While I was in Australia on holiday (I flew rather than walked there) recently and watched a rather interesting panel discussion on one of their public tv channels (ABC or SBS - can’t remember which).
The topic was pretty much along the lines of this thread but focusing on what Australia could/should do. The debate covered the usual solar/wind/hydro good, coal/gas bad narrative, but discounted hydro because so much of the continent is a desert beset by multi-year droughts.
Apart from the fact that the best solar conditions occur where no one wants to live the discussion then centred on how to provide a ‘base load’ capability for when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun not shining. Currently that (and more) is achieved by burning coal, but then nuclear energy was raised as an option. Australia has some of the largest deposits of nuclear fuel in the world, it is seismically stable and has massive areas of low population density (both for the nimby factor and the storage of spent fuel). Some of the panelists pointed out that this could be done now with a view to moving from fission to fusion reactors in the future. The environmentalists on the panel were horrified, it was like Nuclear was one of the other “N” words no one is allowed to use. And therein lies the problem, if AGW is the existential threat as portrayed, then surely things like nuclear energy, with the potential of fusion in the near future, should be pursued with vigour and haste.