The November 1009 issue of Scientific American carried a cover story titled A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables by Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi. That article has received some pointed criticism from some of my favorite pro-nuclear bloggers and podcasters, including John Wheeler who produced an episode titled The Un-Scientific American for his This Week In Nuclear podcast and Barry Brook, whose blog titled Critique of ‘A path to sustainable energy by 2030′ has attracted 139 comments so far.
As the resident cynic and suggester of ulterior motives in the energy debates, I found it rather interesting that I was greeted with the below page when I was doing some research for a previous post that resulted in me visiting the Scientific American web site. The visit engendered one of those ah ha moments that made me say – maybe that is why the editors at Scientific American have uncritically published a screen that includes death tolls and carbon emissions that would result from atomic bomb detonations as one of the costs of an increased use of nuclear energy. Perhaps it is all about pleasing the money sources known as advertisers. After all, that sometimes happens in the commercial media – despite all protestations to the contrary.
Just in case it is not completely obvious to you what I am talking about, take a good look at the ads in the below graphic. Siemens is one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers and Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is advertising for biofuels. Both wind and biofuels receive strong marketing messaging from Jacobson and Delucchi’s article.