Spiegel Interviews Hansen: “Exit From Nuclear Power Huge Mistake For The World”

Spiegel science journalist Axel Bojanowski here interviewed James Hansen, the former director of NASA GISS and one of the most prominent warners of CO2 induced global warming.

Former NASA GISS director James Hansen calls exit from nuclear energy “a huge mistake”. Photo: NASA nasa.gov, (archived)

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan earlier this decade, Germany, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, moved at lightning speed to shut down 8 of its 17 nuclear power plants nationwide. The remaining will be taken offline within a few years. Nuclear power has had a long tradition of being villified by Germany’s vociferous environmental movement and media.

But there’s one environmental activist who thinks the move was totally wrong: James Hansen.

Today German environmentalists are taking aim at the country’s coal power. But taking Germany’s coal-fired power plants offline would put the country in a serious energy dilemma as most of the steady base line power generation would disappear and the country’s power supply would be put at the mercy of wildly fluctuating green energies.

When asked by Spiegel whether Germany’s exit from nuclear power was a mistake, Hansen replies:

It is a huge mistake for the world. Most of the countries cannot afford to go without nuclear power.”

According to Hansen, highly developed and prosperous Germany likely will be able to get by without it, but “it is not credible to think that China and India will be able wean off fossil fuels rapidly enough without nuclear energy“.

More renewable energies “a joke”

Hansen in the interview plays down the risks posed by nuclear energy, believing that they can be reduced and that “nuclear energy would be the most environmentally friendly of all energy candidates that we know of.”

When asked by Spiegel if it would not be better to invest the money in renewable energies, Hansen scoffs at the question:

More renewable energies? You’re joking. The subsidies set aside for renewable energies are forcing consumers to pay higher rates – a sort of invisible tax. The power bill keeps rising, but the customer does not know why.”

Hansen also believes that the strict opposition to CO2-free nuclear energy by environmental groups is mainly driven their quest for donations. In the interview the former GISS head appears frustrated and concerned by the appointments of anti-nuclear activists to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission – by recent Democratic presidents – and is afraid our children will be disappointed over “how foolish we were and the mess we created.”

32 responses to “Spiegel Interviews Hansen: “Exit From Nuclear Power Huge Mistake For The World””

  1. Henning Nielsen

    I guess the German Green Party now wants to hang Hansen from a windmill or burn him on a solar panel.

    1. SebastianH

      Why?

  2. John F. Hultquist

    With regard to:
    a. nuclear power — I agree;
    b. use of coal — I disagree;
    c. cAGW — I disagree;

    2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

    1. Bnice

      Idiot! Who gives a s**t what you agree or disagree with.

      1. Jeff

        Were you looking in a mirror when you typed that?
        Show a little respect and decorum. In other words, be nice.

        Thanks.

  3. yonason

    “In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan earlier this decade, Germany, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, moved at lightning speed to shut down 8 of its 17 nuclear power plants nationwide.”

    When was Germany last hit by a devastating tsunami?

    While Hansen is right about nuke electric generation, his other ideas about climate are seriously reality challenged.

    And then there are his misconceptions about nutrition. There are essential nutrients you can only get from meat. And Hansen hasn’t been getting them, it would seem.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfbxeAFk8mY

  4. Streetcred

    Hansen … is afraid our children will be disappointed over “how foolish we were and the mess we created.”

    You got that right, Hansen. Through your lies, you’ve condemned future generations to poverty and debt. Welcome the Dark Ages once again.

  5. AlecM

    Hansen and his past GISS colleagues who used Manabe and Strickland(?)’s claim of ‘negative convection’ to support in 1976 R D Cess’ bad radiative physics’ mistake** to claim 33 K GHE from atmospheric GHGs must confess to their folly, and the criminal level support for the Charney Report (AAAS) that in 1979 formulated government carbon trading to make Gore rich.

    **He claimed the ratio of -18 deg C OLR to Earth’s S-B radiation was Earth’s +15 deg C radiative emissivity – but emissivity must be for the same temperature. Hence the 33 K GHE is fake, based on claiming 60% more surface IR than reality.

    New physics is being developed to explain why: there is some GHE but it is from Latent Heat flux losses via atmospheric turbulence and radiation pressure increasing radiative entropy production rate.

    1. wert

      He claimed the ratio of -18 deg C OLR to Earth’s S-B radiation was Earth’s +15 deg C radiative emissivity – but emissivity must be for the same temperature. Hence the 33 K GHE is fake, based on claiming 60% more surface IR than reality.

      Some people keep pasting this, but I don’t get your point. The sentence does not even parse.

      The -18oC is the temperature of the conceptual effective radiating layer. The temperature of the surface (about 33K higher) is caused by the lapse rate below that, which can be attributed to properties of the atmosphere. If you don’t want to call it GHE, fine, but it is the atmosphere that makes the surface both warm and mild. Water and CO2 do affect the lapse rate.

      Also, different compositions of atmosphere have different results, though this might not as obvious as the atmospheric mass.

      1. John Brown

        There everything wrong with the concept that the lapse rate is responsible for the surface temperature on Earth. The lapse rate starts at the surface with any temperature that it assumes. The lapse rate does not define what temperature that is. The gradient is a function of thermodynamic and energetic processes from all gasses in the atmosphere.

        The so called “green house gases” do partially block some outgoing radiation, thermalize it or even are supposed to radiate “back” to the surface. But even if one was to assume that the back radiation is following the SB law, it still is dependent on the surface temperature. The back radiation is in balance with the surface temperature and acts for any temperature the surface assumes. But it is not responsible for the 15 deg C. It can be as well be -18 Deg C at the surface still with the “back radiation” switched on. Else the temperatures at the poles and in Winter are not explainable. The temperature in the atmosphere does follow the temperature at the surface and not the other way around.

  6. yonason

    While waiting for my other comment to come out of moderation, I’ll just post this comment on the possible true identity of Herr Dr. Hansen.
    http://i.imgur.com/oJBRa.jpg

    1. Jeff

      Hmmm. Are donuts vegan? 🙂

      1. yonason

        No reason they can’t be.

        Every reason they shouldn’t. ;-[)

  7. RAH

    Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

  8. RAH

    When Hansen was head of the NASA GISS in NYC he was the lead government official for projecting climate doom.  In 1988 Hansen was scheduled to testify before a Senate committee on “Climate Change”.  The hearing was set up by then Democrat Senator from Colorado, Timothy Wirth. First Wirth found out what was historically the hottest day of the summer in DC and then scheduled the hearing for that day.  Then the night before the testimony Wirth opened all the windows in the chamber to negate the air conditioning so it would be hot in the chamber. Wirth was very proud of that. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/interviews/wirth.html

  9. RAH

    Then there is this from 2009. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/jan/18/jim-hansen-obama
    “Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama’s first administration, he added.”

  10. Newminster

    I’m sorry, James, but you have nobody but yourself to blame for this.

    You allowed yourself to be conned by Wirth and ultimately by Gore whose objective — along with the environmental “community” — was more to do with the destruction of modern civilisation and the abolition of wealth than any concerns about global warming.
    (To be fair to Gore he was probably more interested in enriching himself than in saving the planet but he was never one to miss out on the ride on a bandwagon, especially one he had helped to start rolling himself.)

    Why do you think the eco-fascists are as opposed to nuclear power as they are to fossil-fuel power? They are opposed to cheap, reliable energy in any form and your demonisation of CO2 — for which many of us said, and honest scientists are now starting to prove, you never had a shred of empirical evidence — provided them with the perfect basis for their Cause.

    There is no point now in looking to shove the genie back in the bottle. We are stuck with the consequences of your catastrophic misjudgments until the current generation of gullible politicians and rent-seeking pseudo-scientists retires and/or the general public comes to realise just how dangerous to their welfare the environmental activists really are.

    1. SebastianH

      Hurray, so you are looking forward to some kind of Idiocrazy type future? A future where the deniosphere won because of the growing stupidity of mankind?

      I sure hope you guys will some day come to terms with reality.

      1. Kenneth Richard

        I sure hope you guys will some day come to terms with reality.

        James Hansen’s reality is that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will melt so rapidly in the coming decades that we’ll get 10 feet of sea level rise by the year 2065.

        Do you agree or disagree with James Hansen’s reality?

  11. Jeff

    We have to kill the Energiewende before it kills us.

    The last Tsunami we had here in Germany was probably the Great Flood, and the only nuclear power anywhere nearby was the sun. I shudder to think (or more likely, shiver) what it would be like if the Greens manage to get coal- and gas-fired power plants shut down…..

    Here in beautiful downtown B-W we don’t get enough sun or wind to make bird-choppers cost-effective (cost-infective?).
    Not that that has stopped the Greens from trying…..

    1. RAH

      They’re never cost effective in general application because it takes more energy to produce a unit than it generates.

      1. SebastianH

        No, it doesn’t. Stop lying!

    2. yonason

      “We have to kill the Energiewende before it kills us.” – Jeff

      And they say…

      “We have to kill Capitalism before it kills us.”
      https://objectivistindividualist.blogspot.com/2017/11/did-you-know-that-4k-temperature-rise.html

      This isn’t about saving the planet from warming. It’s about “saving the planet” from personal freedom and responsibility, by enslaving the world and forcing it to live a life of deprivation in the service of a few self appointed elite.

      I repeat. The weather has NOTHING to do with it. Productivity and responsibly managed personal wealth for all is what they hate. We are at war with the arrogant, small minded, greedy and perverse of the world, and their useful idiots, who want to plunge us into permanent darkness. We must not lose!

      1. SebastianH

        BS, yonason. Is that what you tell yourself to justify the nonsense you are posting?

        You are “at war”? Only with yourselves … denialism for the sake of denialism and employing fake physics to “proof” that reality can’t be real.

        1. yonason

          Yes, we are “at war,” because they want to destroy everything good and decent. A free society whose economy is based on a free market writes laws to protect rather than coerce, to enable rather than to constrain. If you think socialism is better than that, then it is you are the one who is delusional.

          Socialism’s history is one of death, destruction and enslavement. Free market capitalism’s is one of life, building and liberation.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXqyHvr9YBM

          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-11/human-cost-socialism-power

          The side you have aligned yourself is exposed here.
          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/04/07/another-call-to-arrest-climate-deniers/

          “Adam Weinstein, of the Gawker, has added his voice to the growing list of greens, who demand a brutal authoritarian response to the vexing problem of people who have a different opinion.”

          You can deny it all you want, but the facts aren’t on your side.

          1. SebastianH

            Who are “they”? The nurses in your retirement home?

            Seriously, look at the world and get real. There is little free about the free market. 1% of the super rich own almost everything and you worry about investing in a cleaner and more sustainable future because … Because what exactly? Your fear that something is taken away from you in the process? Why?

          2. yonason

            @SebastianH 28. November 2017 at 12:33 AM

            “There is little free about the free market. 1% of the super rich own almost everything…”

            Such a good little class-struggle socialist SebH is.

            Why don’t you explain how a few rich people owning lots of stuff is a threat to my freedom to buy what I need. And while you are at it, how does terrorizing and impoverishing the other 99% of us fix the imaginary problem that you invoke to distract us from the very real threat of the socialism you are advocating?

            “…you worry about investing in a cleaner and more sustainable future because …”

            …it will be neither cleaner nor more sustainable. Socialism NEVER is!

            See Venezuela and Cuba for a couple of modern examples. And don’t get me started on the EU! For more on recent history, see here, and or here.

            “Your fear that something is taken away from you in the process? Why?”

            Socialism, SebH. Socialism. It is evil. Always has been. Always will be. The reasons are well articulated in the links I’ve provided. Want another? I’ll give Dennis Prager the last, and I think clearest, word on this.

          3. yonason

            Yet again my comment has disappeared, so here are a couple of educational videos to watch until it gets posted.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKhR9i5CGkA

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCIdm3cM6zQ

          4. yonason

            “Who are “they”?” – SebH

            Your Alzheimer’s is showing again, SebH

            “They” are the Socialists, of course. You know, the dregs of humanity who who support stupid wasteful policies like Energiewende, about whom I was writing in response to Jeff, as well. If I’m writing disparagingly about “they,” then “they” will virtually always be Leftists.

            As usual, SebH has nothing to contribute, so he tries to create a distraction by making silly and irrelevant comments, which are his stock in trade.

        2. yonason

          While waiting for my longer comment to appear, please enjoy learning about what an intolerant bunch of hoodlums you prefer to us skeptics.
          https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/scientific-fascism-how-to-manufacture-a-concensus/

  12. Charles R Anderson

    Is SebastianH implying that an objection to the idea of a 4K global temperature increase melting all of the ice at the poles is based on false science? Perhaps he did not actually read the link before commenting on it.

  13. Quote of the Day | Earth's Energy

    […] — James Hansen, former NASA director and one of the most prominent exponents of CO2 induced global warming; Hansen believes nuclear is the energy source that is needed if the world is to abandon fossil fuels. See here […]

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