Thursday, July 09, 2009

Life’s Little Ironies

flag A British wind utility, Ecotricity, and French nuclear company EDF are fighting for the rights to a “green” union jack to use at the 2012 London Olympics – EDF is the “sustainability partner” for the Olympics, so that’s pretty green all the way around. (EDF is the majority stakeholder in British Energy, hence their interest in this.) On the Wind Energy Planning Web site, the news story about the squabble concludes:

EDF have submitted a trademark application for their green union jack - however Ecotricity is retaliating by taking the company to the high court. EDF energy are 85% owned by the French State. They are the worlds third largest producer of nuclear waste.

It’s all a matter of perspective, we guess. We reckon we would support EDF if we had much feeling for the set-to, but let’s be generous – and disinterested – and wish it and Ecotricity equal luck. Either way, we’ll see a lot of green Union Jacks.

---

We, of course, have no beef with anyone who believes the Earth began on this day or that – it began for each of us on the day we were born, after all – but there’s still so much irony to unpack in this story, it’s a little daunting:

During the hearing, [Arizona] State Senator Sylvia Allen (R), the vice chairman of the committee, argued in favor of mining by saying that the earth “has been here 6,000 years, long before anybody had environmental laws, and somehow it hasn’t been done away with.” “We need to get the uranium here in Arizona, so this state can get the money from it,” argued Allen.

We’re on Senator Allen’s side as far as uranium mining is concerned – she also mentions, correctly, that it isn’t very environmentally impactful – but we find the juxtaposition of uranium and a young Earth very strange.

---

Well, okay:

The U.S. would cancel a nuclear energy agreement with the United Arab Emirates if the Middle East nation were to violate any terms of the deal, an Obama administration official said Wednesday.

Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, sought to convince lawmakers that the pact is designed to keep sensitive technology from flowing to Iran or allowing the UAE to develop atomic weapons.

File it under a promise to do what you promise to do and that about gets it. (The U.S.-UAE agreement allows nuclear technologies to flow between the two countries, though in practice, toward the UAE. The Obama administration has signed the treaty and passed it overt to Congress, which can ignore it – meaning the terms will take effect after some days – or reject it. Congress does not need to affirm it.) UAE’s ports have been used as weigh-stations for nefarious Iranian shipments, though that ended some time ago. That’s why this confirmation of the affirmation.

The green Union Jack (Ecotricity’s version). We’re not sure it’s even legal to attempt a green stars-and-stripes for a commercial purpose.

3 comments:

donb said...

The Wind Energy Planning Web site stated:
... EDF energy are 85% owned by the French State. They are the worlds third largest producer of nuclear waste.

Or looking at it positively, EDF is the world's third largest producer of start-up charges for advanced reactors (e.g., the LFTR).

Robert Synnott said...

Oh, dear. 6000 years? People are using that sort of nonsense in actual politics now?

"The green Union Jack (Ecotricity’s version). We’re not sure it’s even legal to attempt a green stars-and-stripes for a commercial purpose." - Really? Modified US flags are pretty common on commercial products.

Anonymous said...

France closed its very last coal mine in 2004. That's a much larger positive environmental impact than any negative from the tiny volume of high level waste now stored at their LaHague reprocessing facility.