A global perspective
We must put out worries about our electricity supply and climate change into context.
It is important to remember that, of the total UK carbon dioxide emissions, electricity generation is responsible for just 30%, and the fastest-growing source of emissions is transport, which does not rely upon electricity or gas, but upon oil.
The UK's national energy security is just one part of a global competition for ‘traditional’ sources of energy, including fossil fuels and nuclear fuel and technology, while our high energy use is causing global climate change.
There are two main approaches to deal with these problems.
If we prioritise UK National Energy Security and simply seek to monopolise traditional sources, we will jeopardise energy security in poorer nations and fail to address global climate change.
However, if we instead prioritise UK National Energy Sustainability, security ceases to be a real issue as we become self-sufficient and reduce our reliance on the global supply of fossil fuels.
The wrong choice is the nuclear option
We could follow the United States in pursuing ever greater individual consumption, and focusing on securing oil and uranium supplies around the world.
This choice might feel tough (powerful people making big decisions) but it is shortsighted and dangerous.
Filling a predicted ‘gap’ in our electricity supply temporarily with nuclear power would do nothing to reduce our overall energy demand in the radical ways needed, and nothing about transport emissions.
It would mean even greater links with US foreign policy to secure supplies from unstable regions, and centralised nuclear power also increases the risk of terrorism and accidents.
This choice is weak and risky. It relies on a global market we do not control and military superiority to guarantee our future.
Handing the problem over to the ‘big boys’ to deal with may feel comfortable, but a never-ending war on terrorism to secure energy supplies tied with consumer capitalism is not sustainable.
To protect out national security, we need to reduce our dependence on finite commodities and foreign resources.
We also need to commit to tranferring clean technology to developing countries and ensuring they can improve their quality of life without following us into dependence on fossil fuels.
The right choice is long-term energy sustainability
The right solution is to face up to global climate change, forget about temporary solutions promoted by big business, and address long-term issues today at every level of society.
Real energy security comes through using a diverse range of resources, managing demand and maximising energy efficiency.
Putting off implementing the right solutions would be easy. This is what choosing nuclear power would be: diverting money and attention from where it is really needed, putting off the big changes required to our home, work and travel choices. It is an attempt to buy time, dodging real solutions to climate change.
Doing what is right requires real leadership and a radical rethink to enact policies that actually work towards a sustainable future.
A National Energy Sustainability strategy would redefine the shape of our communities, provide new economic models, and affect our institutions and education, our jobs and leisure choices.
Tough decisions need radical governments
Just as radical ‘old’ Labour governments made real changes to improve society with the introduction of the NHS and the welfare state, radical Greens are needed in government now to make the changes that are necessary for sustainability.
In local government and in Europe, Greens are already proving that our policies are the right ones and that we have the courage to push radical changes through.
We have a clear choice: we can continue 'business-as-usual'; subsidising new nuclear power stations and pursuing foreign policies to secure dwindling global fossil fuel and nuclear resources overseas; or we can become self-reliant on green energy solutions.
Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter puts the choice well. "The future will be difficult. We must choose between doing what is comfortable and what is right."
We must choose national energy sustainability, building locally sustainable communities to ensure the UK controls its own destiny.
We can make this positive choice and lead the world in demonstrating that Green Energy Works.
More from the European Greens on why nuclear power can't save us from peak oil or climate change:
Reducing Europe's dependency on oil
Related areas of Green Party work:
Clean, green energy
Greening the economy
Reliable, inclusive transport
Peace, justice and security
War on terror