Guest essay by Eric Worrall
In the face of the utter failure of large investments in renewables to deliver CO2 reductions, greens are increasingly embracing nuclear power as the solution to climate change.
Nuclear Power Can Save the World
Expanding the technology is the fastest way to slash greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize the economy.
By Joshua S. Goldstein, Staffan A. Qvist and Steven Pinker
Drs. Goldstein and Qvist are the authors of “A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow.” Dr. Pinker is a psychology professor at Harvard.
April 6, 2019
Where will this gargantuan amount of carbon-free energy come from? The popular answer is renewables alone, but this is a fantasy. Wind and solar power are becoming cheaper, but they are not available around the clock, rain or shine, and batteries that could power entire cities for days or weeks show no sign of materializing any time soon. Today, renewables work only with fossil-fuel backup.
Germany, which went all-in for renewables, has seen little reduction in carbon emissions, and, according to our calculations, at Germany’s rate of adding clean energy relative to gross domestic product, it would take the world more than a century to decarbonize, even if the country wasn’t also retiring nuclear plants early.
But we actually have proven models for rapid decarbonization with economic and energy growth: France and Sweden. They decarbonized their grids decades ago and now emit less than a tenth of the world average of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour. They remain among the world’s most pleasant places to live and enjoy much cheaper electricity than Germany to boot.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/opinion/sunday/climate-change-nuclear-power.html
The rise of mainstream green advocacy for nuclear power is long overdue.
I have never understood how anyone who thinks CO2 is a looming threat can argue in good faith against the evidence of two countries which have affordably reduced their CO2 emissions to a tenth of what everyone else emits, by embracing nuclear power.