We are environmentalists and we’ve been searching for ways to prevent carbon emissions from destroying our future. We have looked far and wide for scalable clean energy solutions and, somehow, we have each found our way over to an overlooked industry that already provides tons of energy without emitting carbon: NUCLEAR POWER. “Oh Sh*t . . .” has been heard more than once at our reactions to this re-discovery.
We literally arrive at this realization in a state of shock. It goes against our well ingrained instincts to look at all positively about nuclear anything. Yet, once here, we realize that there really is a technology solution that could save us and there are many experts who agree! Nuclear energy is everything we need and could literally take the place of fossil fuels, providing the clean baseload power our planet needs, working alongside with other clean but dilute and intermittent energy sources like solar and wind!!
We then had to spend time learning more about nuclear, really drilling down into the details with the experts, studying the whys and wherefores, but we’ve each come through that exploration realizing that, despite what people tend to think, nuclear is actually exactly what we need to solve climate change . . . and the advances that are being proposed and developed even now, will bring nuclear power into the 21st century and improve its fit and functionality for humanity’s diverse clean energy needs even further.
It turns out that the nuclear industry is populated with a technologically sophisticated yet environmentally isolated community of brilliant engineers and professionals who are equally panicked about climate change! Many have committed their lives to an industry that generates massive quantities of clean energy because they believe that energy from atoms is our best chance of not just survival but thriving. We are drawn in by their obvious expertise and their historic achievements—having succeeded in producing the vast majority of all of the world’s clean energy to date. Yet, for so many complex reasons, they are being excluded from the climate solution conversations going on between environmentalists. Why is that?
Can we really afford to be exclusionary when the future of our planet is at stake?
We have each made our own unique journey over to the pro-nuclear camp. We have learned that every day, nuclear safely generates 20% of U.S. energy, over 60% of our carbon-free energy and has caused no American deaths (and very few from even the worst international incidents). Yet for decades, nuclear energy has been the target of environmentalists’ seemingly most urgent protests. There are taboos about even mentioning nuclear. Which explains why environmental leaders appear afraid to have anything to do with it. Except the most courageous, like Dr. James Hansen, who was the first climate scientist to testify to Congress about the risks from climate change and now advocates loudly for more nuclear energy. And Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. And many others who are joining in . . . !
We are happy to be in this kind of company. We want renewables to grow but we also now realize that we need nuclear’s dense, reliable and always-on clean power. Renewables and nuclear complement each other, they reduce risk and together they can provide a 100% zero emission solution that can end our dependence on fossil fuels. With nuclear, we can solve humanity’s demand for power while being less damaging to the natural environment. Despite the taboos and prejudices, more and more of us are realizing that to address this climate crisis, nuclear power must be supported and deployed or we will not be able to transition to 100% clean energy fast enough! In denying nuclear a role, we only let the world become dependent on natural gas, which delights the fossil fuel industry, but which dooms the climate. We reject this erroneous thinking!
Climate activists should have one goal: zero emissions. If that is true, none would choose to close our largest sources of clean energy and allow them to be replaced with gas! If zero emissions are not the goal, might it be because they have other priorities? The more we look, the more obvious it becomes that because nuclear power poses the greatest threat to fossil fuel’s continued hegemony, fossil fuel supporters have contributed to the perpetuation of misleading press designed to promote fear of nuclear.
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 grew out of the tremendous fear that generations of Americans had for nuclear war, nuclear bombs and nuclear proliferation. With every mention of the word “nuclear” in the media, our fears are reinforced. We vaguely think that nuclear accidents have caused hundreds of thousands of cancer deaths and birth deformities—yet this is truly fake news. Fortunately, the facts of nuclear energy which we learned from the experts tell a vastly different story. A proud story of a technological achievement that has yielded humanity’s safest and most powerful source of clean energy. But that story doesn’t sell newspapers. Plus, when people start to trust nuclear, they will instantly be free to stop relying on fossil fuels—and this is what keeps the fossil fuel industry up at night. So they do what they can to continue whipping up fears and opposition to nuclear.
But, the winds are changing. The huge risks posed by climate change are forcing us to revisit our views of the risks of nuclear energy, put them into perspective and begin to correct the emotional bases of our historic perceptions and see the truth that can help us restore our rational judgment. The Climate Coalition enables us to have that conversation and make it safe for environmentalists to show support for using nuclear power. Unless we succeed in clarify facts, reducing myths and calling out damaging taboo behavior while reinstating paradigms of dialog and debate, we will lose this fight. So we formed a coalition dedicated to rebuild that trust. We need to bring nuclear advocates together with environmentalists into the big green tent, so we can collaborate on finding zero emission solutions that meet the needs of every type of energy grid—some of which cannot achieve the goals unless they are nuclear-inclusive. We believe we need everyone working together to fight for our collective clean energy future. We only get one chance to achieve an emission-free future in time and we simply can’t do it if we refuse to work together.
We hope you will join us.