Bibliographic References through 2015
The Guardian, Nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change, by James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira and Tom Wigley, December 3, 2015
Four esteemed climate scientists explain why, to solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not prejudice. They explain why it is that, along with expanding renewables, we need to expand nuclear power, if we don’t want to risk missing crucial climate targets.
Real Clear Energy, How About Suing Bill McKibben for Racketeering? by William Tucker, November 15, 2015
This article attests to the fact that Bill McKibben is literally afraid to show his support for nuclear power. “After McKibben gave his rousing speech to an enthusiastic audience, I was able to grab him for a moment in back of the little makeshift stage. I asked him about nuclear power. He admitted that nuclear was going to be necessary if we were ever to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. “Why don’t you come out favorably in public for nuclear power, then?” I asked. He surveyed the hillside, almost half the people crusading against Vermont Yankee. “If I came out in favor of nuclear,” he said, “it would split this movement in half.” So there you have it. McKibben, like many other environmentalists, knows in his heart that there isn’t much chance of reducing carbon output without nuclear. But he does not want to be caught saying so where donors might hear.
Center for Science and Policy, CLIMATE CHANGE: A RISK ASSESSMENT by David King, Daniel Schrag, Zhou Dadi, Qi Ye and Arunabha Ghosh. Project Manager: Simon Sharpe, edited by James Hynard and Tom Rodger, June 14, 2015
The most important decision any government has to make about climate change is one of priority: how much effort to expend on countering it, relative to the effort that must be spent on other issues. This risk assessment aims to inform that decision. CONCLUSIONS OF THE RISK ASSESSMENT: A climate change risk assessment must consider at least three areas: the future pathway of global emissions; the direct risks arising from the climate’s response to those emissions; and the risks arising from the interaction of climate change with complex human systems. Each of these areas contains large uncertainties. From our assessment, we draw the following conclusions about the most significant risks. DIRECT RISKS: The risks of climate change are non-linear: while average conditions may change gradually, the risks can increase rapidly. On a high emissions pathway, the probability of crossing thresholds beyond which the inconvenient may become intolerable will increase over time. SYSTEMIC RISKS: The risks of climate change are systemic. The greatest risks may arise from the interaction of the climate with complex human systems such as global food markets, governance arrangements within states, and international security. VALUE: Valuing these risks is essentially a subjective exercise. Any valuation of the risks of climate change will involve subjective judgments, most notably with regard to the importance attached to the wellbeing of future generations. Such judgments should be made transparently, so that they may be publicly debated.
New York Times, Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says, by Carl Zimmer, January 16, 2015
A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. “We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research.
Forbes, If You’re Concerned About Climate Change, You Should Support Nuclear Power, by Carol Browner, May 5, 2014
Carol Browner, former senior White House EPA Administrator in the Clinton Administration and Director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy in the Obama Administration, explains how important it is to be able to reevaluate one’s thinking about nuclear, in light of the warnings from the world’s leading climate scientists that global warming is real and must be addressed immediately. This news changes the calculus on whether it makes sense to oppose our most powerful clean, low-carbon energy source.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES),Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power, Doug Vine and Timothy Juliani, April 2014
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. They issued this report in 2014, to warn policy makers that closing nuclear power plants will make it harder to meet U.S. climate goals.
New York Times, Dot Earth Blog, To Those Influencing Environmental Policy But Opposed to Nuclear Power, By Andrew C. Revkin, November 3, 2013
Four renowned scientists, Kenneth Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Kerry Emanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, James E. Hansen of Columbia University and Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Adelaide wrote a now famous letter pressing the case for environmental groups to embrace the need for a new generation of nuclear power plants. The letter begins: “To those influencing environmental policy but opposed to nuclear power: As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems. We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change. We call on your organization to support the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as a practical means of addressing the climate change problem. Global demand for energy is growing rapidly and must continue to grow to provide the needs of developing economies. At the same time, the need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions is becoming ever clearer. We can only increase energy supply while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions if new power plants turn away from using the atmosphere as a waste dump.” (Continue reading To Those Influencing Environmental Policy But Opposed to Nuclear Power here.)
California Energy Commission, California’s Energy Future: The View to 2050 (PDF), California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), Jane C.S. Long (Co-Chair), May 2011
This report “California’s Energy Future – the View to 2050” was funded by the California Energy Commission, the S.D. Bechtel Foundation and the California Air Resources Board and summarized the findings of two years of study by a committee of volunteers from major energy research institutions in the state. The report found that nuclear power could provide constant, reliable emission-free energy with a much lower and more easily met requirement for load balancing.
TEDTalk, Bill Gates: Innovating to Zero, TED2010 presentation by former Microsoft founder and CEO, Bill Gates
Listen to Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, describe his vision for the world’s energy future, why he hopes his backing a dramatically different type of nuclear reactor will produce an energy miracle. The goal? Zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.
The OECD Observer, Climate change: The case for nuclear energy, by Luis Echávarri, Director-General, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, March 2008
Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a key objective of energy policies in many countries. As energy consumption will continue to increase in the medium and long term, even if the recent financial crisis might curtail this rise momentarily, there is a general consensus on the need to foster the development and use of all carbon-free options for energy supply. No surprise therefore that policy makers from many countries should be expressing a new (or renewed) interest in nuclear energy as a means to address climate change issues. This is because countries producing electricity with nuclear clearly feel they would benefit from carbon emissions savings as nuclear energy substitutes fossil sources. However, nuclear energy was excluded from the two international flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, i.e., the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Joint Implementation (JI). The upcoming 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be held on 7-18 December in Copenhagen, will have to discuss in particular the post-Kyoto design of the CDM. This mechanism allows developing countries to receive the benefits for greenhouse gas reductions they achieve on behalf of developed countries with commitments to reductions. It also plays an important role in facilitating foreign direct investment and technology transfer. Given the challenges, this is surely the right moment to take a closer look at the role nuclear energy can play in this context.
France has become a world leader in nuclear energy and now has one of the lowest levels of CO2 emissions per capita in the world. Its production of nuclear power has steadily increased since 1973, going from about 20 TWh (billion kilowatt hours) to 425 TWh (in 2003). Today, 59 nuclear plants produce 78 percent of the entire country’s electricity, and France is the largest exporter of nuclear electricity in the European Union.
Science, Climate Sensitivity Uncertainty and the Need for Energy Without CO2 Emission, by Ken Caldeira, Atul K. Jain, and Martin I. Hoffert March 28, 2003
Abstract: The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change calls for “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” Even if we could determine a “safe” level of interference in the climate system, the sensitivity of global mean temperature to increasing atmospheric CO2 is known perhaps only to a factor of three or less. Here we show how a factor of three uncertainty in climate sensitivity introduces even greater uncertainty in allowable increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration and allowable CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, unless climate sensitivity is low and acceptable amounts of climate change are high, climate stabilization will require a massive transition to CO2 emission–free energy technologies.
World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity (1992) by the Union of Concerned Scientists (now available as Supplemental file S1 re-issued as a pdf in the 2017 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Noticein November 2017), signed initially by 1,575 (now 1700) of the world’s most prominent scientists (including 99 of the 196 living Nobel laureates), and sent to governmental leaders all over the world.
“World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”
The document asks people to take immediate action to stop the ever-increasing environmental degradation that threatens global life support systems on this planet. The appeal was coordinated by Dr. Henry Kendall, Nobel laureate (1990, Physics), and former Chairperson of the Union of Concerned Scientists. This letter to world leaders started by saying: “Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about. It went on to assess the state of the Environment, the Atmosphere, Water Resources, Oceans, Soil, Forests, Tropical rain forests, Living Species, Population, and issued a warning about what must be done in order to prevent continuing declines in the state of the world. The UCS-led letter contained specific recommendations: “We must, for example, move away from fossil fuels to more benign, inexhaustible energy sources to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of our air and water. … We must stabilize population.”
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Civilian Nuclear Power . . . A Report to the President — 1962, by its chairman, Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, November 20th, 1962
This is a 67 page report on Civilian Nuclear Power produced for President John F. Kennedy in 1962, in response to his official written request, given the recognition that nuclear energy could yield large economic advantages for the generation of electric power and conservation of the “finite supply of fossil fuels.”