I have been writing a couple of comments to an open letter Mark Lynas wrote together with George Monbiot, Stephen Tindale, Fred Pearce, and Michael Hanlon to British Prime Minister Cameron at Lynas’ blog.
The letter has this to say:
“Whilst we enthusiastically support research into new technologies, the deployment of renewables, demand-management and efficiency, these combined cannot, without the help of atomic energy, power a modern energy-hungry economy at the same time as reducing carbon emissions.”
It later continues with this gem:
“In addition, if anyone has yet invented an inexpensive low-carbon energy source, we have yet to hear about it – Friends of the Earth today campaigns vociferously in favour of the retention of the solar feed-in-tariff, which delivers perhaps the most expensive, unreliable and socially regressive electricity ever deployed anywhere.”
As I mentioned in one of my comments at Lynas’ blog, “the most expensive, unreliable and socially regressive electricity ever deployed anywhere” does not impress me as “enthusiastic support”.
If anyone wants to support nuclear energy with the argument that it helps with the global warming issue, they better show some real enthusiasm for deploying renewable. Else I will just dismiss them as part of the problem. And those that think nuclear has problems with radiation, waste storage, cost, and proliferation that are more serious than global warming will do so even more.
In other words, anybody without actual and true enthusiasm for deploying renewable energy as fast as possible completely ruins the strongest pro-nuclear argument. This will backfire, as well it should.
And it shows the real damage nuclear does to the climate. It turns around people who in a world without nuclear in the first place would be really “enthusiastically supporting” the only remaining solution into enemies of the climate standing in the way. That is much more serious than a 0.5% increase in cancer risk twenty years in the future which might or might not exist.
This damage to the “enthusiastic support” for the renewable solution is very real and very serious.
Just to avoid any misunderstandings, my position now is that I don’t care either way about deployment of nuclear.
One last point. If you want to oppose renewable energy because you prefer playing with plutonium in deadly Integral Fast Reactors, then say so openly so people can understand your position. Don’t misrepresent it with “enthusiastically support” when you are actually opposed.
And while I’m at it, the list of countries with a high percentage of renewable energy in their electricity generation I compiled on Sunday clearly shows that, yes, one can power a modern energy-hungry economy with renewable only, if one is so inclined. It is done in lots of places already.