Green stand similar but different

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Interesting to read the letter (June 15) from Leslie Goode, who appears to concludes that the views expressed by Greenpeace should influence his decision on how to vote. Of course he did not specifically mention the Green Party, but he did mention that his electoral priorities should give him much in common with Greens. However, Greenpeace and the Green Party are entirely separate entities. Greenpeace is an environmental campaigning organisation not a political party, while the Green Party is a political party with a full range of policies including some on social inequality, one of Leslie Goode’s priorities.

Let’s be honest, though.The Green Party does share many of Greenpeace’s views on nuclear energy. But are they reckless views? I would strongly argue otherwise. After all there is a lot more to this argument than just the differing CO2 emissions of different energy sources, important though that measure is.

The Green Party supports renewable energy sources. You couldn’t call nuclear renewable because, like coal and oil, it is using a finite source of energy – uranium – which will run out in due course. The Green Party supports sustainable energy. In the uncertain future we face – environmental, but also financial, sustainability is likely to be best served by a wide variety of small scale, localised energy supplies.

The Green Party supports safe energy. Recent events in Japan have given a number of countries pause for thought as to whether it is safe to carry on constructing or even using nuclear power stations when something going wrong can prove so catastrophic. Perhaps more importantly the waste from nuclear power stations will present a health danger to future generations way beyond our own grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We have yet to find an acceptable and safe way of storing this waste and, even if we had, how could we be sure that some future civilisation would know to steer well clear if it found this time bomb on its patch.

The Green Party also advocates reducing our use of energy, whether by mass programmes of house insulation and energy efficiency in industry, by demanding far higher standards of energy efficiency from manufacturers of everything from cars to televisions or by enabling consumers to have a much clearer idea of how much energy they are using. It might be argued that the owners of nuclear power stations have a vested interest in us all continuing to use as much of their energy as possible.

And what about the financial wealth that is being diverted away from developing local and renewable sources of energy into the huge subsidies required to make nuclear power stations viable enough to generate sufficient profit for the huge multi-nationals involved in building them. Yet another example of the 1 percent benefiting at the expense of the 99 percent.

Wouldn’t we all prefer to see more investment in more of the community solar arrays being developed by Ovesco locally, in more research into ways of using the tidal flows of our River Ouse to make safe green energy, in helping households save energy as well as making their own energy? With the long lead-in times and high cost of nuclear, investing the same amount in renewables and energy efficiency would make a bigger difference in a shorter time and even create more jobs.

Nuclear energy then – expensive, dirty, dangerous, non renewable, non-sustainable, undemocratic even. How then, Mr Goode, can Greenpeace or the Green Party – two separate entities – possibly be regarded as reckless in opposing it? The reckless thing, as far as I can see, is to carry on building nuclear stations knowing all of the risks involved.

Susan Murray, Co-chair Lewes Green Party