Paris Climate Change Conference

Environmentalists Need to Get Real: The Nuclear Power Solution to Climate Change

Opposing nuclear power is not climate friendly



"Don't Nuke the Climate" is one of the more idiotic slogans being bandied about by activists at the Paris climate conference. Even James Hansen, the godfather of climate change concern, has argued in an open letter in 2013 which stated:

While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power

We understand that today's nuclear plants are far from perfect. Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new plants much safer. And modern nuclear technology can reduce proliferation risks and solve the waste disposal problem by burning current waste and using fuel more efficiently. Innovation and economies of scale can make new power plants even cheaper than existing plants. Regardless of these advantages, nuclear needs to be encouraged based on its societal benefits.

Over the weekend, entrepreneur Peter Thiel published an op-ed, "The New Atomic Age We Need," in the New York Times that reinforces the point:

Wind and solar together provide less than 2 percent of the world's energy, and they aren't growing anywhere near fast enough to replace fossil fuels.

What's especially strange about the failed push for renewables is that we already had a practical plan back in the 1960s to become fully carbon-free without any need of wind or solar: nuclear power….

In fact, in the 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission projected that 1,000 nuclear power plants would be running in the U.S. by 2000. Think how much that would have lowered U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, there are only about 100 operating now. It is also worth noting that the host country, France, derives 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. By opposing nuclear power, environmentalists helped in large measure to create the problem they now claim is destroying the world. Thiel continues:

The single most important action we can take is thawing a nuclear energy policy that keeps our technology frozen in time. If we are serious about replacing fossil fuels, we are going to need nuclear power, so the choice is stark: We can keep on merely talking about a carbon-free world, or we can go ahead and create one.

We already know that today's energy sources cannot sustain a future we want to live in.

Anyone who claims to be worried about future man-made climate change and who still opposes modern nuclear power is not serious and should be ignored.