The pioneer of the global warming narrative is advocating for nuclear power as the key to saving the planet from the perils of environmental disaster.
Unfortunately, America’s nuclear industry continues to flounder under President Barack Obama’s green energy agenda.
“The future of our planet and our descendants depends on basing decisions on facts, and letting go of long-held biases when it comes to nuclear power,” James Hansen writes in The Guardian along with Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira and Tom Wigley. “Nuclear will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them.”
James Hansen, former NASA scientist and adjunct professor at Columbia University, is known as one of the founders of the modern global warming movement. He helped bring the topic to the world’s attention through congressional testimony in the 1980s, reports The Daily Beast.
Hansen is a global warming alarmist, warning in the column about the, “continued sea level rise, the total loss of Arctic sea ice and devastating effects on human societies,” that will occur if world powers don’t take swift action. Hansen’s solution, however, is to go nuclear, a move that pits Hansen against other stringent environmental groups which oppose nuclear power.
Obama’s green energy push often comes at the expense of the nuclear industry. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan inserts the federal government into the private energy market, allowing regulators to force utilities to cut back energy consumption. It also forces energy producers such as the nuclear power industry to compensate utilities for their energy-saving “green” efforts, devastating profits and reducing overall demand for their resource, reports the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).
The EPA’s attempt to regulate and manipulate retail energy prices is currently being debated in the Supreme Court, which is expected to be a hotly contested ruling. The nuclear industry is generally a proponent of the administration’s agenda, supporting the president’s efforts to phase out coal, reports The Hill. But The Clean Power Plan is bringing coal and nuclear together in opposition to the government’s attempt to insert itself into energy pricing.
“You cannot sustain reductions in carbon emissions or reduce carbon emissions without a pretty hefty contribution from nuclear power,” Richard Myers, vice president of policy development at the NEI, tells The Hill.
The U.S. nuclear power industry has been devastated in recent years, struggling to compete with the more competitively priced shale industry. It also lacks the immense government subsidies and support green energy technology such as wind and solar receive. Nuclear power accounted for 19 percent of American electricity generation in 2014, while wind and solar contributed just 4.8 percent combined, with solar providing a meager 0.4 percent of electricity, reports the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Entergy, a major force in the nuclear industry, announced two plants closings this fall due to rising costs and limited government assistance as the administration focuses on “green” renewables. Entergy announced in October it is closing the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant in Cape Cod. On Nov. 2, Entergy announced the impending closure of the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, in Oswego, N.Y., 20 years ahead of schedule, reports Forbes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to prevent the James A. FitzPatrick plant closure despite pushing an aggressive green energy agenda in New York.
Environmental hardliners like the Sierra Club cheer the demise of nuclear power in the U.S., arguing plants can pose catastrophic risks to local environments. Hansen’s stance promoting nuclear to save the environment puts him at odds with his otherwise natural environmental allies.
“To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not on prejudice,” argues Hansen in The Guardian column. “The climate system cares about greenhouse gas emissions – not about whether energy comes from renewable power or abundant nuclear power. Throwing tools such as nuclear out of the box constrains humanity’s options and makes climate mitigation more likely to fail.”
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