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