What is holding up the elimination of carbon emissions from our energy usage? Is it the lack of a suitable alternative sources of clean energy? Is it opposition by powerful fossil fuel companies? Or something else? It may surprise you to learn that we already have adequate clean energy options to eliminate emissions from electricity usage. Using nuclear power — which provides 60% of all clean energy in the U.S — as base load power, combined with solar, wind, hydro and geothermal, we could have 100% clean electricity today! Unfortunately, leaders of a few of the mainstream environmental groups choose to reject the use of nuclear power — defying most of the scientific and energy community — and seek to limit our options to just the use of renewables. The idea may be aesthetically appealing but, because of their intermittency, experts say using just renewables doesn’t remotely pencil out to do the job. Which means that opposition to nuclear power may well be our biggest obstacle to reducing emissions right now. Increasingly, environmentalists and public leaders who crunch the numbers are agreeing. This is our compilation of bibliographic references regarding the broadening and increasingly urgent rejection of antinuclear rhetoric, thinking and policies..
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, participated in a discussion in Germany with Berlin-based publisher Axel Springer and other auto industry leaders, hosted by Germany’s Bild am Sonntag in which Musk said sourcing the clean energy necessary to power EVs would become the biggest obstacle to electric vehicle adoption over the next two decades. With the likelihood that the world’s electricity consumption doubles as EVs become the norm, Musk acknowledged that the additional energy needs created by that, combined our increased reliance on digital devices for increasing numbers of applications will create massive demand for nuclear, solar, wind, and geothermal energy solutions if sustainability is to be entertained. Cautioning that sometimes the wind doesn’t blow and the sun won’t shine on the vast solar arrays being installed, Musk noted to his German audience that, in fact, he did not oppose nuclear energy and went so far as to suggest it might even be necessary if we’re to meet tomorrow’s need for electricity — which he said would double by 2040.
David Roberts speaks with Suzy Hobbs Baker and Jessica Lovering on July 15 to chat about their new group, Good Energy Collective (GEC), about the values that distinguish it from other groups in the nuclear space, and the prospects for advanced nuclear plants to play a role in the climate fight. GEC identifies as being anchored in the progressive movement and not in the energy think tank space. They are focused on community-level engagement and seek to develop tools and processes to help communities figure out what they want for their low-carbon energy future. Even if they don’t want nuclear. The group is more focused on enabling equitable processes so people can make their own choices as to which technologies are the best for them, which fits much better with the environmental-justice agenda and methods. GEC won’t be trying to select among technologies but will focus on the social science of giving communities process and choice.
Daniel Swain, Researcher, UCLA, and Research Fellow, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Gerardo Ceballos, Professor, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Jennifer Francis, Research Professor I, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, Ryan Sriver, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, Stefan Doerr, Professor, Swansea University, and Zeke Hausfather, Director of Climate and Energy, The Breakthrough Institute responded to the article published by Michael Shellenberger in various media outlets, including Forbes, Zero Hedge, Breitbart, PJ Media, The Daily Wire, The Australian, and Quillette. The article has been shared more than 200,000 times on social media since it was published, according to Buzzsumo and it has raised a considerable amount of controversy. Forbes unpublished the article on the same day it was published for violating editorial guidelines around self-promotion. In the article, Shellenberger, who is promoting a new book, outlines a series of claims about climate change. The reviewers describe how several of these claims are accurate or partially accurate. However, others are inaccurate and mislead readers by lacking context and cherry-picking data while overlooking other relevant scientific studies.
Michael Shellenberger is the founder of Environmental Progress. Shellenberger definitely has become known for an acerbic style and makes some shocking statements but he has a legitimate gripe with environmentalism. He is one of the originators of the Ecomodernist theory which makes the unique social justice case that most all of the “green” solutions that environmentalists prescribe to solve for climate change—conservation, efficiency, dilute and unreliable renewables or overly expensive energy (think redundant solar+wind generation plus batteries), in fact penalize the poorest and most under-served humans on the planet and, in fact, degrade the environment more than is necessary.What he advocates for are solutions that allow technology to solve our problems by providing abundant, dense and cheap energy, so all humanity can have equal access to higher-quality lives. Shellenberger believes that traditional nuclear, when built efficiently using a consistent design, is the best there is if what we want is the most energy, without emissions and with the smallest ecologic footprint.
Mr. Moore makes a strong case in support of the Trump Administration’s proposed lifting a longtime ban on financing the construction of nuclear power plants in developing countries. The proposal would allow the Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the United States’ new development bank, to fund advanced nuclear power in Liberia, among other emerging economies in sub-Saharan Africa and around the world. Mr. Moore argues that developing countries like Liberia cannot meet commitments to net-zero emissions and achieve reliable grids that can meet the growing demand of these under-served populations without nuclear power.
Countries like Canada cannot meet commitments to net-zero emissions by 2050 without the whole suite of available low-emission technologies, including nuclear power.That was the consensus ofexpertsfrom various sectors – including the renewable energy sector – at panel discussions on energy transformations at last week’s Globe 2020 conference. “If we want to achieve our net-zero target for 2050, it’s impossible to achieve it without nuclear,” said Christyne Tremblay, deputy minister of Natural Resources Canada while discussing the convergence of nuclear power and hydrogen.
The International Energy Agency announced that energy-related emissions from 2019 had unexpectedly flatlined, despite the expansion of the global economy. That plateau—with emissions steady at 33 gigatonnes on the year—could serve as a potent symbol that emissions can successfully be decoupled from economic growth, largely by advanced countries switching away from coal, the most emitting source of power, to gas, nuclear, and renewables. The challenge now is to make 2019 the “definitive peak” in emissions, rather than another pause in growth, and the way to do this, it to make sure that we utilize all types of clean energy technology to continue the transition. The IEA has frequently advocated that nuclear power must be one of the energy sources used in the switch to clean energy, particularly to provide the scale and the base load that renewable sources still struggle to offer consistently.