Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Climate Change and Nuclear Power

I don't write nearly as much about climate change as I think and read about it. Others do a good job of writing about it, and I sometimes link to the better or more sensational of them. But I'm beginning to feel like more of us need to speak up.

We need more low-carbon energy. Nuclear power is low-carbon energy. This is another subject I don't write about as much as I think and read about it. The reason there is that I disagree with so many people on so many issues. There have been far too many arguments, the same ones over and over, with little illumination. Occasionally I think I have something that might cut through the hostilities, and I post that. But the fights and misinformation are usually too much. Plus I am dumb enough to be on a listserv and a discussion board where those fights are recapitulated over and over and over again.

There's another place that the topics of climate change and nuclear power intersect. Both are science-based, so there should be ways to find reasonably definitive answers to the questions that arise. Not fully definitive, perhaps, but science should provide a common ground. This all too often turns out not to be the case.

People who accept the scientific consensus that carbon dioxide is building up in the atmosphere and warming the earth frequently feel that nuclear power is dangerous and cannot be considered to replace fossil fuels in generating electricity. People who want more nuclear power frequently argue against global warming, even as they promote their views as being supported by science.

Suzy Hobbs Baker calls foul on the latter group today. It's a post well worth reading, on the American Nuclear Society website.

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