Ben Heard, is the founder of Bright New World, an Australian NGO that is “committed to a vision where modern societies thrive on abundant, clean energy.” In this episode, Robert talks to Heard (who appears in Juice: How Electricity Explains the World) about the obstacles to building nuclear reactors Down Under, his visits to Fukushima, the challenges facing Australia’s electric grid, and why his parents are his heroes.

Episode Transcript

Robert Bryce  0:04  

Hi, and welcome to the power hungry podcast. I’m the host Robert Bryce. On this podcast we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And my guest today is a longtime friend of mine. Ben heard the founder of bright new world and he is coming to us from Adelaide, South Australia. Ben, welcome to the podcast.

Ben Heard  0:24  

Thanks so much for having me, Robert. I’m a big fan of these podcasts. I’ve listened to several and I’m really flattered by the invitation looking forward to the chat.

Robert Bryce  0:31  

Sure. So Ben, as you know, then if you’ve listened to the podcast, I have guests introduce themselves. Now I’ve given your brief introduction here. You can, if you don’t mind, then give us a quick 3045 second intro to who you are.

Ben Heard  0:46  

Right, I’d love to. So my name is Ben hood. And I’m the founder and currently the chairperson of an environmental NGO in Australia called, brought new world based and founded in Australia, but certainly with a global focus, taking a strong, eco modernist perspective on the challenges we face and certainly a strong position on the need for nuclear technologies in that solution, space. By day, I work for an engineering company. So I work in a systems engineering and technology company, where we do a range of work across a range of areas. And by night, I work for bright new world and work on achieving those positive changes that we need in the world. That’s all been a long journey from once upon a time being quite opposed to nuclear technologies. And sort of discovering and getting under the skin of that issue has been a really positive thing for me, in terms of what I now know, we can achieve in the world around us. So yeah, it’s a real pleasure to be here to talk more about those things today.

Robert Bryce  1:42  

Great. So you founded bright new world five years ago, right? 2006 times

Unknown Speaker  1:47  

about right.

Robert Bryce  1:49  

And your you founded it, you’ve been pushing this for a while? Why bright new world? What What is it about your environmental group that makes it different from I mean, there aren’t a lot of pro nuclear environmental groups. So why did you need to found it? And why is it different?

Ben Heard  2:06  

Yeah, good question. We, well, I guess I in particular, was finding in Australia that I had, I had come some way on this issue as an individual. So in about 2000 2011. In fact, it’s coming up to 10 years on the day, in a few weeks, I first spoke about my own position, my own point of view about about changing my mind about the importance of nuclear technologies. And from there, I had several years, several very productive years. Blogging with a really quite well read blog, called decarbonize South Australia decarbonize sa building my own profile and making some inroads on the debate. We then had a process in South Australia, which was the nuclear fuel cycle Royal Commission, which looked at the potential to do a lot in the nuclear fuel cycle, including potentially becoming a multinational repository for use nuclear fuel, which I was very excited about and doing some academic work on. And, to our dismay, we saw that process got really, really badly gamed by some organizations that got a seat at the table. And so around about that time, that sort of coincides with that five year mark, I really realized that this needs to be a lot bigger than me, this can’t be a one person effort. This needs a constituency. This needs a formal voice with structure and presence and credibility to become more of a participant in those processes. So that was really the big driver in founding that was that there was a gap and it needed to be filled. Why is it different? I think we’ve done one of the best jobs, of articulating that. While we don’t shy away from just how grave the challenges we’re facing, are, we choose to embrace that there is a potentially fantastic future out there for us if we get these things, right. So it’s a it’s a question of focus and a question of message, you know, hence, hence the name bright new world were unashamed about looking hard at the challenges in these issues. But at the same time, you know, we think hope, positivity, really good stories about the way good change is happening, generally delivers and motivates more coordinated, a better action towards a better world, as opposed to what I was brought up on in the environmental space, which was a really strongly negative focus on on everything that’s going wrong, and everything we need to stop doing. Now, there’s still a big role for that. But gene, we need to start doing the right things and doing them more and more in in a more coordinated way. And I’ll attribute this to Alex Trenberth comment that we both know that we need to approach these things with a controlled sense of urgency and I think we’re a lot more likely to get That controlled sense of urgency from a very what is at its at its core, a very positive viewpoint about where we can go and why we are doing this, as opposed to an emergency footing, which I think whenever people discuss emergency, the catastrophist

Robert Bryce  5:16  


Ben Heard  5:18  

Yeah, that’s right. I think that that is destined to be pretty unhelpful. Ultimately. And I’ll give you a fairly direct example around about this time last year, a really big swathe of Australia was was badly on fire. And, you know, take notwithstanding Australia is a continent and it’s difficult to compare year on year because fires vary in the climate zones vary. in the southeast of Australia. This was absolutely the biggest fires we’ve we’ve seen, and we have on record, the area New South Wales that was was on fire was huge, we had up to a quarter of a million people being ordered to evacuate on a single day. That’s, that’s an emergency. And it calls for certain behaviors and certain actions. And I can tell you, it’s also incredibly fatiguing and incredibly tiring and incredibly difficult to maintain. And it’s not really that

Robert Bryce  6:09  

that idea that you have to be on emergency footing all the time.

Unknown Speaker  6:12  

We can’t do it can’t, we can’t do it

Robert Bryce  6:15  

can’t be in a panic all the time. You were no, no,

Ben Heard  6:18  

no, you were and and

Robert Bryce  6:20  

well, let me see if I can interrupt. It’s a point that you make in in juice. And if listeners haven’t seen the film, juice, how electricity explains the world, Ben has some great lines that I want to come back to in just a minute. But you make that point in the film that for so many people around the world, and at some point that on your website on Brave New, you make the point that more people are living longer, healthier, freer lives than ever. And it’s right. And it’s because of energy. And you talk about the energy paradox. What is the energy paradox?

Ben Heard  6:53  

Yeah, so this was a point that I made in the opening of my PhD, which I completed a couple of years ago, so that the whole introductory section was structured around this idea. We’ve come from as a, as a humanity as a civilization, we’ve come from incredibly difficult circumstances, circumstances where we’re very few of us will grow old, and very many of us will die young. And there was a great deal of cruelty and a great deal of harm. And, and the world was very, very tough and very, very difficult. With our ability to access energy, and put energy and more and more energy to our use, we have been being able to break out of that cycle and come to a world where now we have more people vaccinated than ever before more people are literate than ever before more people are living in democratic conditions than ever before. lifespans have grown education has grown and the human condition generally, notwithstanding that there can be some legitimate debate about how happily First Nations people might have been living in certain certain circumstances. across these markers of progress, we are progressing so so well.

Robert Bryce  8:07  

Now, it’s always driven by hydrocarbons use coal. Absolutely,

absolutely. One lock Eastern locking hydrocarbons has fundamentally changed civilization,

Ben Heard  8:16  

that has been the energy that has been the energy source. And that then is the paradox in in unlocking all of those energy sources, and actually becoming so good at accessing them and liquidating them, we’re now creating a really grave set of risks, that has the potential to push that progress back in the other directions. It’s still somewhere in the future. But those risks are now starting to mount. where, you know, if you look at places like the the Indian subcontinent, Bangladesh, where some of this human progress is going so quickly, if climate conditions turn quite rapidly and quite hard in coming decades, that could actually start to push back and reverse. That’s what I mean by the energy paradox. The the energy sources that we’ve been using to achieve all of this progress, are the same energy sources that are creating this, this mounting cumulative risk, you know, it’s not a risk of that goes away, if we stop using them, or just slow them down, it’s gonna keep on creeping up and getting worse. And that’s why, you know, that’s why solving climate change is difficult, not easy. You know, if it was easy to forego these energy sources we’d be we’d be done by now we’d be we’d be solved by now. We’d be well on our way. It’s hard, it is hot. So we need to substitute those energy sources with something clean,

Robert Bryce  9:35  

right. And I was just looking at these numbers again today. And like you, you know, love me a spreadsheet right? In in three decades global hydrocarbon as global hydrocarbons as a share of overall primary energy use. It’s only declined a few percentage points three or four percentage points in three decades. Same in the US. It’s been about six percentage point Change. But still we’re talking about a just a massive, massive quantity of of energy that has to be supplanted. Yeah. And I think that that I want to get to this issue of tribalism because that idea, and it’s a point that I’ve made over and over, this is a scale challenge. But that but the tribes have divided have defined themselves pretty well clearly, which is a big tribe saying, including an academia have said, Oh, well, we can do this all with renewables, if only I had the political will. And only if we had the money. Oh, and by the way, if only we had enough land to put all this stuff on. So my question you received your PhD you spent spent some time in academia, you’re as familiar as I am. Now, you’ve written a paper on this, in fact, about the number of academic studies that have been published on these claims about 100% renewables. The question, the question is, why do academics love this idea so much? I mean, there’s a new one that just came out from Princeton, and the author is well known. He’s you know, was affiliated with breakthrough Institute, as you know, and the Oh, well, we only need a few states worth of land to make this all work and I look at them they think. Yeah. The question is, why is this idea so attractive?

Ben Heard  11:18  

What Yeah, why is it so attractive? That is a good question. And why is it seductive? You know, even and it is, and why is it so? enduringly seductive. It’s an It’s amazing. Yet world people first and thinkers, impartial thinkers second. So academics and all of the rest of us, we all bring pretty heavy suitcases to the work that we do. And I’m constantly

Robert Bryce  11:44  

thinker thinkers. Second, what, wait, we

Ben Heard  11:47  

were people first and impartial thinkers. Second, you know, where we’re bringing all of our suitcases and our bags to it. I’ve been thinking about this a lot with with the situation in Australia and how committed we appear to be institutionally to the to that idea

Robert Bryce  12:03  

of more renewables.

Ben Heard  12:05  

Oh, that is that that is the pathway. And that we will, how prepared we are to park those challenges well down into the future, and presumably we’ll solve them when we get there. It’s quite amazing. Our preparedness to do this. And I have to come back to some points, I’ve tried to make a few times that one of the scariest things we need to do as humans is change our minds, we find that so incredibly difficult. And we’re generally speaking, it’s actually not so much about changing our mind, it’s actually about changing our identity, and changing a very large slice of the pie of what we call our identity. So we come to identify very, very strongly with certain positions. And when we get to the point where we might might need to make a pivot on that position. Letting go of such a big piece of our identity to our heads, that’s a lot like dying. That’s it That’s a lot like having to say goodbye to the to the person when you we thought we were and we hold on really, really tightly to that. So we will give you

Robert Bryce  13:13  

know, you know, you don’t want to leave the tribe.

Ben Heard  13:15  

All No, you don’t you don’t want you don’t want to leave the safe space in your own head. I mean, I’m smiling. I’m talking from from personal experience here that, you know, it took me three years of sort of just looking at my shoes every time people mentioned nuclear power, because always having to go through the difficult grinding process of thinking that maybe I’d been wrong about this. You know, I used to be the one speaking up and barking back at it. And then it was just, it was really difficult to to work around to the idea that something that that I thought made up, Ben was going to have to go. And that was that was really, really, really difficult. And so you’re

Robert Bryce  13:51  

talking, you’re talking about a conversion here.

Ben Heard  13:54  

Yeah, yeah. And we are really expert at borrowing to find the next ledge to cling on to, to to keep the point of view that we’ve got. Now it goes in goes in all sorts of directions. And I see the same thing with people who I think are making unreasonable statements and claims about aspects of nuclear technology. And then go Oh, gosh, that’s, you seem to be hanging on pretty hard to this idea here. It’s it’s a really common phenomenon. There is a I think we all yearn for this idea that we’re going to have some harmonious life with nature that’s driven by renewable energies. The truth is just it’s just nothing like that. But Gee, it’s it’s a seductive.

Robert Bryce  14:34  

And then idea has endured for a very long time. I mean, you know, the first, the first page and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is a very thing at one time man lived in harmony with nature. Yeah, we lived in harmony with nature, and we all died by age 25 with no teeth. If we were lucky, right. Right. But, but that image of I think that that’s part of it. Well, so let me introduce the film. You You you delivered some of my favorite points in the film and I love you know everyone in the movie, but you talked about renewables. And you said by creating this brand renewable, and you talked about a hydro dam and and wind turbine and solar panel, and you said, it’s the opposite of what we actually want in the system we are trying to provide, we aren’t trying to create something chaotic, we’re trying to create something that is stable, predictable, to give people what they want, when they want it at low cost every hour of the year. Preferably, you wouldn’t do that with something that was driven by the weather. Right, one of the best summations, and for a while, one of the best summations of the limits of renewables. And yet that it just, you know, kind of close this idea on this tribalism idea. That fact of we don’t want something that depends on the weather is seemingly just lost in the in the noise, because the sun doesn’t always shine the wind. And why is that? Why is that essential? facts are obscured.

Ben Heard  15:59  

Yeah, and this is one of my great frustrations, and has been for the last 10 years that the the challenges approached as a, like a riddle that we need to solve the, the job we’ve been tasked with here is somehow taking these impossible moving parts to create this service. Rather than simply solving what I would see as the primary problem, which is greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, as a side effect of a system that was working in delivering well. And that I think, is the point of difference. You know, I’ve come around to a position and I think he commodities and takes this position that you know, a function in greed that’s achieving that that delivery that we talked about. It’s It’s the largest, most complex machine in the world, pulling off a virtual miracle all the time. That is something to be liked, and supported. And I see the greenhouse gas emissions in the air pollution as an undesirable side effects from a very positive force in the world. A lot of other people come out, this is a whole other way. And I’m seeing this more and more. And I’m starting to push this out as a few challenges, as are a few others saying, Do you actually care about climate change and air pollution? Or is that just a vehicle for some other much stronger values that you’re bringing into into this picture about smash the system, tear down the machine, devolve the power, comforting ideas about the way the world should be that become them becoming twined with issues of social justice, issues of gender equity, issues of of everything, and you wind up with something called everything ism.

Robert Bryce  17:44  

Right? We’re anti capitalism, because anti

Unknown Speaker  17:47  

capitalism, that’s

Robert Bryce  17:48  

that’s a lot of the rhetoric that it sounds like to me, oh, well, we’re gonna have communitarian solar systems. And we’re driving away with all these big companies, when the net result is I see it as so much of the subsidies are accruing to the benefit of very large corporations, which is I never

Ben Heard  18:05  

got, yes, they never go away. And and that’s, that’s, that’s the great irony here. And so that’s, you know, to try to try to close that out, I guess. That’s where I see that the challenge that everything is in is it becomes that we cannot solve anything, until and unless we can solve everything. That is this whole package of ideas that we’re bringing, from this point of view. And I find that I find that greatly frustrating. I think that is also part of the seduction of the 100% renewables road, is that people feel that they are able to bundle a lot more of these issues of their values around that idea that it sort of speaks to some of these ideas more elegantly. It’s an all I can really

Robert Bryce  18:48  

say, starter brick for the reorganization of society.

Ben Heard  18:51  

Precisely, precisely. And given that I do think we are in some form of crisis here with the trajectory of our climate, I find that deeply frustrating. Because I want to resolve a lot of those problems as well. I would never presume to hold to hold matters of social justice, hostage to decarbonize the energy system, that that’s completely unfair to the social justice issue at hand, you know, if someone had a brilliant way to resolve inequality, and in a nation of deep inequality, and I was sitting here saying, I’m not going to do that, unless you decarbonize the energy system at the same time. I mean, what a cruel thing to do. And that’s, that’s what I’m seeing in that picture right now. And I think that’s one reason that the 100% renewables is very persistent. People feel that they can use that as a vehicle. Well, so

Robert Bryce  19:46  

let’s talk about specifically what’s happening in Australia. You’re our first guest on the podcast from Australia, proud to say, taken taken a little too long to make it happen. But what what’s the status then with the the nuclear waste repository in South Australia. Where does that stand now?

Ben Heard  20:05  

Okay, so let’s make sure that we’re clear on what we’re talking about two, two processes happen in very much at the same time, one was quite a large process to consider having a large idea, a big, big idea, which was a multinational used fuel repository above ground for about 140,000 metric tons of heavy metal, used nuclear fuel. With the progressive then interment of that, it’s fair to say that that idea is, is deep in ice, it may come back in a few

Robert Bryce  20:38  

times, and interesting mixing of your metaphors there. But

Unknown Speaker  20:43  

it may come back to

Robert Bryce  20:44  

the repository and ice.

Ben Heard  20:47  

But that idea was was struck down from particularly a victim of a very misapplied citizens jury process at the tail end of of that long process. So I don’t think we’re gonna see a reinvigoration of that idea for a while to come. We are still trying to establish our first fit for purpose repository for domestic material. So we do have a domestic industry here in Australia, based around research and medicine, through our very, very good reactor at LucasArts. in Sydney, as well as legacy waste arisings from earlier programs, and that needs to fit for purpose home. And we still don’t have one. Now we’re quite close to having one now. And I’m really proud of this actually, I was part of the the independent panel for citing that facility. This has been a deeply vexed challenge for Australia for a long time. And this time, myself and a lot of other people pressed the government department challenged them and they stepped up to the challenge. And we said, let’s make this process voluntary. Anyone in Australia with the tenure on the land can volunteer a package of land for assessment. So rather than a top down process of the government, trying to find what it feels is the best site, and then try and sell it, we took a bottom up process of bringing us your land. It’s confidential for the first few stages so you can get an idea of what this might be about. Then we’ll come to a long list, a shortlist, then we’ll start consulting in the towns themselves to try and get a feel for for the social licence, which was fundamentally everything I can tell you. I mean, Australia is a country such that there are no end of good sites physically. And it would just be the difference of a little more engineering or a little less engineering, it’s a good country for doing for being able to do this. From a physical standpoint, social licence was completely different. To try to cut a fairly long story short, that ended with a vote of, I think 62% in favor in a community in South Australia, to becoming the host community for the National radioactive waste management facility. The land is a plot of land of I think 60 Hector’s on an existing wheat farm, which the landowner volunteered, which the neighbors agreed to the local government is in favor. This is this is actually a world leading outcome in terms of processes for getting social support around this. There was

Robert Bryce  23:24  

enough I can interrupt because I that’s really interesting to me, because it’s it’s the opposite of what we’ve seen here in the United States when going back to the 1980s. And this is part of the resentment for around the Yucca Mountain repository, it was is that Nevada ever since it was named that has seen this as the we’re going to screw Nevada, by making it the waste repository, instead of saying, Well, is there a place out there where you’d want to take this and so that’s a that’s a very, it’s one of this continues to be one of the key stumbling blocks in the US for any progress on nuclear is just this, oh, well, we don’t have a place to put the waste and therefore kings x, we can’t do anything.

Ben Heard  24:02  

Right. And so you know, for anyone around the world looking at this, I encourage particularly the engineers and the scientists among us to give ourselves credit here and say, it generally does come down to some more engineering or some less engineering can deliver the physical outcome that’s required. But you can’t get that so it is, can’t get it, you’re very unlikely to get that outcome as a social support coming from the top down. This is not rocket science. If we have a process where people can can volunteer to participate, they can leave at any time with no obligation. They can leave at any time right up to the end with no obligation. They are given as happened in Australia, the ability to form a committee in their town, begin nominating projects around the town that they would like funding for. And that comes early. Simply acknowledging that they’re participating this fine process, still no obligation, then some some reward afterward. And that That’s delivered over a couple of years in which you can have proper long term consultation and people can really ask their questions. And the other very elegant thing about that is that it will tend to draw a bit of a boundary of genuine genuinely interested stakeholders. So the people within within that boundary, they will pay very close attention.

Robert Bryce  25:20  

So, you know, people, so then fast forward, so where are we then? And I mean, that’s great background. And I think that that’s Yeah, so what where does that stand now then.

Ben Heard  25:29  

So that’s, it’s now stalled in the Opera House of the Australian Parliament parliament, because, unfortunately, the government did not have a balance of power in our, you know, upper house. And some of the minor parties, one in particular has decided to play games with that. And that is very sad. And so if you look, you will find headlines of people from this town in South Australia, flying to Canberra to tell the upper house, please stop messing around with us. We are ready to go.

Robert Bryce  25:57  

What’s the name of the town?

Ben Heard  25:58  

Kimba. I MBA Kimba. Yeah, in the in the wheat growing region in South Australia. So unfortunately, that is now against all by politics. But we’re as close as as we’ve been. And it has a very strong foundation under a song. So I’m pretty hopeful about that.

Robert Bryce  26:15  

So if you know my progress, so we’ve kept we’ve we’ve covered the waist progress process, and you’re getting, you’re getting some traction there. What about the prospect for a new reactor? I mean, I know that you’ve, you push this for a long time and Australia, a very high percentage of its electricity. I don’t know, there’s numbers off the top, my head comes from coal. So yeah, where are you on in the in the potential for a new a new reactor being built,

Ben Heard  26:41  

it still feels pretty distant, presently, it might change quickly when it changes how to think how to how to sum this up for you. It’s a really interesting juncture. I think Australia now is right in the in the crucible of going from the easy part of adding variable renewables through to the very difficult part. And I’ve been saying this for a long time in my PhD in some papers that bolting on variable renewables to an existing strong underlying system is at first, relatively easy, relatively cheap, and might even tend to lead to a lowering of the wholesale costs. But as that penetration grows, the cost and the difficulty of of adding more, grows really nonlinearly, it then starts to become quite complex and quite expensive. Were right there now. So you’re right,

Robert Bryce  27:30  

Australia, and you’re seeing big increases in prices in South Australia. Right? Yeah, I mean, you’re we

Ben Heard  27:35  

yet we haven’t we did for several years, it’s backed off a little now. And the forward prices look. Okay, so the the process have come under control. The problem now is the system security. So if we look at the report from the electricity security board in Australia, that was just published on fifth of January this year. The Big Red critical thing they’re looking at here is system security. So the last of the loss of frequency control and ciliary services in the market and the loss of overall system security for the grid is bad. And with the forecast closure of a lot of that legacy call, which is some 20 gigawatts is likely to, to leave in the next 20 years. That’s a huge challenge, there’s, there’s no clear answer for seeing for how we can replace the quantity of electricity, the reliability of the electricity, and also the frequency can control as the other services. So it was all fine when it was just South Australia doing a lot of it, it’s now starting to leak over to the eastern states, which fundamentally served South Australia’s battery for this process, just a big stable market, running running on call. And as what’s happened here, then takes hold across the whole eastern states grid, the problem changes dramatically.

Robert Bryce  28:54  

And this is a problem not just about the generation itself. And whether it’s synchronous or asynchronous. And just as quick aside, synchronous generation provides that frequency support, it’s like a akin to the waterflow right, where you have very stable pressure, once that goes away, then you lose your pressure fluctuates, what you do not want in a grid. So how much of this is due to generation? And how much is it transmission issue? Because these are the same challenges that are now coming to the fore in the United States. Again, you know, grids are similar all around the world, how much of this is, is now going to be about building new transmission? or How are the critics? How are the pro renewables crowd couching this discussion?

Ben Heard  29:37  

Yeah, it’s deeply interrelated. The, in order to increase the penetration, the contribution from from the variable renewable energy and in order to keep the price as low, the Australian transmission network is going to need to increase very, very much. So it’s a it’s a fairly long skinny grid across a low population built around large production nodes. From from the from the earlier days, which would have been a fairly efficient amount of transmission to build that transmission would have been pretty well utilized. To put this into context, we in Australia have built one new interconnector one new large transmission piece of the jigsaw in about the last 15 years. In order to follow through to the fullest extent of the plans were seeing, it looks like we would need to build about 15 new interconnected projects in the next 20 years. So the expansion in a very short amount of time is, is profound. And if you Fortunately, the market operator has a very useful map where you can sort of check the boxes and click on the progressive next steps of integration needs to be added. And you see is going from quite a long skinny grid to a to a much more meshed grid, reaching out to what are called the renewable energy zones that have been identified to try to move that power around it. I, I’m, I’m really skeptical, that’s gonna happen, right? I really am. I’m

Robert Bryce  31:06  

sitting here 1000s of miles away, and I am as well, because that just building new transmission of any kind of high voltage is extraordinarily difficult. And it’s not just a land use issue. It’s about a technical capability issue. You it’s a very small set of workers who know how to do this work and do it right.

Ben Heard  31:22  

Yeah, yeah, it’s interesting that you should raise that. So one of the one of the priority projects was between South Australia and New South Wales on you and to connect to there, it was approved at a price of $1.4 billion. It went to competitive market, and it’s come back at $2.5 billion. So that tells you two things a, it has to be it has to be approved. Again, it’s got to go right back through that. So that the regulator to say is this actually going to benefit Australian consumers for this project, we’ve got to reassess that now we just come out at the very top end of the estimates that that we had. And it also tells you something about the scarcity of ability in Australia to deliver projects of that size. They, you know, in the course of the planning, design, implementation and commissioning, they’re you know, they’re easily a decade. So the idea that we might be running five to 10 simultaneously successfully at modeled prices, I find pretty difficult to believe

Robert Bryce  32:23  

beggars this the claim that you know, and I hear it here in the US Oh, if only we had the political will. Well, okay, the political will is one thing, but having the work crews and the trucks and all the cable, everything in the steel, all those things that you need is is a is a whole other issue. On that same mine then if you don’t mind, I want to talk about land use because I’ve been following the controversies around land use siding and wind. What’s What do you know about the the controversies around siting of large scale renewables in Australia has it been controversial?

Ben Heard  32:56  

Not that much to date. But very interestingly, one particular wind farm recently, which was going to be in an area of Tasmania, found itself with a very high profile opponent, a guy called Bob Brown. And Bob Brown was the founder of the Australian greens. And he made his name in the 1980’s. Also objecting to hydroelectricity in Tasmania, on the grounds that blocking these rivers in Tasmania was a loss of wilderness area, that is not an acceptable trade off. Now, funnily enough, that’s exactly the point I was making a juice. And it’s exactly the point that I was trying to make, to, to really talk about the beauty of these dense energy sources that don’t, where we don’t need to trade off those values. So it’s, it’s beginning, it’s beginning to come. We do benefit in Australia for some fairly wide open space. And

Robert Bryce  33:55  

those values you were talking about, I’m paraphrasing, or maybe you can recall exactly what you said. But it was these values about embracing the natural world, and what the natural world gives us. And we’re going to betray them by covering vast areas of the world with all of this infrastructure. And

Unknown Speaker  34:12  

well, that’s right.

Robert Bryce  34:13  

I mean, he’s saying it correctly.

Ben Heard  34:14  

Yeah, you’re about there. I mean, if if the whole point behind doing this is to arrest the change of our climate, to preserve our own well being and also to preserve the well being of the natural world around us, in the state that we know and that we love it. The scale of industrialization of the landscape seems like a betrayal of those values. Now, I don’t think that’s always the case. I think that there I look around Australia and I as much as anyone could acknowledge there are some tracks of quite degraded land, where this is probably a quite an unacceptable trade off. And then and then other times, it’s really not, you know, I look at what happened in the Mojave Desert, with Habitat. And I think No, that’s, that’s not right when we’re talking about removing habitat, which is scary. Which is what we’re trying to protect. We’ve got to rethink what we’re doing here. When we talk about avian impacts and from wind, and I’m tired of hearing people tell me that cars kill more birds, you know, they kill more pigeons, you know, but you know, if if you knock 15 or 20 Raptors out of the population in the local area that matters. And we have to take those things seriously. It’s not an anti renewable sentiment, it’s a question of rethinking why is it that we are doing what we are doing? And hydroelectric dams are, you know, are the are the worst, you know, if you, if you feel like being sad about something, go to Google Earth and look at the tail is piers dam in Brazil, and wind back the clock to what it used to look like and what it looks like now, in terms of the changes that need to be made to their jungle on that river, to achieve that outcome 1000s of kilometers away from where the power is needed. These are issues that concern me very much. And I just, I really think it’s about getting the balance, right? And using these technologies in the right way to achieve the values that we’re looking for. Put the values first always, and then it’s harder to go wrong.

Robert Bryce  36:12  

You know, as you say that, Ben what I what I hear, or what I’m imagining in my own head is you’re saying this is coming back to power density, right? And why is hydro? Why does it require so much land is very low power density, and that it’s the lowest really and then maybe biofuels, and then wind and solar, but that the point that I’m getting here is well, that’s the magic of nuclear is that the density of it is so unsurpassed. So my question you’ve been to Fukushima, three times, three times. And you were in 60 minutes, Australia was where I first saw Geraldine Thomas, you’ve been three times what what sticks out in your mind of those three visits? What’s, what’s the what what would you tell people who want to go to Fukushima or dream about what that’s like? What is it like?

Ben Heard  36:58  

Well, what sticks in my mind is relatively quick changes between all three visits, the first visit the, the site of the plant itself still looked and felt reasonably chaotic, you know, there was still a lot of recovery of the site itself going on. And the exclusion zone was quite high, large I mean, in area, by the third visit, the site is extremely well organized, and comfortable, a lot of people showing up to work every day, it looks like they know exactly what they’re doing. And they’re getting on with the job, the exclusion zone is much, much smaller, you can take a train really, really close to the, to the nuclear power station, where there’s a new hotel, dying for some customers, there are people moving back into the into the villages nearby. And it’s a really, really beautiful part of Japan. food’s great. And you know, what particularly stuck out for me and unclad, you know, featured in the show, you know, we were within sight with inside of the plan, driving around, and the the readings were the same as at Sydney Airport. This is not a radioactive wasteland at all. And it is, in fact, slowly coming back to life which is which is incredibly positive. And I think one of the the saddest things is how determined some people seem to be to leverage that place for an agenda without actually considering what it means to the people that live there and love it. And I would encourage everybody to visit Japan if you can get on that train and get as close as you reasonably can and and see for yourself about how it’s coming back to life.

Robert Bryce  38:40  

Well, let me ask you about that radiation because it was an issue that I talked about with Geraldine Thomas on the podcast some weeks ago. And her basic point and I’m paraphrasing it now here just a little bit, but it said our fear of radiation is far overblown. And she said In fact, the great line that she uses that we need a mindset reversal. Do you agree with him?

Ben Heard  39:00  

utterly, utterly. So I wrote this up after after our last visit. So on the last visit, we we went we walked all the way into the damaged reactor. Now let’s get wanting really clear the radiation levels right in there in the damage reactor a very, very high. So it’s, it’s a risk to be managed? No, no question about that. 100 meters away. It’s not, but in the reactor it is. So let’s be clear about that. But we also had to manage a bunch of other risks. We had to put on a lot of PP it was it was pretty hot in Fukushima that day, we had to go up in an external elevator and then contem external stairs, there’s trip hazards this fall hazard says dehydration hazards. And what I wrote about coming out of this is that we were not given the opportunity to manage our own risk here from an informed point of view. We were not given the opportunity to say, okay, the radiation levels that you’re going to experience here is this. What that means from the evidence in terms of your health is this We as workers here at for Christmas, we really do need to manage our time in there, because we’ve got to be here all year. And so you know, this is a cost to us. So we really, we really need to limit the visit to to this, you might like to limit it to this. But if you’re in too much of a hurry, you might trip over, you might fall, you might drop a piece of equipment, you might overheat. What do you want to do? What risk Are you happy to have here. And if we had that conversation with the actual evidence about what those radiation readings were going to mean, I think we would have comfortably opted for a longer visit so that we could just take our time there a little more, and be a little more careful on the way out. In the end, we were being hurried out, I was pushed into a little box to protect me from the radiation apparently, hit my head very hard on the way in because I couldn’t see, fortunately wearing a hard hat, but hit my head really, really hard on a beam. And then I go and do the numbers. And I think I can in my whole day at the site, I got more radiation on my flight from Sydney. So we do need a complete rethink of how we relate to that risk. We treat it with a very exceptional mindset in terms of the hazard that it presents. And it colors our whole relationship with technology in it in an incredibly unhelpful way.

Robert Bryce  41:28  

Well, so is it Am I making it too obvious a question here to ask, Is this because of this fear that the nuclear opponents have been able to exploit it more than the than in and that is called for? Is that? Is that in all of the issues that the anti nuclear act crowd pushes? Is that their their most powerful card? And are they and is that been their most effective way of of gaining sentiment or anti nuclear sentiment?

Ben Heard  42:01  

Yeah, I think they’re really engineering sentiment. Yes, I think that is the absolute number one is that is that fear of deeply misplaced fear of radiation? Yeah, absolutely. Now more laterally, we can quite legitimately say, and I have seen this up in Australia, a lot of those arguments have been fought and won now, and fought to a draw. And now we really are talking about cost, mostly. So if if if the cost argument could be comprehensively delivered, today, I think we would see change occur. But that deeply rooted issue absolutely comes down to that fear of radiation. And I’ve got to say, it’s aided and abetted by a lot of the institutions of the nuclear industry itself. I’ve seen it in the conferences, I’ve seen it in the radiation protection conferences, the nuclear industry conferences, it is the same mindset, it comes from a good place, but they treat the risk as exceptional as well. They are not trained to routinely compare the risks and hazards the that they are dealing with, with the other risks and hazards of either the energy cycle from other energy sources, or just everyday life. That is not the training, that is not the mindset, the mindset is as low as reasonably practicable. In nuclear, right? It leads to a mindset of this must be incredibly dangerous. Our industry is super special. We need to keep grinding this down lower and lower and lower.

Robert Bryce  43:23  

So you know, is out without any overall assessment of what that risk factor is what the odds would be as you would, you know, not being in bingo or anything else. What, right, what’s my chances of winning? What’s my chance of getting cancer? Yeah, it’s it’s treated in a wholly different manner.

Ben Heard  43:37  

Yeah, we’re not actually measuring monsters here. We’re measuring one monster. And it looks enormous, because it’s the only one we’re staring at. But it’s good. Yeah, yeah. But but there’s a whole lot of other enormous monsters all around us, with the don’t get a look into that conversation. So it’s a funny synergy there between anti nuclear and the nuclear industry itself in that relationship with radiation. And you know, what, and the way we design these deep geological repository is kind of kind of backs that up, you know, the ones once 300 years have gone past, and we’re talking about mainly plutonium with an alpha emitter, so you know, you’d need to ingest it. It’s, do we really need to protect the world for 250,000 years from that? Do we really think people coming in future are going to be sowing inadequate and incompetent that they’re not going to be able to work that out? It, it plays, it plays exactly into the into the same mindset. And we try to, you know, draw loopback right, that

Robert Bryce  44:36  

no, that’s an interesting point is that that, that near term fear of radiation combines with the long term fear to make it almost as an a, an impossible risk to quantify, right? Oh, yeah,

Unknown Speaker  44:49  

right. Now, it’s

Robert Bryce  44:50  

gonna be a danger for 1000s of years. Therefore kings x, we can’t do anything. Let’s build wind turbines.

Ben Heard  44:55  

And what we do instead is wave through a system. That’s an approach approach that’s failing to address the biggest nastiest risks in the room.

Robert Bryce  45:05  

Yeah, so let’s talk about then I asked her Archer your your colleague at bright new world now wrote a recent piece about new reactor technologies he reviewed molten salt cooled and helium cooled handicapping for me I’ve had rod Adams on the on the podcast Carolyn Cochran from oklo. Give me Give me your Give me your your your handicapping of the the reactor technologies being

Ben Heard  45:32  

developed. What Yeah, what? What a great question which

Robert Bryce  45:35  

one you think might chief commercial operation soonest?

Ben Heard  45:40  

Sure. Okay, good question. I’ll go go straight to the specifics of that commercial operation soonest I can my my first bet there would probably be a light water reactor, small modular reactor. Being you know, General Electric, Hitachi, BWI, Rx 300. Or maybe a scale

Robert Bryce  45:59  

new scale operate? Yep,

Ben Heard  46:00  

there’s new scale. Right. So yeah, if you simply look at where they are, that the the body of knowledge that’s behind the technology, I think, particularly if you look at what GE can Hitachi can do to progress through licensing on the basis of just topical reports, because it is an evolved design from a licensed design SB wr, there’s a lot to like about that. So a lot of noise uncertainty there. So I think that I think that’ll be first, but I don’t think the next one’s gonna be all fall behind. So I, I would give a strong, you know, I put some money down on Molten Salt Reactor from terrestrial energy, I think that they are accumulating more and more stability in their foundation. That means that’s good. That’s going to happen.

Robert Bryce  46:48  

terrestrial, in case you don’t know is a Canadian company, Canadian domiciled company in Ontario, working on a molten salt reactor, how many megawatts is

Ben Heard  46:57  

electric? 195? electric? Yeah, possibly to be possibly to be to be built into for about 400 megawatts. So, and disclosure, I’ve been involved with terrestrial for five or six years as an as an advisor, I see, I see a lot to like about that, that technology. So I think that will probably be fairly hot on the heels. And, you know, then I think auckl is gonna do it, I think I think they’re gonna succeed. I mean, it’s just how innovative arklow has been with the with their Aurora, their ability to go right back to the drawing board and design for simplicity, and design for buildability and design for passive safety. I think that that is going to find its way to commercialization. It might might be just a little later, but I think it’s going to do it. And then the next interesting question is a generation on from that? How does the cost shake down between these these different offerings? How does the popularity shake down between these different offerings? And do we start to see that there’s a, you know, one or two more more dominant technologies, I find is really, really interesting as an analyst, but what I like the most is that we can actually have this conversation in a credible way. There are lots of strong, credible pathways now with several wood technologies. And actually, more importantly, they’ve been good technologies, good companies, companies who actually know how to follow this throne and get this delivered. So I wrote recently that the 10 years from 2021 2020, to 2030, are going to be really different from global nuclear than the 10 that have just come before it. And this is one reason I think we can look forward to good series of milestones being hit in this area.

Robert Bryce  48:45  

What are the biggest obstacles then to getting those reactors deployed?

Ben Heard  48:52  

They developers, who are coming out as new entrants are like any other startup needing to walk the line of balancing what they can achieve with the funds they can raise and the certainty that they can offer. This is a this is a constant, march forward. And it’s a credit, I think, to the likes of terrestrial and arklow. That they appear to have quite a laser focus there so that they do not get easily distracted from their strategic plan and what they need to deliver to make that happen. But that is the same with any startup trying trying to do anything innovative there.

Robert Bryce  49:31  

What does they call it? The deployment valley of death? What does that term of art, something like that? Yeah,

Ben Heard  49:36  

right. That Yeah, yeah, that’s right. You know, it will be it will be easy to you know, a lot of things bubble up at first. Yep, that’s right. And they get a little way, and then it’s just a hard grind. for a lot of years. You know, can you get your way to get involved in licensing for a start, and then can you

Robert Bryce  49:53  

can you manufacture it and then do you have a customer and right, yeah,

Ben Heard  49:57  

that’s right. You know, I think if we look at New scale there who are arguably getting close, you know, then you get to that that situation of, can we secure enough of an order book to justify building a factory to actually follow through on the philosophy behind behind SMR. And and all of the companies that are going to face this challenge, you know, and that’s one area where, you know, I would steal man, the the opponent, opponents or the skeptics in the nicest venue clear in Australia. You know, I would still man that by saying it’s not easy. It is, it’s difficult, it’s a difficult road to bring these new

Robert Bryce  50:35  

young man is the opposite of straw man, is that

Ben Heard  50:37  

Yeah, often a straw man, it’s a really important thing to do. Yeah, I mean, steel Manning your opponent, he’s trying to put the most genuine and credible effort behind understanding their point of view. And you know, you’ve done a good job, if you can say it, and have that person say back to you, yes, that’s a pretty good representation of what I think it’s a really important intellectual exercise. And, you know, I can, you know, quite reasonably, you know, if I go through that steel Manning process, I understand what those in Australia might might say about about this.

Robert Bryce  51:08  

So let me ask you about natural gas, because you didn’t mention that, because what I see, you know, from my vantage point is new power projects being developed, particularly in South Asia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and those are LNG to power they’re using natural gas, right, because the available now is gas is gas, a big obstacle? I mean, it’s been one of the downfalls, or one of the reasons why nuclear reactors in the US are having a hard time economically. Is his natural gas going to be the price of natural gas, relative abundance and relatively easy deployment going to be an obstacle for nuclear in Asia?

Ben Heard  51:42  

Yeah, you bet. Because you, you need to put yourself again, to be a steel man and put yourself in the mind of someone who doesn’t care, particularly you just a banker or a financial. And you’re trying to decide,

Robert Bryce  51:54  

or utility?

Ben Heard  51:56  

Yeah, that’s right. And, you know, when the job’s done on these small modular reactors, and the mission is fulfilled on the on the philosophy is being seen? Well, that’s one conversation, but until it is done everything you just said, the fact is, gas takes a lot of boxes, it’s still a high carbon fuel, I don’t want, but it is cleaner from an air pollution point of view, it’s a lot cleaner than burning coal, is proven to be more plentiful than expected. And the plants can be built relatively quickly. So they can be financed relatively certainly, and the power can be sold at a pretty good at a pretty good price. And so

Robert Bryce  52:32  

big capital and political risks are fairly low.

Ben Heard  52:36  

Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. You know, it involves some dependencies that some nations would probably rather not have. But on balance. Yeah. So that, you know, means that there isn’t an absolutely universal driving imperative to get these smrs up and running as quickly as possible. There’s an interim option that’s reasonably attractive. So that, you know, that pathway is is a hard one. It’s so important in a country like Canada, has launched its SMR Action Plan, which is really locking in that genuine commitment to see it through, it’s really important to have seen the sort of bipartisan support that’s come out of the United States, in progressing, it’s advanced react reactors, this, this matters a lot. And, you know, it’s something I’m trying to say back to to my Australian setting is that decarbonisation isn’t isn’t an endpoint that you achieve, and then you’re finished. It’s a, it’s an end state that we need to achieve, and then maintain forever. And getting these technologies to a position where we can use them for power for industrial heat for industrial processes to manufacture and manufacture synthetic fuels, is an absolutely essential part of getting that end state achieved, and then maintaining it forever, while looking after the planet. If that takes a little longer right now. that’s acceptable. And the thing is looking at what’s happening in Australia, we’re now learning. Nothing’s happening quickly. The recent plans to talk about these high levels of penetrations of renewables and this hugely expanded transmission project. It’s a 20 year plan, and it’s not finished at the end of 20 years on my dad, you don’t take more and more after that. I’ve been hearing for the last 10 years since I first opened my mouth. Nuclear Power takes too long, nothing is getting us through this quickly. It’s taken us a long time to get to where we are, it’s going to take a long time to build our way out of it. And we need as many options on the table they always do as we as we possibly can. 100% renewables pathway, it’s not fast. It’s it’s gonna take all that time and more. So why we would want to gamble on that. Rather than be more inclusive with technologies is a point that You know, to constantly try and reinforcing in my context here.

Robert Bryce  55:03  

Why do you care so much?

But I hear I hear as you’re talking, and I and I have seen you, and I won’t repeat all the details, but I’ve seen you at conferences where you can get upset and you can get impatient. And but it’s clear, and I only bring that up because I thought when I first saw it, I thought, wow, this guy’s passionate about what he’s doing. I mean, he really cares. Where does that come from? Why? Where does the passion come from? And how do you sustain it?

Ben Heard  55:35  

I’ll try. I’ll try to give you the best answer I can. I’m lucky. I’m a lucky person. I grew up middle class in a nice part of Australia.

With a loving family. I’ve never really wanted for not rich but I’ve never wanted for anything.

My father did business internationally, my mother was a social worker, working with really underprivileged young women in the community. We went to a Catholic church with a very strong social justice ethics. So you know, I had dinner table was, you know, National Geographics were coming in every month to the house. So I didn’t table had a lot of conversations about the world and what’s fair and what’s not fair. And I think a very strong awareness that compassion was an important value. And you it is perfectly clear to me that I’ve done well out of the world, you know, the dice rolled really favorably for me, I’m a, I’m a 42 year old white guy with education. If I can’t take some risks, and bring a little bit of passion, on behalf of everybody else, who the hell can you know, who the hell can you know, if not me, who, it’s I’m so fortunate, you know, I get to enjoy so much of what’s what’s great about the world and, and I also just happen to love nature, I just always have. And so to see that there are people out out there in the world who are struggling on that day to day basis, to get to, you know, to where I am. It’s, um, you know, even affects me. And I want to see us do better on everyone’s behalf. And, and yeah, you know, if not me, who I am lucky, I have, I have everything to bring to this to this situation. So I do I bring everything

Robert Bryce  57:39  

Who are your heroes?

Ben Heard  57:46  

I’ve met a few of them. I I’m very proud of my mother and father. For reasons I’ve just said, they’re very different people, but they always approached everything that they did with very clear mind and ethics. And, and that stayed with me really, really carefully and really, really closely. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people like Barry Brock, who was my mentor and friend for a long time, who was who was incredibly influential. And, you know, I just think it’s such a great job of taking risk as well in an intellectual space

Robert Bryce  58:31  

at the University of Tasmania,

Ben Heard  58:32  

in the US at University of Tasmania these days. Mark Lynas, similarly the way he has the way he has written about these issues.

Robert Bryce  58:41  

British British campaigner on GMOs and on nuclear and eco modernist Yeah,

Ben Heard  58:46  

yeah. And there’s, there’s gonna be a few other names on my bookshelf over there. I, I guess I admire and I aspire to be one of those people that can can express that can express those ideas in those clear minded ways such that other people feel moved and motivated by it. And so there’s a there’s a little pantheon of people like that. You know, but again, I just hasten to add that, that, you know, I’ve never I’ve never been in danger for my beliefs. You know, my really are as other people that fight for democracy in dangerous places, and some, some of them go unknown and unnamed. I just look I admire, I admire courage. And, you know, in our world, intellectual courage seems to be hard enough to come by. So when people appear to have that, that’s, that’s something I admire really greatly.

Robert Bryce  59:40  

What are you reading these days?

Ben Heard  59:42  

Yeah. So well, I’m back I’m giving I’m relaxing a little bit of fiction, which is a book called crypto nomicon by a science fiction author called Neil Stevenson, from about 20 years ago, and that’s, that’s a that’s a terrific grade.

Robert Bryce  59:55  

I had the honest What’s the title again, I’m sorry,

Ben Heard  59:58  

crypto nomicon. So it’s All About codebreaking random information and what can be derived from it told as a sort of historical fiction from the Second World War through to about through to about year 2000 really, really interesting stuff. Just recently, I really enjoyed a book called fire country by a man called Victor Steffensen. Not coincidentally coming out of last year’s enormous fires in Australia, I wanted to read about Aboriginal land management, and the use of fire on the land, and how we maybe need to have a different relationship with fire and a different relationship with the landscape in Australia. And that was a beautiful read. Interestingly, I found it easy to read one shot, once I had watched some of Viktor on television, I could hear his voice in my head, because he has a particular delivering a particular cadence. And at first, I found a little difficult to read. But once I had his voice in my head, he was actually quite soothing. He’s got a very nice and nice way of talking about it. Yeah, yeah. So you know, I see these this is this is very, very related. I wanted I read that just after I read modernism by by john Simon’s political professor at University of New South Wales. And I’m actually looking forward to writing a bit of a comparative between those two books, because I saw a hell of a lot of similarity between eco modernism and some of these Aboriginal land land management ideas. Interestingly, you know, and I was reading it, because john challenged me on this, he said, you know, we come modernism talks about concentrating humanity, and then leaving, leaving wilderness to be to be wilderness. And he makes the point that we’re actually wilderness is not necessarily a friendly concept of First Nations people, that’s their homelands, when Okay, that is really interesting. And I want to know more about that. And what I found was a lot of kinship between ecomony ism and what Victor was saying, which was about humans as custodians, humans as active participants in the world around us humans as agents who do have control over our environment, and therefore must exercise that control responsibly. And humans who do shape

Robert Bryce  1:02:05  

we are as gods, we might as well start acting like it right

Ben Heard  1:02:08  

very much so very much. So Stuart brands line. So

Robert Bryce  1:02:12  

let’s one last thing. My guest has been heard. He’s the founder of bright new world think tank, or I’m sorry, an environmental group in Australia. Brave New So what gives you hope?

Ben Heard  1:02:28  

other people, other people, you know, the best thing about the whole journey I’ve been on which is 10 years old now the on like, a lot of what I’ve managed to get done some of the some of the best things I’ve managed to get done is bring up the other people. You mentioned Oscar Archer before, you know Oscar brings me hope, because you know, Oscar was someone who once came to me the way I had come to Barry. And I sort of said, yeah, this this man is has great things to say. And now look at him. Isabel brings me hope. rally Patna brings me hope, you know, this, this tribe of people, you know, my peers, but also the people that are maybe just come a little after me, because I see, I see strong positive ideas propagating with a with a multiplier effect. And that really, really brings brings me hope. And every time I see news about science and technology, that is leading to these unified impacts of improved conditions for humans, and improve conditions for the natural world, I get hype. Now I need to go looking for them. Sometimes, I must say that the world news is not dominated by that, but they’re there to be found. And I believe we need to look at them and elevate those. because how else do we know where we’re going? and want to follow? So yeah, it’s, um, you know, that science and technology, and particularly the the other people around me want to see the amazing work that they’re doing. I feel very, very energized.

Robert Bryce  1:04:00  

It’s a great answer, Ben. Well, so we’ll end it there unless you have something else you want to toss into the mix here. But we’ve been talking about an hour. So we

Ben Heard  1:04:09  

Yeah, look, I mean, this this this one last thought I just want to go back to some of what we were discussing in juice, about, about the energy paradox, and that we often hear the plight of the poor leveraged for why we need to act on climate change, that they will be the first affected. And john Simons in his book eco modernism, he pointed out that the global poor has largely seen that and their choice has been rapid adaptation through economic development. That has been their their decision. And, you know, we need to remember that the people that are closest to the margins of harm being they they move away from that margin of harm through the use of energy and through through the economic development. That is the quickest way For them to move themselves to a position of greater safety, not

Robert Bryce  1:05:02  

gonna stay where they are, if they can help him,

Ben Heard  1:05:04  

they’re not going to stay where they are and wait for us to lower greenhouse gas emissions, they’re going to move to a position of greatest safety. So we’ve got to make that energy journey clean for everybody, because everybody, everybody deserves it. You know, and this is something that I think we’re finally seeing some breakthrough in the in the, in the way people are thinking about equity on this topic. And that’s really, really encouraging. So yeah, just wanted to close out now.

Robert Bryce  1:05:28  

That’s great. That’s a really good point, Ben. Well, thanks. Ben Hurd, founder of bright new world bright new He’s based in Adelaide, Australia, you can check out his work there. He’s easily findable on the Google. So Ben, many thanks for joining us on the power hungry podcast. For all you listeners out there. Tune in for the next edition next episode of the power hungry podcast. Thanks for joining us, and we will talk to you in the next episode.

Ben Heard  1:05:57  

Thanks for having me.

Robert Bryce  1:05:57  

Thanks, Ben.

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