The Global Warming Crowd and No Nukes c. 1977

Nah, he’s got us, BG, might as well give it up. I told you the tie-dye shirts and hand-dipped candles were a dead giveaway!

Actually, I challenge the use of the word Drastic. I do not believe the proposal are all that drastic. Mainly it means a increase in fuel efficiency in cars and trucks, higher energy costs and far more, more efficient appliances and planting more trees. Additionally, a large increase in Nuclear, Solar & Wind power. Why is this so drastic?

We can make the change-over without serious pain to our economy. It is a matter of adopting a wide range of solutions.


I don’t think the no nukes crowd is the same as the global warming crowd. No nukes wasn’t supported by a scientific consensus, for example.

Edit - Ok, I see what you did there. You’re not trying to undermine global warming, just the people who say we ought to try to do something about it. Sure, some people have proposed ridiculous solutions. There’s nothing drastic about a lot of the greenhouse emition solutions, though.

Agreed. This is subjective, but I always felt the better educated Greens were less likely to be anti-nuke and just much more in favor of alternatives and proper disposal of nuclear waste.

The extreme Greens were also usually against dams, quite often more so than nuclear. Dams often lead to a much more drastic immediate ecological impact in a localized area than nuclear power plants and their waste did. This was often recognized and these greens usually made dams public enemy one and nuclear plants #2.


Well, there’s a tactical point to be made here too - that the Greens should learn that mounting scare campaigns and getting ahead of the science doesn’t do their cause any favors, because when real issues come along, they’ve lost credibility.

There have been far too many environmental ‘scares’ in the past few decades driven by ignorant activists which have damaged the credibility of the environmental movement. Protests against Alar, a premature demand to remove asbestos from schools, DDT, ‘global cooling’, the Population Bomb, you name it.

I was active in defending nuclear power in the 1980’s. Many nuclear activists, then and now, were irrational and ignorant. For example, remember the protests against the launch of Cassini, because it had a radioisotope thermal generator on it? And subsequent protests when it made a gravity slinghot approach some time later? Totally irrational.

Nuclear power has always been far safer than the anti-nuke crowd makes it out to be (in comparison to realistic alternatves), and the waste problem less severe than the anti-nuke crowd makes it out to be. Three Mile Island was blown way out of proportion, and to this day if you asked people what happened there and how many people were injured I’ll bet you’d get lots of wildly inflated answers.

I’m glad the environmental movement is coming around. I also wish their were more people in it willing to tell their more wild-eyed compatriots to tone it down, and not excommunicate the ones who did (like Bjorn Lomborg or the ex-head of Greenpeace).

No…had we listend to the hairy freaks we’d be back to living in caves and trading shell fish for bear skins. Thanks, but no thanks.

I think your point on science that doesn’t make money doesn’t get money is a bit off the mark as well. Unless I’m mistaken there isn’t a lot of money to be made in climate studies…yet that seems to be getting funded quite nicely…even here in the US, mecca for capitalists and exploiters world wide (a going concern since 1776).

Its really beside the point however…we were talking about nuclear energy. Do you disagree with the OP…or did you just want to snipe at me from the shadows? Whats your take on this…not your criticism of MY take on it? Do you think the eco-bunnies (or however you think of them) were right and nuclear energy is an evil that must be stopped? Or…well, what?

Even American’s can’t ignore reality…unfortunately. Well, let me rephrase that…we can only ignore it for so long before it bites us squarely on the ass. This is a perfect example of that concept in action. Because we could indulge the eco-fanatical fringe we chose not to develop our nuclear power industry…and now we are fully dependent on CO2 generated power.

IIRC non-CO2 generated power in the US makes up something like 20% of the total. So…we are essentially fucked unless we want to go back to living in caves, etc etc. Simply put it will cost billions (trillions? No idea) to replace all those CO2 generating power plants and switch them to cleaner types in the time frames we are appearently talking about.

Solar, wind, geothermal, etc are not going to be able to scale up fast enough (or at all in some of those technologies cases) to make a difference if the global warming crowd are right…we don’t HAVE decades to replace those plants with cleaner plants as their life cycles end and they are naturally replaced. They need to be replaced NOW (again, according to the GW crowd)…oh yeah, and we also need to replace our personal transport fuel of choice too.

If we HAD a large scale nuclear power generation capability in place (i.e. had your eco-bunnies gotten the hell out of the way) we’d have one less problem to confront now. Sort of like Milli-Ways, we’d only need to do 4 impossible things instead of 5 before lunch.

If not us, who ehe? Well, there are the French and the South Africian’s I suppose. They seem to be going great guns with this whole evil nuclear energy business. And no two headed children yet afaik.

While I disagree with some of his conclusions I will say I agree with one of his points whole heartedly…it’s all about trade offs.


Just to be clear, we are all in agreement that the drivers behind the global warming awareness are a fundamentally different group of people that drove the anti-nuke campaign? The first is scientists and their like, and the second were tree hugging hippies.

Do you have any evidence of this? My impression is when it has been looked at carefully, the evidence seems to show that nuclear power stalled mainly because it was too expensive relative to fossil fuels. And, the reason it did much better in France is because fossil fuels there were much more expensive.

I suppose we could have subsidized the hell out of nuclear energy to an even greater extent than we did…but I hardly believe that is the best solution. (For one thing, it leads to energy being further underpriced, which is really the root of our problem.) Alternatively, we could have taxed and otherwise stopped subsidizing fossil fuels so much, but I don’t think this approach was politically viable and it certainly wasn’t the greens who were stopping this from happening.

I’ve always had this impression as well. During the California electricity deregulation, the San Onofre nuclear plant was considered a “stranded asset”–that is, an asset which it was deemed would be uncompetitive in a deregulated market. Leaving aside all the price fixing and manipulation that went on in the deregulation, it seems to me that there is a widespread perception in the private energy sector that nuclear power is uncompetitive economically.

To be clear here, I am suggesting that the environmental movement, or specifically the “No Nukes” contingent thereof, labors under a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” disadvantage here.

There are a wide range of proposed actions to be taken in response to AGW, and many are reasonable. Some are extreme, and it’s the group that tends to support the more extreme proposals that I find a congruence with the No Nukes crowd of yore.

I accept the strong evidence of human-caused global warming – I don’t agree that we can or should target 34% of our energy needs from wind power.

Without directly addressing the merits of the points you’ve offered above, I would note that objections of similar scope and complexity can be raised to our current wind power technologies, our current biodiesel technology, and our current solar technologies. Yet the answer to these questions is, in general, “Yes – and that’s why we need to work hard to solve those problems!” Why is our “collective creative force” sufficient to create solutions for the world, except if those solutions use nuclear power? Why is our collective creative force and our abilty to innovate solutions the rest of the world can use considered off limits in this one area of endeavor?

34% our all our energy needs from wind power? Yeah, I’m going to stick with “drastic.”

I’ve mentioned a couple of times the idea that we should target wind power for over a third of our energy needs as an example of a drastic change, and it is, obviously, an idea that engenders skepticism in me. My skepticism arises from the track record of Greenpeace, as well as a simple look at our energy needs and the amount of wind in the world.

What solutions would work better? Well, I think I hinted that I favored nuclear power as a carbon-efficient solution.

Indeed, which is why people on all sides of the argument about these technologies are not unreasonable, which I took to be your question.

Because of the inherent limitations of nuclear power, namely that it is related to nuclear weapons technology and requires large, unflexible plants. AFAIC, neither of those limitations can be innovated away. But I think that is actually the weakest argument of the three.

My position is that people that conclude that nuclear power solutions are not possible, while brushing away similar technology objections about other sources of power with the confident reply that with study and innovation, we can solve those problems, are in fact unreasonable.

Does it? We seem to manage to power submarines with nuclear power plants that don’t have to be the size of a stadium.

Cite Please.

I have never seen a plan I would call realistic that included 34% from Wind Power. That is a pipe dream at this point. Where did you see this?

We need to get about 10 to 12% from Wind and Solar. This should be possible.

We should aim to get another 10-20% from Nuclear.

We should be paying the piper to make and remake clean or at much cleaner coal burning plants.

Auto Emissions is a large wedge. This could reduce our overall impact (sorry, I am fuzzy on the numbers) somewhere in the 5-10% range.

Much more efficient houses, lighting and appliances can reduce our electrical needs or at least counter the annual increase in consumption.

Cleaner Jets will actually make a small impact, if we are lucky in the 1-2% range.

Increased use of Geothermal heating will make a small impact.

Increased Hydroelectric might help. I have no clue on this one.

Forgive me, I am missing a few pieces going from memory. I hope this give you the general idea of the real recommendations I have seen.

Of Course Sierra Club and Green Peace are still against the increased nuclear use and so their projections are probably closer to what you consider drastic. I would have to see and review their plans to pass my own judgment on them. I suspect they are not completely realistic. However, they are not the only plans being presented by a long shot.



(Warning: PDF file)

Page 8, left-hand column, fourth bullet up from the bottom of the page:

Seems reasonable to me. But you’re saying 12% from wind AND solar. The report I quoted is targeting an end goal (2050) of 34% wind and 18% solar, which would be 52% wind and solar. 52%! That seems… drastic.

Well here is a Green that agrees with you. The Green Peace plan is unrealistic at this point. I would not classifiy it as drastic as much as nearly impossible in the near future and not even likely in the next 30 years base on my reading.

I have solar panels on my house. I am a huge proponent of Wind and Solar. Generating 52% of our energy needs from these sources is not feasible at this time.

BTW: No need for the sigh, I was not saying you were wrong, I just wanted to see what you were basing it on.

I do note in reviewing the article and the section on page 8 that is does say **by 2050. **

This is without question about the best we can hope for, but it is not impossible. Advances in technologies indicate this is within the realm of possibility. The real problem is, if we follow the scientific consensus report, we need to start seriously reducing our emissions in the next 10 years. We cannot use Solar and Wind a majority part of this now.


Yes, and I noted that as well in my comments to you:

I have a close friedn who has cancer. This person believes that accupuncture in concert with herbal remedies will cure the cancer, or at least reduce its impact. I love this person, but I think this is very unlikely to help. In addition, this person has often stated a belief in astrology and psychic phenomenon.

Does this mean that cancer is not a problem?