Citizen Action Monitor

A lot of senators think Obama is going to approve KXL, says Ralph Nader

Nader on climate change and impenetrable US Congress, and on need to phase out nuclear power as fast as possible

No 1006 Posted by fw, March 12, 2014

“…when you have very affluent people, like George Soros, Tom Steyer and Al Gore, who are really out front warning about climate change, when you have them, they’ve got to come and build a very powerful external lobby on Congress, where you have a hundred professional scientists, lawyers, organizers, public relations specialists descend on Congress every day in every member’s office, in the corridors, in the cafeterias, building a concern here. And if that doesn’t occur, it doesn’t matter how many demonstrations around the country are going to occur. There may be a few bits of progress here and there in state capitols, but the main blockage is Congress, which is in a bubble. It’s in a deadlock now.”Ralph Nader

In a 14-minute segment on today’s Democracy Now, Ralph Nader, long-time consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate, responds to questions on three key issues: 1) The Senate’s marathon filibuster to promote climate action and attendant failure to challenge President Obama on the Keystone XL; 2) new disclosures revealing U.S. regulators hid concerns and uncertainty around the safety of U.S. nuclear plants in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis three years ago this week; and 3) why he believes President Obama’s call for a $10.10 federal minimum wage falls well short of what workers deserve. Nader is author of the forthcoming book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.

The full 14-minute interview, including transcript, is accessible by clicking on the linked title below.

Alternatively, below is an embedded version of the full video along with a transcript of selected passages from the interview, focusing on Nader’s thoughts on two key issues: climate change and an impenetrable Congress, and the nuclear energy debate.

Nader on Senate’s Climate Stance, “Insanity” of U.S. Nukes, & Why Obama’s Min. Wage Hike Falls Short, Ralph Nader interview, Democracy Now, March 12, 2014

ABRIDGED TRANSCRIPT

Nader On Climate Change, Congress, and KXL

“Unless we can break through on Congress, very little is going to happen…”

They [28 Senate Democrats] went all night, led by Harry Reid and Senator Ed Markey in the U.S. Senate, making statements about the documentation for climate change, often called global warming, and the need for congressional action. But it’s got to go way beyond that. The Congress has been an immobile bubble in this whole swelling concern around the country, involving demonstrations and picketing and some lawsuits, but it hasn’t permeated Congress. And unless we can break through on Congress, very little is going to happen for a national conversion from fossil fuels and nuclear over into renewables and energy efficiency.

We’re going to have hundreds of specialists descend on Congress “every day, in every member’s office, in the corridors, in the cafeterias,” building a concern about climate change

And the second point is this, that when you have very affluent people, like George Soros, Tom Steyer and Al Gore, who are really out front warning about climate change, when you have them, they’ve got to come and build a very powerful external lobby on Congress, where you have a hundred professional scientists, lawyers, organizers, public relations specialists descend on Congress every day in every member’s office, in the corridors, in the cafeterias, building a concern here. And we’re going to ask some of these affluent environmentalists to ante up and start a brand new group, so that Congress is literally as overwhelmed by people on this issue as they have been overwhelmed by the drug industry or the real estate industry or the oil industry.

“…if that doesn’t occur, it doesn’t matter how many demonstrations around the country are going to occur….the main blockage is Congress”

And if that doesn’t occur, it doesn’t matter how many demonstrations around the country are going to occur. There may be a few bits of progress here and there in state capitols, but the main blockage is Congress, which is in a bubble. It’s in a deadlock now.

“…a lot of these senators think that President Obama is going to approve it [KXL]”

And I think the other read is that a lot of these senators think that President Obama is going to approve it. You know, half of the pipeline is already built in the southern sector. They’ve got the pipe, you know, piled up, ready to go. And it doesn’t look good for turning that pipeline down. But you never know what can happen.

Nader On Nuclear Power

“We have to phase out nuclear power as fast as possible”

Unfortunately, there have been very few lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster, which has led to an uninhabitable region in Japan, over a quarter of a million people homeless or refugees, and still more tonnage of radioactive water pouring into the Pacific and even being seen on the West Coast in our country, in terms of detection. So, we have to phase out nuclear power as fast as possible, because many of the reactors are just like the Fukushima reactor designs, by the way, and they are near earthquake faults. Now, the Indian Point reactors, two of them, they’re aging. They’re 30 miles north of Manhattan. So, it’s not evacuable in case of an accident. I mean, New York City has trouble evacuating at rush hour time. So the condemnation of nuclear power is: It is uneconomic, it is unnecessary, it is uninsurable, it is unevacuable, and it is unnecessary. And the sooner we phase it out, the sooner we avoid the risk of rendering hundreds of square miles in our country radioactively uninhabitable.

It’s not worth the risk in order just to boil water. That’s what the nuclear plants are all built for. The whole risky nuclear fuel cycle, from the uranium mines and uranium [tailings] and spent fuel rods and radioactive waste and the security problems around nuclear power, it’s all designed just to boil water, to produce steam. What are our descendants going to think of us if we don’t move our energy technologies over to the best fusion reactor we’ll ever have, which is the sun, in its various manifestations—photovoltaics, thermal heat, wind power, etc., plus enormous advances in efficiency? As the Ayres brothers have pointed in one of their recent books, we are on a policy that can be called technological insanity. The first priority is to shut down those aging nuclear plants in our country that are near mass population centers. Already nuclear power cannot compete with natural gas. It requires 100 percent government loan guarantees. Some plants have been shut down, like San Onofre in California. Others are being mothballed. The industry is in decline, regardless of its propaganda—

Obama’s energy policy is cowardly, wedded to “all of the above”

[Obama’s] energy policy, number one, is cowardly. He’s wedded to this “all of the above”—you know, coal, nuclear, solar, conservation, oil, gas. Not all energy systems are the same, as we all know. They have different consequences, different prices, different disrespect or respect for posterity…Barack Obama is stuck with this “all of the above.” He’s got to get out of it, if he believes in the national security of the United States. Nuclear power and nuclear power hazards and risks, spent fuel rods and pools around these plants, and just the very risk itself, in case of an earthquake or other disaster, is a major national security peril—a major national security peril—and Barack Obama has got to face up to it.

Obama is surrounded by hypocritical Republicans, who say they believe in the free enterprise system, while supporting a 100 percent taxpayer-guaranteed technology in building these nuclear plants

The second is that he is surrounded not only by the nuclear industry, by the hypocritical Republicans in Congress, who say they believe in the free enterprise system, and they’re basically supporting a 100 percent taxpayer-guaranteed technology in building these nuclear plants in Georgia and elsewhere, which will take years, if ever, before they—before they open.

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2014 by in climate change, information counterpower and tagged , , , .
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