Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Britain Prepares to Meet the Energy Challenge

International Herald Tribune has an article on Britain's white paper: Britain sets out plans to secure energy and fight warming. The British Government has done a good job studying and writing up their position, in order to inform their populace and encourage a better debate. So, why doesn't the article give the reader the link to the white paper itself? What is wrong with the people at Reuters?

As the government points out, conservation is a big idea -- some kinds work, some kinds don't. Overall, everyone would like to see their economies produce more wealth per energy expended.... Most folks would also like to see more wealth, too, so it's a horserace to see whether energy consumption goes up or down. If energy is coming from hydrocarbons, it's uncertain whether CO2 production will go up or down. (This kind of race can go the wrong way: Russia has seen it's CO2 production go down since the end of the Soviet Union, which is due to factories shutting down and overall economic slowdown, rather than increased efficiency.)

Nuclear is a well understood way to make a lot of low-carbon energy. If you build enough nuke plants, you can ensure that in any reasonable scenario, you can drive carbon emissions down, even if there is a boom.

Here is the British Government's Energy Review.

Here is the press release on the white paper.

Here is their nuclear energy paper, published as an addendum to their main paper. This is a logical structure for their presentation: the main paper deals with all the approaches to energy security and global warming, and the addendum deals with one of those approaches.