In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.
Now, I don't agree that we're going to see catastrophic human-caused climate change; but I'm ecstatic that a man of Moore's stature is taking a stand in favor of nuclear power.
MadameBoffin commented on this post:
I wouldn't crow too hard. Nuclear energy is being uptaken by many "greenies" simply because it's a better short-term option than coal and we're running out of time before climate change becomes more than what we all bargained for. We still haven't come up with a satisfactory way of removing nuclear waste :)
Dear Madame Boffin,
I check out each correspondent's Blogger profile, if available. I was interested to see that one of your favorite books is "Dune". That is on my top shelf of all-time favorite novels. I've even read it aloud to my wife.
I also enjoy Crichton enormously, though my favorites from his word processor are "Jurassic Park", "The Andromeda Strain", "Rising Sun", and "Disclosure". I've read "Disclosure" twice and both times I read it straight through in one sitting.
Regarding my "crowing": I can well believe that the green crowd looks with some distaste on atomic power as the lesser of two evils when compared with fossil fuels. My admiration for the stance taken by Moore is based quite a bit on how much he's gone through to make it.
I'm with Jerry Pournelle regarding the use of computer models to predict global warming patterns. Specifically, if somebody can come up with a computer model to explain both 1) the establishment of dairy farms in Greenland by Vikings a thousand years ago (which are still down there under the ice), and 2) the freezing over of the Zuyder Zee (salt water), the Thames, and the Hudson during the "Little Ice Age", I would be far more inclined to take the human-caused global warming arguments more seriously.
I've seen some doozies presented as evidence by those with some sort of vested interest in seeing the U.S. and Western Europe hobbled vs. the rest of the world. What I haven't seen from these people is a serious attempt to refute the findings of scientists that have shown that North America ABSORBS more carbon dioxide than it emits.
I don't mean to play games with such a serious subject; however, it seems to me, that there is enough contrary evidence of anthro-centric global warming to warrant extensive investigations into the causes of warming rather than extensive expenditures to limit the effects of same when we're not sure what's really causing it.
I am not blind nor am I deaf. I've seen the reports about glaciers melting and the tundra defrosting and the north polar ice cap retreating. But is it because of the greenhouse effect as exacerbated by humans? Might it be due to increased solar activity or natural changes to the temperature of the ocean currents? That's what I wanna know but it's something that nobody in the environmental movement seems to want to discover.
One more thing regarding a "satisfactory" way of removing nuclear waste. Here, again, I have to agree with Pournelle: vitrification of the waste and dumping into a crustal subduction zone in a deep ocean trench, say in the Phillipines.
The Town Crank