As soon as the sale of uranium by Australia to India was subject to criticism the other day the nuclear boosters swung into action to praise the decision as helping India to a low carbon future.
Try to criticise that then you hippy greeny new world order gauleiters, see how far you get.
It’s a variant on the Lomborg gambit – how dare you try to fix the climate as long as one child goes hungry in Bangladesh or Tuvalu. Which is in turn a variant on the “eat up all your peas there are starving children in China who would fall upon your plate like ravening wolves” approach of my grandmother to encouraging eating your vegetables.
Or, perhaps an even closer analogy, Lomborg is the Gerald Ford of economics, unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. But I digress.
It all seems very altruistic, this desire to give every Indian an airconditioner and let them cool the world. Thank goodness for these good people you say to yourself; cometh the hour cometh the nuclear spruiker.
But then it occurs to you that you never used to hear anything from these people about the way the cavalry in radiation suits was riding to the rescue of a warming planet. Indeed, although it is, just, possible I am maligning them, the people telling us to eat our radioactive omega4 are the kind of people you would find in a country pub, or city tv station, explaining carefully that CO2 was good for you and that the warming stopped in 1998.
So pardon my suspicious mind. I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist but I have a sneaking suspicion there is something nasty in the wood shed. For the last ten years or more the fossil fuel industry has been funding a massive disinformation campaign, and lobbying, and buying politicians, and misleading unions, and propagandising against renewable energy, and setting up astroturf groups, in order to prevent action to reduce CO2 output and therefore their massive profits.
OK, clear, obvious, no doubt about what was going on. Cui Bono (cherchez la femme in French) guides you every time. Coal and oil and gas producers going in hobnailed boots and all, nuclear industry sitting on sidelines, nothing to gain by taking part.
Except, except, I now wonder if they have been beavering away in the background helping their non-renewable cousins make hay while the media sun shines. After all, the longer any action can be delayed (and the Durban talks are now talking about talking about stuff in 2015, another 5 years lost), the more the nuclear industry can present itself as the rich uncle to the rescue. The only hope of saving the planet.
Ten years ago they were dead in the water of the cooling ponds. Nobody wanted a bar of them. Now, even in spite of Fukushima (!), they are again clamouring for a seat at the head of the energy table. Quick, quick, too late for anything else, only nuclear, that clean green energy, can save us now.
Call me cynical, suspicious, if you like, but I smell a radioactive rat. Cold comfort.