MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA (Markets and Money): The competition to supply and market alternate fuels has warmed up over the last twelve months. The debate over finding a sustainable long term replacement for fossil fuels has moved irreversibly from the loony fringe to the centre of attention. It wasn’t so long ago that the only people prepared to talk about alternative energy were a cavalcade of has-beens and never-beens.
From has-been rock stars to third rate television performers. From c-list movie stars to washed up politicians who were comfortable on their life time pension and no longer needed to care about getting elected.
Now even the oil loving United States President George W. Bush has begun to embrace – nearly – all that is green. Even during the past week he has been dodging placards and rotten eggs to meet with the Brazilian president about ethanol fuel for cars.
Who would have thought any of this likely even three years ago. Now, on the surface anyway, politicians worldwide are falling over themselves to display their green credentials. UK Conservative Party leader David Cameron cast aside his party’s sceptical hat a couple of years ago in order to ride a bike to the House of Commons. The intention was there, it was just a shame that he had a chauffeur to drive his “papers” to the Commons for him!
At home, the arch enemy of green politics John Howard brazenly hopped aboard the green express cheekily trying to infer that he has been in favour of alternative fuels all along and that was why he was releasing all these new policies.
Of course now, the problem is that they are all trying to outdo each other on greenness. “We’re more greenerer than you”, etc, etc. So it is tempting to think that rather than actually putting any real policies into action they are more likely to argue about whose idea is best for the next few years while not actually doing anything.
As for which is the best or which is the most promising of the new alternate sources of energy? Well, we’ll leave that to others. Unfortunately, physics and chemistry were not two of your correspondent’s strong points at school.
As we are on the subject of uranium, nuclear power would seem likely to be one of those solutions, if only it was not so uneconomical at the moment. In addition, out of all of the possible alternative fuels, it is without doubt the most controversial.
The recent hysteria over the non-construction of a nuclear power station was testament to that. It is worth remembering that nuclear power stations have been in operation around the world for years. The two countries that rely on nuclear power the most, Japan and France appear to have had little problem with them.
Yet even so, the length of time that it will take for nuclear energy to become mainstream in Australia means that at least one other additional source of new energy will need to be produced over the next few years if we are to avoid the devastation of a real energy crisis.
Markets and Money