To some environmentalists, the choice is quickly coming down to building more nuclear power plants or allowing the human species to die.
Today’s New York Times reports on “growing cracks in what had been a virtually solid wall of opposition to nuclear power among most mainstream environmental groups.” Rising concern over the destructive power of global warming has forced new life-death calculations.
According to The Times, several environmental leaders have written recently that nuclear power represents the only fuel source capable of meeting human civilization’s demands for energy without the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.
Stewart Brand, a founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, tells The Times:
“It’s not that something new and important and good had happened with nuclear. It’s that something new and important and bad has happened with climate change.”
And in MIT’s Technology Review this month, Brand writes:
“Everything must be done to increase energy efficiency and decarbonize energy production.” [Alternatives, such as solar power, wind energy and conservation, have to be encouraged, too.]
“But add them all up and it’s just a fraction of enough…. The only technology ready to fill the gap and stop the carbon-dioxide loading is nuclear power.”
Technology Review also has an enlightening back-and-forth between Brand and Joseph Romm, a former U.S. Energy Department official. Romm says much more can be done with the alternatives to nuclear power.
The debate over energy alternatives has to stick to the facts. Throw out the ideology and avoid the hysteria. If the facts show climate change has pushed the human race to the edge of a cliff, emergency measures are required. If not, let’s look for better options.