1. Funny. The other Fukushima plants rode out the shakes well enough and kept in ticking but who’s heard that what with Tokyo TV passing off massive oil plant fires as the reactor incident. Naughty naughty. But I wonder how many chemical and gas facilities perch fault lines totally without a curious peep from the 4th estate…

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  2. @James Greenidge

    There’s a reason why petroleum-related facilities get a pass from ad-supported media. The owners advertise – heavily.

    1. Of couse, oil and gas have a publicity advantage as far as advertising is concerned, in that their products are purchased directly by most households (for motor vehicles and for heating/cooking respectively) while uranium fuel is currently only used for generating electricity in huge centralized facilities.

  3. I wonder why Environmentalism: Ideology and Power is so expensive ($85.00 or £70.99)? Maybe the publisher has some conflict of interest?

    How many other environmentalist policies are designed primarily to favour wealthy vested interests? If environmentalist energy policy (anti-nuclear, pro-wind and pro-solar) is about enriching Big Oil and commodity-trading banksters, is environmentalist urban policy (anti-car, anti-suburbia, pro-density and pro-rail) about enriching urban landowners, especially owners of prime city centre land?

    1. About your last phrase, I doubt it. I wonder if Donald Trump is pro rail, anti car and anti suburbia. I doubt it. We may never know, but I think it tends to be more pro union, and pro controlable labor.

      1. Rail unions would tend to be both anti-car (to make commuters dependent on them) and anti-nuclear (to encourage the use of coal, which only trains can practically deliver to power plants).

        1. I wish he was pro-labor but he’s not. He’s a straight up GOP anti-working class politician now. Rail unions are not pro-rail to ‘make commuters dependent on them’ (union or rail?) but to represent the interests of railroad workers. This includes maintaining and expanding rail roads in the United States, which is a good thing, not a bad thing. Commuter rail is vitally important to most of the big urban centers of the US and they too need to be expanded and invested in. I’ve experienced cities with no commuter rail. It’s not pretty.

          1. @ Joris van Dorp
            “So I suppose the problem remains that CFD is going to make it easier for clean energy and efficiency to compete in CFD adopting regions, but at the same time it will reduce (somewhat? a lot?) the incentive for developing truly competitive technologies, which unfortunately are exactly what non-CFD regions are probably going to require.”

            Thanks, I think we agree. Except for the “(CFD) will reduce the incentive for developing truly competitive technologies” part.

            I think CFD will not reduce such incentives. It will increase them. The question is whether it will increase them enough, fast enough. And in absence of US NRC licensing reform and public education (hi Rod!) I agree that it probably won’t.

            Between US and Canada we’ve got at least three SMR outfits targeting world markets:
            Terrestrial Energy
            See Investors pour 1.3 billion into advanced nuclear industry. But how do we license them? How and where do they build prototypes?

            In absence of such reforms, CFD will give US incentive to build more — perhaps substantially more — large GW-scale light water reactors. But they alone will not solve the world’s dangerous fossil fuels problem.

          2. It’s no coincidence that RMT leader Bob Crow was one of a very few successful union bosses of post-Thatcher Britain, as London’s increasing population (due to the privileging of City finance at the expense of the industrial North) made the city ever-more dependent on its Tube (subway) network.

            Big CBDs need commuter rail to avoid being choked by traffic congestion — that’s why car-oriented big cities (such as LA and Houston) tend to be very decentralized. However, most affordable cities (in terms of the ratio between median house prices and median incomes) tend to be of the car-oriented type, at least in the English-speaking world where public opinion doesn’t support outright confiscating land from speculators.

            Anyway, back to my original question — if fossil fuel interests can stealthily fund environmental groups (that claim to be against fossil fuels) to attack nuclear energy, couldn’t urban landowners fund environmentalist groups (that claim to be socially progressive) in order to fight affordable housing?

            1. @George Carty

              Yes. There are many such segments of our economy that benefit from artificially created scarcity. The effort to make urban land more valuable by restricting development in surrounding areas has been going on since the days of walled cities. “Environmentalism” is an effective recent invention with that aim.

              I was once close to an environmental group that did a lot of good work in helping to clean up one of my favorite bodies of water. One of their major tenants was to impose restrictions on waterfront development – thus adding substantial value to waterfront properties that were already developed. I had good anecdotal information about their donor base; not surprisingly, the list included a number of major local landowners whose property was either developed or specifically grandfathered to be allowed to be developed even after the passage of the setback laws.

    2. If this (ocean inundation of cities) threat were from a foreign nation our response would be unequivocal, immediate and forceful. But because the enemy is us, we have dragged our feet for decades and resisted the necessary changes. Paralyzed by fears propagated by industrial interests, we remain unwilling to change the energy infrastructure that’s fueling this problem. – James Hansen


      1. It isn’t ridiculous. Its been thoroughly modeled and can work, with little or not net cost to the economy.

        What’s ridiculous is standing by and willfully and knowingly allowing our fossil fuels addition to lead the planet to fatal overdose.

        But that is what we do.

        There may be alternatives. Robert Hargraves suggests developing AND deploying reliable and usable energy technologies that are cheaper than coal, and gas. Fine. Who’s going to do it, and why?

        I actually agree with Hargraves. I also agree with Hansen. Because implementing a carbon Fee and Dividend here in the United States is the surest way for our society — here — to face up to the true costs of fossil fuel alternatives, and the barriers we’ve erected to developing and deploying the most effective among them.

        You and I might disagree a priori what those “most effective” might be. But a rising fee-and-dividend would make such personal disagreements moot. Meanwhile,

        paralyzed by fears propagated by industrial interests, we remain unwilling to change the energy infrastructure that’s fueling this problem

        …and Rome burns. How do we change?

      2. @ JohnGalt
        Revenue neutral Fee and Dividend is by definition not a tax. It is a fee assessed one place — fossil fuel extraction in this case — and returned to another, in this case you and me to spend as we see fit.

        Your no-nukes solution amounts to business-as-usual, and is a losing proposition. You can do better. Please do so.

      3. I agree with John Galt that tax/dividend does have snags.

        Clearly, it’s not a panacea, because it effectively removes the incentive to develop energy technologies which compete with fossil fuels directly. So ultimately, it is likely to lead to an energy system which is carbon neutral (good) but so expensive that the ‘fee’ has morphed into increased cost of energy, while the ‘dividend’ part has dried up along with the fee as a result of achieving carbon-neutrality.

        So fee and dividend will work to decarbonise the energy system of nations which put it into their constitutions (it has to be that solid to work), but not to provide a competitive energy system for those enations. Hence, it does not solve the ‘carbon leakage’ problem which causes (industrial) energy consumption (along with jobs, and thus consumption in general) to shift to countries having the cheapest energy, which will still be fossil fuels.

        A true global fee and dividend system locked solidly in constitutional law could work, but I suppose I agree with John Galt that the likelyhood of that happening is remote. I’ll eat my hat if it happens before its too late and truly disastrous climate impacts are hard in our faces.

        I think the likelyhood of eliminating antinuclear psychological terrorism, thereby re-enabling cost-effective nuclear power, is a much better bet, because it doesn’t necessarily need fee/dividend to work because it doesn’t necessarily cost more than fossil fuels.

      4. @Joris von Dorp
        Oh quite, quite. Although CFD is a bit more air (but not carbon) tight than that, as it includes cross-border adjustments that tax impose import duty upon goods from countries that do not play ball with similar carbon tax fees of their own, and to subsidise financially protect energy-intensive exports destined for such unsportsman-like markets.

        (At this point some nameless lurker will indignantly demand exactly who’s to expand the gubmint to support that sort of non-productive bureaucracy — pay him no mind. Jobs is jobs.)

        I think that CFD has been studied thoroughly enough — and not just by REMI — that it could be made to work. Also that something of that sort will be necessary to prompt US to conserve adequately anyway, even with the best of all technologies. The question will be how much? But hit enough people long enough and hard enough where it hurts enough, maybe enough of them will recognize it doesn’t have to be this way, that they actually do have a choice.

        Who knows? Perhaps some folk will get together, throw up their hands aghast and demand Dept. of Energy and the Congressional Budget Office collaborate to make reasonable assessment of all possible alternatives before pulling the legislative trigger and applying the screws. And making the models publicly accessible so other interested competent parties can check their results; perhaps even better them.

      5. Ed, I agree that CFD is certainly worth a good push. I support it, if only because other incentive system are not nearly as good.

        And your right I neglected the part about the import tariffs which combat carbon leakage.

        Yet still, todays economic expansion going forward is occurring mostly in emerging economies, and I’m not sure import tariffs on the US (and EU) borders are going to be too much of a reason for those nations to adopt CFD.

        So I suppose the problem remains that CFD is going to make it easier for clean energy and efficiency to compete in CFD adopting regions, but at the same time it will reduce (somewhat? a lot?) the incentive for developing truly competitive technologies, which unfortunately are exactly what non-CFD regions are probably going to require.

  4. Any organization that isn’t selling any kind of a product, or providing any kind of a service yet has a $100 Million + annual budget should set off the alarm bells in *every* American.

    Yet…. not. Are we *that* stupid?

    1. “Yet…. not. Are we *that* stupid?”

      In Ian Bank’s story, “The State of the Art” at the end of a decade long mission to assess Earth and decide whether to offer it membership in the galaxy wide interstellar “Culture” the main character reflects that the single word that best describes Earthlings is “gullible”.

      A wise and insightful man, Ian Banks. He’ll be missed.

  5. @John Galt

    The “carbon fee and dividend” proposal is NOT a tax policy. It’s a fee collected from carbon -fuel extractors and carbon-fuel importers. The proceeds are returned on a per capita, per month basis to households. It doesn’t go into the general government revenue to support research or infrastructure. People decide what to do with it. It’s the best market-based idea out there and we should try it. The only possible connection to tax policy is that one way to implement it would be through monthly payroll tax deductions and/or tax refunds. So we don’t have to create a new administrative infrastructure; it already exists.

    Learn more about it at Citizens Climate Lobby: citizensclimatelobby.org/about-ccl/

    You may even want to join!

    1. @JohnGalt

      “It’s not a tax if the government doesn’t keep the money.” George Shultz, former US State and Treasury Secretary

      as explained in The Little Engine That Could: Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend.

      You are, of course, free to disagree and fabricate your own definition. But your calling it so does not make it so. You’ve posted here numerous snarks upon things you are against: Nuclear power, economic tools to mitigate global warming. Tell us, John:

      “What are you for?”

      1. More snark. If you’d actually followed the link and done the reading, you’d have learned that wasn’t what Sec. Shultz mean at all. But again:

        “What are you for?”

      2. @JohnGalt:
        Thanks for your response, that is rather more of what I was after. Something to discuss. As for building nuclear power plants on time and in budget, that was a concept that worked here in the U.S. back in the seventies and early eighties. But we are currently a bit rusty, and out of practice.

        The Chinese and Russians are not. China is (relatively) new to reactor construction and is still coming up to speed. But six years isn’t shabby so long as the quality isn’t. Russia, otoh, has now achieved serial production. I personally think that good for world economy and climate, but am disappointed that they have done so and we haven’t. Can’t help but reflect this wasn’t the sort of thing an old cold-war civil engineer meant when he predicted “We will bury you.”

        I still think we can do it, but that will be for the bean-counters to decide as they go through the logistical post-mortems as Vogtle and VC Summer finish up. Thorcon, of course, has in mind very serial — even parallel — production on a global scale, but there’s the question about how to license their — or any — Gen IV reactor: What is the mechanism? Who pays?

        But enough of me — please. This is about you:

        “I support no new taxes or fees, and no panic.”

        —Hoookay. How about old taxes and fees? Or mass hysteria?

        “In energy, I support free choices, transparent information – both pros and cons – and not taxes, credits, fees, trickery or propaganda to influence or coerce. I also support “fair” grid access and payments for small, modular, power generators. I could go on…”

        … oh please do! [/snark]

        I assume “fair” in quotes means you recognize a can of worms when you open one. 😉

        As for the other, its been something I’ve been considering the past week since some of the presidential candidates have begun formulating energy policies, some of which some even promote as “clean”.

        At this point Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley appear to equate “clean energy” with renewables. O’Malley thinks we should eliminate fossil subsidies and use the savings to subsidise renewablaes, biofuels, make permanent the wind PTC, and shore up our transmission infrastructure. This of course in his run-up to Iowa.

        Perhaps these will evolve. And Hillary Clinton says such wondrous things!

        Jim Web and Lindsey Graham I don’t know. I’m curious. But their polls are in the tank….

        Jeb Bush has simply proposed eliminating all energy subsidies. Nothing “clean” about it. But whether such might be more climatically beneficial than anything the Democrats have thus far proposed is what has me wondering. Standalone, I dunno. Coupled with NRC licensing reform, probably (my probables, you’re welcome to yours). Coupled with even a modest CFD, certainly.

        The question is how long would it take. Not to go all widespread panic on you, but time and atmospheric ghg capacity really are running out.

        There’s also philosophical issues about the role of government fiscal, monetary, and tax policies in promoting the “public interest and well-being”. ‘Nother can of worms, but that’s politics. Thanks.

      3. There is always going to be some “subsidy” for any large industry. Its silly to claim otherwise. Our infrastructure favors large central providers without significant new investment, which means higher rates or government investment. Large central providers are more efficient and the alternative is layer upon layer of interconnected and regulated ENRON type marketplaces. So the distributed free market cheap electricity thing doesn’t really work in energy reality.

        I haven’t seen an effective argument against any of that.

        Sanders is also probably a nice guy, but he has no real practical energy policy. Indeed all I have seen is the opposite.

    2. @JohnGalt

      Your opinion has been noted and assigned its appropriate value.

      BTW – if you persist in your accusations that I am unfairly singling out your comments, I really will begin treating them differently. So far, that hasn’t been happening.

      The commenting capability here is a straightforward implementation of a standard package offered by the same company that supplies the blog software.

  6. Probably not many of you move in certain circles but also in on-line pagan communities im always surprised to see the green propaganda overtaking responsible environmentalism. Issues of resources, habitat, land use and infrastructure requirements, land access and additional development; all go out the window for the church of the simpleminded and the destructive “renewable” and biofuel schemes.

    Its sad people that have had to deal with so much closed-mindedness in recent history turn around and basically act the same towards the earth, within their stated core beliefs and spiritual principles, when it really matters.

    I think its fair game and necessary to begin to bring the spiritual into the conversation here too. Certainly within Christianity it has begun to occur in the open recently. I also think many would be surprised at the extent of underlying links, current and historic, occurring through individuals, in the conservation, “environmental,” spiritual/pagan/magic/ritual, and even scientific movements. But after being on this side of it, not so surprised at the disjoin and mistakes Id imagine. “Friends of the earth” are anything but, in this instance.

    1. Nuclear Has One of the Smallest Footprints ( http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/nuclear-has-one-of-the-smallest-footprints )

      – Good starting point although they don’t seem to fairly factor in right of way access, power infrastructure, creating, regulating and maintaining new markets and control systems for “renewables.” Certainly we now know more about the reliability issues with solar thermal and its interactions with avian species and habitats and its nothing close to what it was sold as. I still cant believe the biomass numbers. In what universe was that a good idea? Agriculture remains the single largest contributor to species extinction. Even after climate chage worsens it likely will still be a combination of agriculture, encroachment, acidification and climate chage contributing most to species extinction.

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