On August 13, 2011, I braved the 13.5 hour time difference between Adelaide, South Australia and Lynchburg, VA to record an interview with Ben Heard, the force behind Decarbonise SA and Dr. Barry Brook, the well respected climate scientist who blogs at Brave New Climate.
Aside: I used the phrase “braved the time difference” because the best time for Ben and Barry was 5:00 pm their time. I will leave the math to the readers to figure out what time that meant I had to be up and ready to record. That is okay – I am willing to make some sacrifices in order to contribute to the battle to save the world from both energy scarcity and the negative environmental effects of massive fossil fuel waste dumping. End Aside.
We talked about Ben’s journey from an inherited dislike of nuclear energy to his realization that his friends in the established “environmental” community were totally out to lunch (my words, not his) when it came to effective action against global climate change.
We also discussed a bit about the history of the antinuclear movement within Australia and how it was partially funded and motivated by the railroad unions who get a great deal of work from the effort to extract and export massive quantities of coal from Australian mines. Ben even mentioned this advertisement from the coal miners that clearly states why they are opposed to the development of nuclear energy.
I tried to explain how the real political power behind the antinuclear movement came not from workers concerned about middle class jobs that leave little spare change for political action, but from the mine and well owners who have successfully figured out how to concentrate vast sums of money in their own pockets by selling useful hydrocarbons.
The profitability of the hydrocarbon fuels enterprise is enhanced by all efforts that restrict overall energy supply; when demand exceeds immediately accessible fuel supply, the selling price of fuel skyrockets without any change in the real cost of extraction. That is the way that the law of supply and demand works. Anyone who has ever sold anything will tell you – it is far better to sell at a high price than at a low price if the number of items that you are capable of producing is limited anyway.