Cognitive dissonance about climate change continues to amaze me. According to an article published on IOL.co.sa titled Cape must reduce power use by 2010 Cape Town, South Africa has passed a municipal ordinance demanding that businesses reduce their energy consumption by 10% by the year 2010 – that is just 3 years away.
Though the city is growing and developing, with residents that have long had little access to energy, the city leaders have determined that reducing energy use is the only way for Cape Town to contribute to action against climate change. According to the published strategy, the availability of cheap electricity produced by burning coal has hampered the development of alternative energy sources like wind and solar, which it claims are readily available to the city. (There is no city in the world where solar or wind energy provides more than a minor percentage of the power consumed; it does not matter how expensive the local electrical power is.)
Interestingly enough, the article’s only mention of nuclear is a comment that the city had appealed against the 2003 approval of the PBMR environmental impact assessment. Apparently, the city did not like the assessment because they thought it did not address the long term costs of storing used nuclear fuel on site and it thought that too much of the cost of emergency planning fell to the city.
As I understand it, the PBMR (and other small pebble bed reactors) will have a planning zone so small that it would not affect the city since the reactor is constructed of materials that cannot get hot enough to be damaged.
Go figure. The city leaders feel so strongly about emissions that they will demand a 10% energy reduction in a city whose economy should grow to supply new residents and new prosperity, but they fight against a safe, emission free, locally developed power source that might provide billions of dollars worth of jobs and export revenues.