Thursday, August 9, 2012

MICHAEL Angwin wins a Nuclear Debate

The Debate

Rod Adams posted yesterday about a debate in Australia: Winning a debate in Sydney--We have seen the future and it's nuclear

It's an excellent debate, and here's a direct link to the debate, on ABC TV in Australia. It's part of a Big Ideas series of debates.  Below is a wonderful ten minute video clip of Ben Heard's introductory remarks on the debate, explaining why he changed from being opposed to nuclear energy to being very much in favor of it.

However, what really caught my attention on this debate was the name of one of the debaters.  Here's a quote from Rod's post:

"The (debate) host declared that Ben Heard, Michael Angwin, and Professor Daniela Stehlik had won a resounding victory on the question of the night and that the audience now agreed that the future of energy is nuclear."

Anybody notice the part of the sentence that caught my eye? (Emphasis added by blogger, to give you a clue...)

Michael Angwin

Angwin is not a common name, and I was amazed to see an Angwin as a pro-nuclear debater in Australia. I immediately contacted Barry Brook, who holds a Chair in Climate Change at the University of Adelaide and blogs at Brave New Climate.  Since both Brook and Angwin are in Australia, and I know Brook, I hoped for an email introduction to Michael. I received one.  (Thank you, Barry!) Michael Angwin and I have now introduced ourselves to each other.

Michael Angwin is Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Uranium Association.  Australia mines and exports uranium, but only burns coal domestically. Various groups are trying to move Australia away from coal-burning.  One such organization is  Decarbonize South Australia   Here's a four-minute clip of an interview with Michael Angwin, in which he speaks of the need to listen and reassure people, as well as share the facts.  I agree.


The Angwins

Every Angwin I have ever met can trace his or her roots back to the mining area of St. Just, Cornwall.  Michael Angwin and my husband George Angwin can certainly trace their roots to that area.  In George's case, his "roots in Cornwall" were his grandparents who emigrated to the United States.  Michael's ancestors left Cornwall about fifty years earlier than George's grandparents did.

As I have mentioned on occasion, George's father started his working life as a miner.  He was a coal miner near Scranton, PA. (He was holding other jobs by the time George was born.)  I am a coal miner's daughter-in-law,though  that phrase doesn't have the same ring to it as some other phrases.

It's unusual for me to encounter another Angwin, and completely astounding to encounter another Angwin who is an active pro-nuclear debater!

Conspiracy theories?

I wonder when our local nuclear opponents will claim there is an international conspiracy of Angwins to promote nuclear energy?  That this conspiracy started in Cornwall and now covers the world?  Well, they probably won't say this.  It would be funny if they did, though.

Post Script: A note about Ben Heard's video clip

In the video clip at the beginning of this post, Ben Heard describes how he moved from being anti-nuclear  to being pro-nuclear.  He calls his earlier attitude a"phobia."

In my opinion, it is younger people, such as Heard, who are more likely to make this transition. Younger people "get" climate change and fossil pollution, while older people have often moved from "ban the bomb" to "shut down the plants" and they aren't moving any further.

This is just my opinion, you understand.  However, I have noticed that Facebook tells me the ages of the followers of the Save Vermont Yankee Facebook Page, and the biggest age group of followers is 25 to 34.  Contrast this with the older women who constantly get arrested at Vermont Yankee.  Okay, this is limited evidence, for sure.  But I'm a blogger. I can occasionally share an overgeneralized opinion, or why have a blog?


Rod Adams said...

@Meredith - I am so happy to have helped you make a valuable connection.

One of the reasons I cringe at some of the rhetoric coming from the thorium and fast breeder reactor advocates is that they emphasize how their technology will make it unnecessary to mine uranium.

I ask them - so what is inherently bad about mining, especially uranium mining. Mining is an ancient endeavor, unlikely to be unnecessary in the future. Besides, it is the segment of the nuclear industry where making a fortune is most likely. We need a few nuclear fortunes in order to seed the capital pool that we must have to succeed in deploying our disruptive technology.

PS - I am happy that you have avoided the phobias that often afflict women of a certain age.

Meredith Angwin said...

Hi Rod

Thank you.

Some nuclear opponents like to emphasize their status in society as "women" or "mothers". I remember a NRC meeting where one woman walked slowly to the microphone and everyone waited. She was carrying her GRANDCHILD, and the child's mother was there and she could have easily left the child in the seat next to his mother. But she made a point that SHE was a loving grandmother. I see her as an exploitive woman.

That whole thing is a rhetorical device. They don't love their grandchildren any more than I love mine! These women do NOT speak for all women their age, but that is the impression they want to give.

By the way, my own seven-year-old granddaughter is visiting an old family friend in Maine, and she is taking sailing lessons up there. The friend said she wanted my granddaughter "Up here for a week and I will enroll her in sailing camp." I thought that would amuse you!