About Us2019-01-18T13:08:25+00:00

We are environmentalists

The climate crisis — and our government’s prolonged inability to take meaningful action — have brought us to the brink of desperation. We are outraged that, despite decades of escalating scientific alarms and warnings, little has been done to change the trajectory of our self-destruction. In the absence of federal leadership, we are doing the best we can to find and implement solutions. We are happy about the broadening support for renewables but troubled that progress building solar and wind power is slow going and has increased reliance on natural gas. With emissions continuing to rise, we need to achieve faster action eliminating fossil fuel use. Thus, we have found ourselves re-examining nuclear energy.  Despite our prior opinions—and some of us were very anti-nuclear—we now find the evidence that nuclear power is needed compelling. Given that nuclear energy provides the vast majority of our clean energy as well as the only source of reliable generation for base load energy, we can’t afford to squander this resource. As surprising as it is, the data also shows that nuclear power is the safest form of energy we have, especially when compared to burning fossil fuels.  It is clear that we absolutely need to preserve our current nuclear power, if we care to use every tool we have against climate change—which we do. We can no longer afford to be willfully misinformed or we stand to lose our battle against climate change.

Standing up for nuclear is hard, when our friends consider the topic taboo!

We launched Climate Coalition because even the word “nuclear” evokes a harsh response from many people who have long consider themselves environmentalists.  We get it: the environmental movement has benefited from the fear that generations of Americans have had about nuclear war, nuclear bombs and nuclear proliferation.  It seems every time “nuclear” is mentioned in the news media, these articles have successfully whipped up public fears and left us with really scary visual images. We vaguely think that nuclear accidents have caused millions or maybe hundreds of thousands of cancer deaths and birth deformities. This is fake news—yet with perceptions like these, it is no wonder that “nuclear” anything earns vitriol. Fortunately, the facts of nuclear energy tell a vastly different story—a story of humanity’s safest and most powerful source of clean energy—but that story doesn’t sell newspapers.  Plus, knowing this would mean that people could stop relying on fossil fuels—the most lethal form of energy we have—and this scares the fossil fuel industry, which prefers to keep whipping up the fear of nuclear.  Climate change is forcing us to revisit nuclear energy and begin to correct the inaccuracies that affect our judgment.  The Climate Coalition enables us to have that conversation and make it safe for environmentalists to show support for using nuclear power in the fight against climate change. 

Organizing Members

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Valerie GardnerFounder
Valerie Gardner earned a JD/MBA and spent the early part of her career in high tech, founding Willow Peripherals in New York CIty and WebTV Networks in Palo Alto. She co-founded Tiemann Investment Advisors in Menlo Park in 2002 to provide institutional-caliber investment management service to individual and family portfolios. Ms. Gardner began a long period of self-education about climate change in the early 2000’s and has focused both her volunteer and professional efforts on exploring effective solutions. She developed the Future Generation portfolio, a “post-carbon priced” portfolio strategy, introduced by TIA in 2014. Her search for alternative clean energy solutions led her to Stanford, Berkeley, NASA Ames, National Academy of Science classes, seminars and expert conferences where the need for nuclear energy was frequently discussed. In 2016, she co-founded the Climate Coalition with a partner, a life-long environmentalist and Sierra Club chapter president, who agreed with the need for nuclear power and helped organize the group (but who was afraid of coming out publicly in favor of nuclear power, for fear of harsh backlash by his environmental colleagues).

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Organizer 1Founding Member
This co-founder is a long-time Sierra Club president, professor, and president, past-president or active member of a long list of premier environmental advocacy groups. S/He would be easily identified should they be named. S/He believes that the top leadership of many (if not most) environmental groups has already shifted away from active opposition to nuclear power. There is more understanding about this issue than is being acknowledged publicly. They have opted to shift into muted acceptance of the need for nuclear power but are nevertheless reluctant to publicy declare this for fear of enraging the few within their ranks with hardened opposition to nuclear.

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Gary KahanakInitiating Member
Gary Kahanak has a long-standing interest in the natural sciences, public health and environmental and energy issues, beginning with a B.S. degree in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan. He has worked for the Arkansas Department of Health as a specialist in Environmental Health and Food Safety, operated a residential construction company, and helped advance the 2009 IECC residential energy code in NW Arkansas, providing energy audits, ratings and “beyond code” new home certifications. He is recently retired, and maintains a strong interest in environmental and energy policy issues. Kahanak joins the Climate Coalition as a passionate advocate of nuclear power for its clean energy, climate mitigation, economic and national security benefits. This was not always the case. Since the late 2000s, increasing certainty and severity of climate change, demonstrated failure of global energy policies, and the proven uniquely strong contributions and attributes of nuclear power led Kahanak to re-evaluate his support for it. Gary lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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Organizer 2Initiating Member
This initiating member is a professional working in the solar industry. S/He recognizes that solar and wind, however good, cannot be built out fast enough globally to address humanity’s energy needs. In order to prevent the catastrophe of climate change, not only will nuclear energy be needed, all technologies that prevent emissions are needed, including carbon capture and sequestration for fossil fuels, probably for a long time, while we build out 100% clean energy grids around the world.

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Eric SchmitzOrganizing Member
While my own personal interest is in nuclear power — I write a blog and run a Facebook page called Progressives for Nuclear Progress — I am not involved in the nuclear energy industry. Just an enthusiastic cheerleader. I am an all-hands-on-deck proponent to zero-emissions generation. The fact that The Climate Coalition specifically includes nuclear by name makes this a big win. We all need to work together. I am also a board member of Ecomodernist Communications, which produces the Ecomodernist Podcast and Soapbox.

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Ripudaman Malhotra
Ripudaman MalhotraOrganizing Member
Dr. Ripudaman Malhotra is an organic chemistry with over 35 years of experience on the chemistry of hydrocarbons and energy transformations. He was a researcher at SRI International where worked until his retirement on understanding the reactions occurring during conversions of hydrocarbon resources, including biomass. This research earned him the Storch Award from the Energy and Fuels Division of the American Chemical Society in 2015. He is an accomplished scientist, and was inducted as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2018. He co-wrote A Cubic Mile of Oil to increase energy literacy among the public and foster an informed debate about future energy choices, and he speaks frequently on subject at various universities and conferences.

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Supporting Members

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Kathy Anderson, TIA

Comment:  Happy to be a part of Cimate Coalition! Count me in!  All hands on deck.

Gary Duarte, Director, US Nuclear Energy Foundation

Comment: We have begun withdrawing from our sword fight competition of “political opinion” and media reaction. Instead, we are refocusing on documenting factual analysis of data concerning nuclear technology, Yucca Mountain and the feasibility analysis of a commercially viable reprocessing energy center which might include wind, solar, and the new (SMR) Small Modular Reactor technology. This is the type of information necessary in order to provide the grassroots public with the material they need for a “RE-BRANDED” knowledge of nuclear technology.

Mark Duffett, Tasmania, Australia

Richard Steeves, Rethinking Nuclear

Dr. Steeves is an Emeritus Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine with interest in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and the severity of future climate change. Since 2010 he has been leading a discussion group, called “Pathways to a Sustainable Planet,” for the University’s Participatory Learning and Teaching Organization. His experience in handling X-rays and radioactive isotopes, both in the USA and at the Curie Institute in Paris, prepared him for delving into the potential benefits of atomic energy for solving our impending climate crisis. Cleaning up our generation of electricity is a good way to start, for transportation as well as for home and industrial use.

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