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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

time to embrace nuclear power

Four top climate change scientists have directed a tour de force letter to world environmental groups advising them of an important fact: we cannot stop global warming without nuclear power.  The letter comes from Dr. Ken Caldeira, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution; Dr. Kerry Emanuel, Atmospheric Scientist, MIT; Dr. James Hansen, Columbia University Earth Institute; and Dr. Tom Wigley, Climate Scientist, University of East Anglia and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
The letter is remarkable for its frank and logical discussion of not only science and policy but also reality and context, commodities that the authors urge their environmental group audience to grasp more of.   They state that continued opposition to nuclear power “threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.”  Besides the obvious moral imperative of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, there is a further moral underpinning to their argument.   The developing world will require more electric power to meet the needs of and advance the health and safety of a huge population, and our future generations have every right to that aspiration.   In a very cleverly turned sentence, they sum it up this way, “we can only increase energy supply while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions if new power plants turn away from using the atmosphere as a [GHG] waste dump.”