James Hansen In Spiegel Interview: Environmental Groups Against Nuclear Power “For Fear Of Losing Funding”

At yesterday’s online Spiegel, science journalist Axel Bojanowski reported on a discussion with ultra-alarmist, former NASA GISS director James Hansen.

James Hansen

Photo by Bill Ebbesen, public domain.

Hansen believes that nuclear energy is the only way of effectively preventing global warming from fossil fuel greenhouse gases. He called the policy of scaling back nuclear power “a big mistake” and claimed that “environmental groups for fear of losing funding would prevent a successful fight against climate change by following a false energy policy”.

That “false energy policy” Hansen’s here refers to is the attempt to satisfy the world’s energy needs almost exclusively with renewable energy, mainly intermittent sun and wind. Hansen and some of his fellow scientists call that narrow approach unrealistic.

Spiegel quotes Hansen further on funding:

There are various funders who would stop their support of environmental organizations if they came out calling for nuclear power.”

Hansen is increasingly at odds with environmentalists:

The environmental organizations are against nuclear power even though only an increase in the use of the power is able to put the brakes on climate change.”

Hansen says that renewable energies will not be able to supply the world’s demand for energy and that they are “too expensive“. Spiegel quotes Hansen:

There is no realistic way to stabilize the climate where nuclear power is not a substantial part of it.”

Moreover, Hansen and three other leading scientists published an open letter last November calling for “the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems” and that the risks nuclear power” are orders of magnitude smaller than the risks associated with fossil fuels.”

Environmental groups, not surprisingly, have reacted harshly to Hansen’s remarks, calling Hansen’s funding claims “absurd” and that his energy arguments are “unsubstantiated. and that nuclear power has major safety issues.”

But Hansen counters, saying that “today’s generation of nuclear plants are considerably safer than older models“.

Environmentalists have put themselves in a catch 22 situation. By overblowing the consequences of fossil fuels, they have only succeeded in strengthening the arguments for a source of power they regard as being just as evil.


8 responses to “James Hansen In Spiegel Interview: Environmental Groups Against Nuclear Power “For Fear Of Losing Funding””

  1. mwhite


    “The European Union is paying green campaign groups millions of pounds effectively to lobby itself. “

    1. DirkH

      “Greenpeace, perhaps the best known environmental campaigning organisation, has refused to take any EU or government funding.”

      Greenpeace happily and all the time has “projects” with co-funding from local governments so I guess they just launder the money a little. Nominally these “projects” are separate legal entities.

      As “Greenpeace experts” are a fixture on German state media debate rounds, it is the most important for the EU commission to maintain the illusion of an independence of that particular group. They have a special status.

  2. lemiere jacques

    let aside CO2 and climate , it is very entertaining..in france greens can complain about consequences on health of smoke and soot without saying a word about nuclear energy.. too hard to admit nuclear energy saved life when you fought against it from the beginning…

    oh reality!

    and when they promote wind and solar to avoid CO2, we can now say, hey have a look at germany…

  3. John F. Hultquist

    I have this very odd feeling. I now have a statement by James Hansen that I agree with, more or less.
    But, if major development started now, I don’t suppose I will live long enough to see any impact. Those still here in 2050 may notice a change.
    At least in the USA, oil is not used much for electrical power so nuclear power will not have much impact on transportation except in indirect ways. The issues with batteries for the Tesla cars suggest to me that we do not yet have a clear path to that urban future when most intra-urban trips are electrically powered.

    Going back: When it became clear that horses in cities needed to be replaced, the replacement was already recognized. The change over to autos was fairly rapid. There were few groups (green?) and few regulations to get in the way. Now, change will be slow unless current adversarial things are addressed.

  4. Paul

    Thats the first time I’ve agreed with anything James Hansen has said. Nuclear power IS the way of the future, we just have to control it properly and not cut back on runnin costs/safety for the sake of profit.

  5. Jimbo

    I have often pointed out to Warmists that if man-made greenhouse gases are the biggest global, environmental problem facing man then why not nuclear, the lesser of the environmental problem facing man? The lesser of the two evils so to speak. They won’t have any of it, especially at the Guardian.

    The funny thing is that many Green groups invest heavily, not just to vote on board meetings, on fossil fuels. Even the Guardian says so. They hypocrisy stinks.

    May 2013
    The Guardian
    The giants of the green world that profit from the planet’s destruction

    The Nation
    Time for Big Green to Go Fossil Free

    The Nation
    Why Aren’t Environmental Groups Divesting from Fossil Fuels?

  6. Walter Horsting

    Our DoE gave China the future of clean nuclear power and our plans from Oak Ridge National Labs on the Molten Salt Reactor, meanwhile our DoE suppresses domestic Reasearch into the MSR

    with that said we need to engage Federal Politicians that are giving China the keys to the kingdom by our own DoE on the Th-MSR. They have all our Oak Ridge plans and they plan to own the IP to MSR….http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/12/20/breakout-thorium-idINL4N0FE21U20131220

    comments from a friend of mine below….

    “I don’t know whether I mentioned it, but I got a stern warning from the Y12 Group/DoE/DoS via conference call when I presented some generalities regarding my separation chemistry, combined with some physics to reach the four-five 9’s purity needed.

    We have a detailed market analysis; step-by-step methods to achieve purity using recyclable chemicals and relatively inexpensive modalities; business model, etc. but we need permission in order to proceed without getting thrown into prison (yes, they explicitly mentioned this).

    Take-home message: it’s totally doable in a scalable, non-Hg fashion; the Chinese know it and I know it. Why are we supporting the Chinese while specifically suppressing American scientific efforts and threatening American scientists with imprisonment?”

    Let’s get an action Matrix going and swing the future of clean energy back to the US…for what we are spending on bird blending wind mills we can and should have Th-MSR….

  7. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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