Renfrey Clarke

If you’ve sat in front a TV in the past few weeks, you’ll have seen the message: Australians need to get “climate clever” just like the Howard government, which, we’re told, is encouraging and funding new, environmentally friendly technologies such as “clean coal”. In fact, we’re led to believe, the government has put some $3.5 billion in recent years into new methods for combatting climate change.

With support from the South Australian Labor government and the federal ALP, pilot work is starting on the desalination plant that is to supply fresh water for BHP Billiton’s planned expansion of its copper-gold-uranium mine at Olympic Dam.

Late February three wealthy business leaders with close Liberal Party connections — Robert de Crespigny, Ron Walker and Hugh Morgan — announced the formation of Australian Nuclear Energy to develop nuclear power generation. Prime Minister John Howard praised the initiative as “a great idea”.

The federal government’s Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review, released on November 21, had only one real purpose — to provide John Howard with “evidence” for championing the nuclear power cycle.
What other conclusion can we come to, when the review made its assessments while ignoring Australia’s most spectacular renewable energy resource — the “hot dry rock” geothermal energy of the Cooper Basin and other regions.

In the final years of perestroika, when there was little in Soviet shops except bare shelves and bored salespeople, Russians could still comfort themselves: at least you could always get bread. In four or five varieties, at prices so low they are almost painful to remember: about 25 kopecks (at the time, a few US cents) for a half-kilo loaf.

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