear that the fabled global warming pause is old enough to vote, etc etc.
With the Tory Party fraying at the seams in the run up to the election, having Paterson shooting from the lip stage right might annoy Cameron et al just enough for them to sack him, or start briefing against him.
There’s still time to do a Reckless Owen!
Photo from Wikimedia Commons (U.S. Defenseimagery.mil photo VIRIN: DN-SN-86-06573)