World leaders will be meeting in Sydney, Australia this week for the APEC conference, and oh look: a fence.
PM Howard is getting a head start on dismissing the protesters as violent, left-wing loonies who hate progress and have something against making money. Just to drive home the point, authorities have shut down much of Sydney’s business district to protect it from ‘property damage’, turning the area into a ghost town and thus completely screwing downtown business owners out of doing business.
Way to stand up for capitalism, Johnny!
One curious side note to the week’s discussions will be Canada and Australia’s potential inclusion in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (gee, there’s that ‘Partnership’ word again). Harper is, as usual, staying mute on whether or not Canada is going to be getting involved with this particular little club, but given how much he delights in joining things like this I suspect that the decision is already made.
I should point out that I personally approve of nuclear power - at least in principle. In practice there are still some serious disposal problems that need to be addressed, but when balanced against the safety and environmental issues with coal and gas, the maxing out of our hydro capacity (unless you want to flood more of northern Quebec), and the impracticality of large scale solar or wind generation, I still think nuclear is still our best bet.
ANYWAY… From what I've read so far, I have at least three problems with the GNEP:
1) It would force nations that produce uranium (like Canada and Australia) to "repatriate" it and dispose of it, even if it was exported to and used by another country (like, say, the U.S.). Like we don’t have enough problems disposing of our own nuclear waste, now we’d have to take out the Americans’ trash as well.
2) It is a thinly veiled attempt to divide the world into energy haves and have-nots, with developed nations establishing a monopoly on nuclear technology in the name of security:
"The group includes many of the main countries involved in the nuclear fuel cycle, including Russia, China and France. Its broader aim is to eventually secure the entire fuel cycle and confine production and reprocessing to the group, with smaller countries effectively leasing nuclear fuel from the partnership and returning waste to it for reprocessing."
3) It’s an American-led initiative. That can't be good.
Edit: Here's an even better shot of the fences in downtown Sydney. I like the convenient gates.