Sunday, April 24, 2011

Big E, little e

I have felt left out before, and it hurt... but this time, I am not hurt so much as alarmed.

I would not be welcome in the Environmentalist crowd. I do not subscribe to their creed, nor am I willing to be swayed by their dogma.
To an Environmentalist, nuclear power is dirty dirty dirty. It is something to be despised, and use of it opposed with passion.
A bona fide Environmentalist is left of liberal, and has an abiding hatred for anything even remotely associated with Ayn Rand.
A big E Environmentalist believes that the technology already exists to replace existing fossil fuel generated electricity with solar, wind and other renewables... and that we can do it in time to avoid catastrophic global warming.
A big E Environmentalist seems to be playing a zero sum game... that talking about adaptation should be avoided because you should be talking about mitigation. Nor should you talk about carbon capture... I haven't figured out why for that one yet.
A big E Environmentalist has a strict form of PC. Maybe call it EC.

A little e environmentalists looks at what's rational, reasonable and scientifically sound.
An environmentalist doesn't let personal politics cloud their view of what's needed to protect natural resources. Well, at least they try!  OK... little e environmentalists are like a herd of cats.

There currently is no workable plan to save humanity from climate chaos. We need one. A Global Plan.  A reasonable and workable Global Plan will include nuclear power as a bridge to get us off of fossil fuels.
It may contain provisions for geoengineering. It certainly will address adaptation. Without carbon capture, an evolving and immature technology,  we are likely to go over the 2C threshold.

Will Environmentalists oppose such a plan? I fear they might, and that's what alarms me.

Meanwhile the tornado swarms in the midwest are historic, as is the drought and fires in Texas.
2011 is looking like it's going to compete with the chaos of 2010.

Here's an excellent opinion piece that says it better than I can:

For the green movement, which is often justifiably accused of making the perfect the enemy of the good, having to confront real-world choices about energy technologies is painful. Most environmentalists assert that a combination of renewables and efficiency can decarbonize our energy supply and save us both from global warming and the presumed dangers of nuclear power. This is technically possible, but extremely unlikely in practice. In the messy real world, countries that decide to rely less on nuclear will almost certainly dig themselves even deeper into a dependence on dirty fossil fuels, especially coal.

In the short term, this is already happening. In Germany—whose government tried to curry favor with a strongly anti-nuclear population by rashly closing seven perfectly safe nuclear plants after the Fukushima crisis began — coal has already become the dominant factor in electricity prices once again. Regarding carbon dioxide emissions, you can do the math: Just add about 11 million tons per year for each nuclear plant replaced by a coal plant newly built or brought back onto the grid.

In China the numbers become even starker. Coal is cheap there (as are the thousands of human lives lost in extracting it each year), and if the hundred or so new nuclear plants previously proposed in China up to 2030 are not built, it is a fair bet that more than a billion tons can be added to annual global carbon dioxide emissions as a result.
Why nuclear power is still a good choice

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