JOURNALIST: What do you make of the Nielsen poll results today on climate change?
PRIME MINISTER: I found the Nielsen poll results quite unsurprising, quite unsurprising. Of course people would say at the present time in the wake of all the publicity given to the Stern Report that more needs to be done – it’s a natural response to that sort of question. I didn’t find that surprising.
I didn’t find the 50 per cent who thought solar was the answer surprising either because solar is a nice, easy, soft answer. There’s this vague idea in the community that solar doesn’t cost anything and it can solve the problem, it can’t, it can’t replace base load power generation by power stations. It’s a good idea to make a contribution at the margin, but in the end, if you look years ahead, there are only two ways of generating the electricity that this nation needs – either through the current methods of fossil fuel use or a combination of that in a cleaner form with nuclear power. Solar, wind, all these other things can make a contribution at the margin but unless you want to have a windmill every few hundred feet starting at South Head and going down to Malabar – and I can imagine the residents of Sydney wanting that – you simply won’t be able to generate enough power from something like wind in order to take the load off the power that is generated by the use of coal and gas and in time, I believe, nuclear. Now this is going to be a long debate but I’m going to continue to argue reason. I can’t have a policy on something like this dictated by an opinion poll. I read what people say, I understand it, I’m sympathetic, but in the end I’ve got to call it as it is and calling it as it is means that I have to say that solar and wind will not replace conventional power stations.
That's it then. We're getting nukes and 'clean coal' (if it can ever be made to work). Howard has clearly closed his mind to renewables. They cannot and will never work. He knows this, he's just being practical.
I wonder. If Neilsen ran a poll asking people whether they'd prefer windmills or nukes in their backyard, what would the result be?