(Continued from Part 1, published here yesterday)
“Having discarded the false hope of renewables, what can give us the energy we need, the energy to power our factories, warm our homes, grow our food while being cautious about the demon carbon? In the long term it must be nuclear. I have this week awarded a contract to a Rolls Royce-led consortium to develop three small modular reactors of 440 megawatt power. These will be factory built, then assembled on sites previously assigned to the impossibly expensive and almost impossible to build European reactors. Once the designs are optimised we will order SMRs in batches of twelve, with half of them earmarked for export to nations which are energy poor. Much of Sub-Saharan Africa will qualify for this aid which instead of vanishing into corrupt bank accounts will actually improve the lot of the poorest in those nations.
I have cancelled all work on EPR reactors in the United Kingdom. They are poorly designed and they are not needed.
A responsible administration, and mine is a responsible administration, must be prepared for all contingencies. While no-one can trust the pseudoscientific crystal balls which have so panicked the world (and climate science is, Madame Chair, if you will excuse the expression, a load of crystal balls <leers at camera>) we must proceed with caution. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. New technology needs time to settle down, and even though our nuclear-powered submarines have operated for decades with no problems we must allow for delays in civilianising the technology. We need reliable cheap energy now, not in ten years. Fortunately the answer lies beneath our feet – there are trillions of cubic metres of natural gas in the Scottish Midland shale, literally down there <points down>, trillions more in the Bowland Shale in Lancashire, trillions more in the rest of the UK.
There has been opposition to fracking for gas, some from locals but mainly from outsiders, from the ideological crusties who wish to keep us in fuel poverty. I cannot address the concerns of the latter, any more than I can persuade them to have a bath, but as to the former I have today mandated compensation for those affected by fracking. Any damage caused by earth tremors – we do not expect any but we wish to reassure worried residents – will be compensated at three times the cost of repair. Furthermore, all houses within five miles of a fracking site will receive ten years’ supply of gas for space heating, cooking etc or an equivalent cash payment.
We then move on to another climate concern, one that really exists: pollution of the air of our cities, pollution in the lungs of Her Majesty’s subjects. A rolling programme to convert HGVs and buses, diesel trains etc to compressed natural gas fuel will begin on the 1st of January next year. This will cut CO2 emissions from those sources by half, while reducing NOX and particulate pollution almost to zero. The lithium mining children of Africa will thank us for not going the electric route until our SMRs come on stream and better battery technology is developed. From 2025 all new diesel vehicles in the UK will use the Adblue system. And while on the subject of cars, we will, within a year, ban the use of food-derived alcohol in petrol and diesel. Burning food is immoral.
As a bridge fuel, natural gas is a natural. It is clean, low carbon and good for our balance of payments. There are those who would leave this resource in the ground, but then, Madame Chair, there are those who would send us back to the stone age in pursuit of their demented dreams. Not on my watch, Madame Chair, and not on the watch of any administration I command.
Finally, we will address the failures of climate “science” <sketches quotation marks in the air>. I have established a think tank peopled by outsiders from the climate debate, people with different ideas about why the world is warming and whether that is a matter for concern. For too long those with an agenda have acted as gatekeepers to publication in this subject. No longer.
There is our roadmap to the future. The UK will travel that road alone if necessary, but we will welcome any companions who understand that low carbon, high energy, low cost, win, win and win again is our destination. I urge the world to follow us into a brighter future.
Madame Chair, you will excuse me if I stop there and if I decline to attend the rest of this talking shop. Like all its predecessors it will fail to come to any useful conclusion and some of us have a country to run.
<shuffles papers, grins at the cameras, waves and goes back to work, leaving the boondogglers to rant and weep.>
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