Federal Politics


Nuclear retreat will only increase carbon emissions

As Paddy Regan points out (''Time to stop fearing the atom'', Times2, June 4, pp4-5) there is a widespread and irrational fear of nuclear power.

Germany is winding down its nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima, which killed no-one, and will release an extra 300 million tonnes of CO2 this decade, because the shortfall is largely being made up by fossil fuels.

In Japan, before Fukushima, fossil fuels supplied 64 per cent of power generation; now, with all reactors shut down, fossil fuel use has risen to 90 per cent.

The new generation of nuclear plants are much safer and can use existing nuclear waste as their fuel source.

There is a role for renewables such as solar and wind in decarbonising the power system, but most serious analysis shows that there is little chance of them taking on the whole task in the next few decades.

The conclusion that nuclear power is an unavoidable part of solving the climate crisis is shared by leading climate scientists and significant figures in the climate community. The blanket rejection of nuclear power by green groups is a deeply irresponsible position that seriously impedes our ability to contain the climate crisis.


Matt Andrews, Aranda

Climate folly

Sometime next year, Peter Rusbridge (Letters, 6 June) will be able to exercise, if not exorcise, his claimed offence at the government's carbon pricing policy.

He will no doubt reflect on the fact that the carbon price is actually the initial three-year fixed-price phase of an emissions trading scheme that was crafted by the ALP, Greens and independents working cooperatively together, when the Coalition chose to avoid being tainted by taking responsibility for being part of the solution. He will also note that it is an approach broadly supported by the majority of climate scientists and economists, and advocated by the OECD.

Finally, he will recognise that the Coalition still retains the same 5 per cent emissions reduction target to 2020, but plan to work towards it using inefficient and ineffective systems of bribing polluters to take action that is in their own best long-term interests anyway. This will, of course, only be delivered by ripping huge holes in the levels of service provided to ordinary Australians. Nonetheless, he will have the opportunity to punish a promise broken, in unanticipated circumstances and in pursuit of a mandated goal, by rewarding a raft of irresponsible misrepresentation, scare-mongering and economic foolishness.

Felix MacNeill, Dickson

Land sales profit

The report of the Land Development Agency's $210 million drop in land sales in 2011-12 (''Territory land sales in $210 nosedive'', June 8, p1) might give the impression that the government won't get much from land sales in 2011-12. However, the ''fine print'' of LDA reports and budget papers indicates that the ACT government still does very well indeed out of land sales.

For example, despite the $210 million downturn in sales, a pre-tax profit of around $200,000 is forecast for the LDA in 2011-12, the whole of which (including the so-called ''tax''on that profit) is payable to the ACT government. In arriving at its profit, the LDA (naturally) deducts from its sales revenue the cost of land sold - and the major part of that cost, if not the whole, would be what the LDA pays the government for the land it sells.

On my calculation, that would be around $310 million in 2011-12, even with the drastic drop in land sales this year. So, overall, the Government will get more than $500 million from land sales in 2011-12.

Perhaps the government could help reduce the price of housing in the ACT by foregoing some of that.

R. S. Gilbert, Braddon