Will Greens voters get tired of being given only part of the story?
One of the favourite games in political commentary is pointing out an opponent’s inconsistencies. While serving as a check on honesty and integrity, most often it’s not much more than momentary entertainment or aggravation, with no lasting consequence.
But sometimes an inconsistency can have substantial long term consequences. So when it shows up, it’s not a game anymore, and the spotlight has to be shone upon it.
In 2016, the leader of the Australian Greens at the time, Christine Milne, moved a motion related to action on climate change, specifically congratulating President Barack Obama for his greenhouse gas reduction Executive Order the previous week — in part:
I move that the Senate congratulates the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama for the Executive Order requiring the reduction of greenhouse gas pollution by 40 per cent below 2008 levels in 2025 from activities directly undertaken by the Federal Government.
Milne neglected to make it clear if (while pointedly invoking the US’s popular and progressive leader) this commendation extended to the potential for “utilizing energy from new small modular nuclear reactor technologies”:
The populous Canadian province of Ontario consumed its last kilowatt hour of coal-fired electricity in 2013. Greens senator Lee Rhiannon was rightly pleased about this:
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) from New York is a beacon of progressive politics and climate action awareness in the US, and became the face of the Green New Deal leading up to the Democratic presidential primary race. Back in Australia, Greens member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, was nothing but delighted to be labelled “the AOC of Australia” by right-wing anon twitter.
This truly progressive attitude to modern nuclear energy should definitely go on his next leaflets.
As time goes on, examples of this deep inconsistency, centred on climate and energy, will only become more numerous, and without a truly honest reconsideration, more cognitively dissonant for the leaders of the Australian Greens, while riskier for us all.
Although the IPCC didn’t exactly say that*, as long as we’re invoking the United Nations body responsible for assessing climate change science and advising governments on climate action, it did say nuclear energy absolutely plays a role in this urgent effort to stave off the worst impacts.
But we’re going to need a lot more consistency before we can really start making progress.
So you can sign Mr Shoebridge’s petition, or you can start demanding he and other Greens leaders drag their thinking into line with the exemplars they invoke and stop trying to frighten everyone with myths and malinformed assumptions, because we actually need them to be real leaders in this monumental effort.
(* The unimpeachable and always-consistent Robert Wilson said it most concisely:
Oscar Archer holds a PhD in chemistry and has been analysing energy issues for over 14 years, focusing on nuclear technology for five, with a background in manufacturing and QA. He helps out at Adelaide-based Bright New World as Senior Advisor (we want your support!)and writes for The Fourth Generation. Find him @OskaArcher on Twitter.