The Left Needs to Reconsider its Automatic Position Against Nuclear Energy
by BILL SACKS and GREG MEYERSON
As leftists who have studied the issue of nuclear energy for years, we want to reply to Robert Hunziker’s “Real Story” titled What’s Really Going on at Fukushima? (CounterPunch, June 15, 2015). It’s time for much of the left to reconsider a long-standing opposition to nuclear energy that often refuses to consider arguments on the other side – arguments that are rational, science-based, and deeply concerned about the environment and human health.
On the question of nuclear energy and other issues, all too often the left takes its position on the basis of who advocates or opposes it. If the state is for it, we feel we have to be against it – automatically and without having to do much homework.
[Editor’s note: In this case, the state may say favorable words about nuclear energy, but its actions since 1974 have not been for nuclear energy development. Liberals who reflexively oppose “the establishment” should have noticed this by now.]
If the rightwing is against it, we feel we have to be for it. If Helen Caldicott or Arnie Gundersen (both quoted by Hunziker) is against it, we feel we also have to be against it.
Hunziker’s “Real Story” is a striking example of this practice. He features Helen Caldicott as his guru on nuclear energy and radiation, praising her as “truthful and honest and knowledgeable.” He mentions other similar sources, but a brief examination of Caldicott will serve as a warning to beware of gurus.
Guardian journalist George Monbiot wrote a devastating exposé of Caldicott’s looseness with facts following a debate with Caldicott on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! in 2011. In it he uses one of the most direct methods to expose falsehoods, namely asking her for the sources of her wild fact-claims and following them up to see if they say what she claims they say. He found that they almost always say something very different, often the opposite, even when she cites her own past writings.
Blindly following gurus certainly saves us time and effort, and sometimes may turn out to be correct, but it often leads to disastrous errors with catastrophic consequences. Unless we look into a topic ourselves, and follow both sides of the debates until we can tentatively make up our own minds, we risk being sealed into the Pied Piper’s cave. Furthermore, we should never hold an opinion that is impervious to new evidence, but neither should we merely accept new evidence without looking into it further.
Evidence wins the contest against faith when it comes to scientific issues
The fundamental issue is the difference between faith and evidence. Science, when operating properly, is based on evidence, though interpretations of evidence are always colored by the paradigms we use to approach it, and paradigms often determine whether evidence is even perceived as signal rather than noise.
Nevertheless, all this means is that we have to remain open to future replacements of theoretical positions, but holding such positions, even if temporarily, is necessary for us to be able to operate in the real world. Conclusions should always be taken as neither more nor less than proven for all practical purposes for the time being. Faith has no place in science, and rather is relied on by religions, by politicians, and by gurus with effects that are usually damaging to many if not most people.
When we blindly follow gurus of any sort, the wilder and more outlandish their claims, the more credulous we become. The unstated principle that if such a claim were untrue it could never find an audience, or would never be printed, is the basis of success of the Big Lie technique.
In contrast, Carl Sagan, among others, has sagely warned that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But eschewing evidence altogether, Caldicott wields this weapon with agility and skill. Her claim (as reported by Hunziker) that a million have died from Chernobyl is based on a report by Yablokov, et al. that was printed, foolishly, by the NY Academy of Sciences in December 2009.
The authors arrived in part at their imaginary figure by attributing every death that occurred to the radiation from Chernobyl, as though suddenly all other causes of death stopped for the time being. The NYAS has been taken to task by many of its members and has been embarrassed for its role in supporting this erroneous report by some Belarusian and Ukrainian scientists who have been soundly refuted. The NYAS disclaims approval of the report, yet they never checked on the factual claims and simply blindly reproduced it, giving a basis for the persistent horror stories spun by Caldicott and other anti-nuclear gurus.
To get some feeling for the complexity of calculations and estimates of radiation doses and its biological effects, we recommend the comprehensive book by Norwegian scientist Thormod Henriksen and a group of his biophysics colleagues, Radiation Health (English version in PDF format.) In this version the relevant portion on the Chernobyl firemen and clean-up workers is on pp. 149-167.
The number of firemen, those most heavily exposed during the first few days after the onset of the fire (it was not a nuclear explosion), who died from their exposure was 28 out of about 600. This was the largest group of deaths among either workers or residents of the area. The total figures for deaths found by UNSCEAR and other international medical investigatory organizations was around 60, which included 15 deaths over the ensuing years from thyroid cancer among those residents exposed as children and a number of delayed deaths among clean-up workers whose causes of death could in any way be related to radiation exposure. This is a far cry from the made-up figure of a million, which serves as a fear-mongering qualitatively large number and is latched onto by Caldicott and her like-minded colleagues, like Arnie Gundersen.
For his part, Gundersen has successively raised his estimates of the number of cancers that will result from Fukushima’s meltdown after the quake and tsunami from a few hundred thousand to, again, the round figure of a million. In this case, however, virtually the entire communities engaged in radiation protection, radiology, or health physics agree that either zero excess cancers will arise from Fukushima, or at worst the number will be undetectable against the background of cancers from all other causes.
Producing the arbitrary figure of a million is the height of irresponsibility, particularly coming from someone who, like Gundersen, boasts experience in nuclear engineering. But again, the larger the figure the more readily it is believed by many, who fail to take some effort to check. There is a symbiotic and dialectical relationship between gurus who, without reference to evidence, throw around fantastic figures and the kind of credulous audience that the left all too often provides and that encourages such irresponsibility.
In both cases, Chernobyl and Fukushima, the two worst nuclear accidents in the world, estimates of future deaths (meaning from radiation-induced cancer) can only be obtained through an assumption about numbers of deaths for various exposure doses. The most common assumption that underlies the grossly exaggerated estimates, even by UNSCEAR, is the linear-no-threshold (LNT) assumption.
The LNT assumption has a tortuous history dating back to the 1920s and has been shown through a few thousand (!) studies worldwide (for a partial listing see Charles Sanders’s 2009 book Radiation Hormesis and the Linear-No-Threshold Assumption and for a more complete, though more dated, listing see T.D. Luckey’s 1991 book Radiation Hormesis) to be false at the low-dose ranges to which most nuclear workers, accident responders, and nearby residents have been exposed.
These erroneous estimates (erroneous because of their fictitious basis) by otherwise responsible international organizations range only in the thousands, but never in the tens or hundreds of thousands, let alone a million. And at Fukushima, the estimate of deaths, apart from fictitious assumptions, is zero – both immediate and delayed.
To take a paragraph from Hunziker as another example: “The exclusion zone around Chernobyl is known as ‘Death Valley.’ It has been increased from 30 to 70 square kilometres. No humans will ever be able to live in the zone again. It is a permanent ‘dead zone.’” It really doesn’t matter whether a place is known by some people as “Death Valley.” The question is whether that zone is, in fact, dangerous or a “dead zone,” permanent or otherwise. It is not.
Wildlife has been flourishing there (partly in the absence of humans, but clearly not harmed by the fallout), as described in Mary Mycio’s book Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl. And many elderly people have returned to their homes, or refused to leave in the first place, despite forced relocations and governmental prohibitions. There are numerous reports (Google it) that they are getting older but are still alive and fit.
Yet many of the articles that describe their lives still, out of oxymoronic habit, use scare phrases like “toxic wasteland,” “most highly contaminated on earth,” and so on. It requires a staunch and consistent determination to check and confirm in order to resist blindly accepting such strong terminology. Scary language is, well, scary, and often persuasive, but the question is whether or not it is accurate, or even approximates the truth. The terminology of radiophobia is generally the exact opposite of the truth, as only an open-minded study of the topic will reveal.
Natural background radiation is higher in some parts of the world than around Chernobyl or Fukushima
There are places on earth where the natural background radiation is far higher than in the neighborhood of Chernobyl, and where there are no greater rates of cancer or shortened lives. In fact, often the people who live in these areas, in places like Iran, Japan, England, Finland, India, China, or Brazil, are healthier than average. Moreover, the cancer rate in the Chernobyl region is well below that of Australia, which is to say that radiation is, at worst, a very weak carcinogen.
Radiation is like virtually all other agents, both chemical and physical, to which life has been exposed during the 3 billion or so years of life on earth. It has three ranges – too little, too much, and just right (the goldilocks zone) for health. Evolution has provided us, as well as our fellow inhabitants on earth – plants, other animals, fungi, and bacteria – with defenses and protective responses to the insults in our environment, or we wouldn’t be here.
It is precisely those species of living organisms that did develop those defenses that have survived natural selection. The conventional, but false, claim that radiation is harmful down to the smallest dose and the slowest rate of delivery ignores and denies this evolutionary principle. Yet this ignoring and denialism is the basis of governmental regulation and anti-nuclear fear mongering. If the left is trying to avoid siding with the government – usually a sound approach where capitalism is concerned – this is one arena that should serve as a wake-up call for further investigation.
One of Caldicott’s more outrageous contentions – that she calls into play as a fallback position and that belies her claim to being “knowledgeable,” or to being “truthful and honest” – is that human-made radiation is qualitatively different from natural background radiation. Photons, neutrons, alpha particles, and beta particles are indifferent to their sources. As any freshman physics student knows, their only distinguishing feature is either their frequency (or wavelength, in the case of photons) or their kinetic energy (which diminishes as they travel through air, skin, or other media, in the case of particles) and not their source.
The major obstacle to the advancement of science today is capitalism, even as it has been the major spur
In the time of Galileo, when feudalism in Europe was fighting to survive against the rise of capitalism, and the church was the mainstay of the ideological branch of the incumbent system, it was the church that constituted the main obstacle to the growth of science and the concomitant attempts to replace obscurantism with understanding of reality. Today it is capitalism that constitutes the main obstacle to the growth of genuine science for the people. Indeed portions of the capitalist class oppose other portions of their class when it comes to the growth of new forms of energy to replace fossil fuels.
There are capitalist interests on both sides of this battle, and siding with one or another form of energy on the grounds that the alternatives are backed by some capitalist interest or other is not defensible. All forms of energy are backed by some capitalist interests seeking to profit. And, adding to the indefensible and inconsistent nature of such a criterion, even the fossil fuel companies, especially natural gas, claim in many of their ads to partner with wind and/or solar.
Indeed the gas industry profits greatly from the increasing use of wind and solar, because their intermittency requires that natural gas fill in the vast gaps when the wind is not blowing and/or the sun is not shining (which is most of the time when examined in fine enough intervals, less than hours, day after day). Wind and solar are currently wholly dependent on natural gas and perpetuate the very fossil fuel energy sources that they are intended to replace.
The internet has come to represent the democratization of disinformation, in which either some capitalist interests pay scientists to lie (see, for example, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s Merchants of Doubt or David Michaels’s Doubt is Their Product – who, incidentally, still all buy into the anti-nuclear dis- and misinformation) or innocent bystanders write assertively about things about which they know little or nothing.
So the internet is flooded with disinformation (deliberate lies) and misinformation (unwitting falsehoods by those who have not studied but rather follow gurus), as well as science. The problem for the lay public – which with respect to any subject includes scientists who specialize in some other subject – has become how to tell science from pseudoscience.
Among the useful methods we have discovered in our researches is looking for the side in any debate that bothers to rebut and refute versus the side that when rebutted or refuted merely changes the subject and attacks from some other direction. Also looking for the side that has a coherent body of theory versus the side that takes eclectic and incoherent potshots, cherry picking and ignoring data that stand opposed to their unsupported and unsupportable contentions. An often useful, but occasionally misleading, ancillary feature is that the tone of one side is generally frank while that of the other is disputatious and aggressive.
These criteria are usually a good first approximation and can be applied even before the subject is studied in more depth. But the only ultimately successful way of distinguishing science from pseudoscience is to study the subject yourself – or far better yet, as part of a science collective – in at least moderate depth. We are well aware that people generally don’t have the time or interest to engage in all that much study, but at the very least this should temper one’s acceptance of any position and prompt one to remain open to reasoned alternative positions.
Personal investigation can lead to a change of mind
A growing number of prominent formerly anti-nuclear people, both scientists and non-scientists, have been changing their minds about nuclear energy and/or radiation, as well as about climate change, after further investigation. These include leading NASA climatologist (now retired) Jim Hansen, ecologists Barry Brook and Stewart Brand, journalists George Monbiot and Mark Lynas, the late actor and liberal environmentalist Paul Newman, and numerous others, both in and outside the public eye.
While the scientists among them may have been somewhat better equipped to re-evaluate their former opinions on nuclear energy and radiation, it was their investigative efforts that led to their changes of mind and not their credentials. After all, they were formerly of the opposite opinion, so credentials are only peripherally involved. It does not take a physicist to come to some understanding and approval of nuclear energy, just some open-minded investigation.
Rather than refute here Hunziker’s reproduced claims about Fukushima and Chernobyl one-by-one, or his claims about nuclear energy and radiation in general, we recommend starting with a piece that the two of us wrote in 2012 on nuclear energy and radiation science, placing nuclear in the context of the other leading sources of energy. It was published, among other places, on the Australian website BraveNewClimate.
In it we explain the essentials of nuclear reactors and radiation biology aimed at a lay public and show, among other things, that contrary to the anti-nuclear mantra, nuclear energy has the best safety record over the last several decades of any source of energy – by orders of magnitude. We point out that the false conflation of nuclear energy for the generation of electricity with nuclear weapons has no more validity than the conflation of fire for home heating and cooking with incendiary bombs that destroy entire cities.
We also discuss the obstacles that capitalism creates against ridding ourselves of fossil fuels to solve the global warming problem. One of us is a physicist and physician (radiologist) and the other an English professor who was formerly anti-nuclear – explained in the “self introduction from the authors” following this article – and both of us are longtime leftists/Marxists. Our essay references numerous other sources for further reading.
Some excellent sources on nuclear energy and/or radiation are Geoff Russell’s short book Greenjacked! The derailing of environmental action on climate change and David MacKay’s Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air. Geoff is a mathematician who was formerly anti-nuclear, who writes frequently for BraveNewClimate. One of the pieces he wrote there was about Helen Caldicott.
David MacKay is a Cambridge University engineering professor, recently the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). His book is full of easily understandable graphs that make all the necessary comparisons in order to see magnitudes in context. He abhors adjectives, like “devastating,” “disastrous,” and the like, and instead goes for numbers to render comparisons visible, a practice that is vigorously shunned by fear mongers.
His figures show that nuclear energy is the only source that can challenge the climate-changing and environment-destroying fossil fuels for supremacy in providing the world’s energy needs. He concludes his comparison of the various sources of energy – from fossil fuels to wind to solar to geothermal, etc. – with the comment that he is not specifically pro-nuclear, but is rather pro-arithmetic.
But even arithmetic and numbers have to be taken together with their qualitative and comparative meanings. For example, to induce fear in the audience a favorite method of speakers and authors is to give very large numbers. For example, billions of becquerels of radiation leaking from Fukushima are thrown around to lay audiences who have no idea what a becquerel is. It’s like describing the height of the Empire State Building in nanometers – 443 million! The smaller the unit used, the larger the number accompanying it.
Still another excellent and very readable book is one by former anti-nuclear novelist Gwyneth Cravens, Power To Save the World, in which she leads the reader through an odyssey based on multiple interviews with a number of nuclear engineers and physicists, among others.
A major useful source to correct the fear mongering and distortions surrounding radiation – in particular exposing the erroneous linear-no-threshold (LNT) assumption used by all regulatory agencies (outside of France) as the basis of their regulatory policies – is to be found at the website of Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI), an international organization of some 80 scientists, physicians, and others from 14 different countries around the world, to which we both belong. We might add that the political opinions within this group range from extreme rightwing libertarians to Marxists, with just about every other shade in between.
We also recommend Robert Gale’s book, Radiation: What it is, What you need to know. While he accepts some conventional wisdom on radiation for policy purposes, his book is an important corrective to Caldicott-type fear mongering. Gale has authored more than 800 peer-reviewed scientific papers on the effects of radiation and was one of the experts called in to treat Chernobyl’s fire fighters.
One final comment: the left needs to be meticulous in its accuracy – about everything – if it wants to expand its numbers, numbers that will mainly come from the political center. There is plenty of inaccuracy in the form of deliberate lies and unwitting misinformation coming from the right wing about many things. Do we really want to emulate that approach to reality? Because with nuclear energy, that’s what we’ve often been doing, and it’s high time to stop.
Note: The above article was initially prepared for CounterPunch, the publication that first ran the Hunziker article. The authors submitted it to Atomic Insights after several inquiries went unanswered, even though the editor was initially responsive and interested in publishing a response.
Self introduction from the authors
To introduce ourselves to our readers, we have, in the last few years, made a study of nuclear energy and other alternatives to fossil fuels, the political and physical relationships between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, and the biological effects of radiation. We are true amateurs, which means that we have an intense interest in our subject and derive no monetary reward from our efforts. But we have also transformed ourselves from being previously ignorant and/or fearful of things nuclear into moderately knowledgeable investigators in the field.
We don’t claim to be anywhere near as expert as nuclear engineers and physicists or oil geologists or pulmonary specialists or molecular biologists, but we have engaged in sufficient study, writing, speaking, and mutual discussion, as well as in sufficient direct communication with nuclear engineers and physicists, as well as with biologists and others who study the effects of radiation on plants and animals, to regard ourselves as fairly informed about these various aspects — at least at such a level as required to write this essay.
In fact, we have directly met with a dozen nuclear engineers and physicists — several of them having been involved decades ago in the pioneering efforts in building nuclear reactors, particularly the EBR-II and its successor, the IFR. Over the last couple of years we have also frequently communicated with them by phone and email and with a dozen or so other nuclear engineers and physicists, as well as having been in regular email communication, over the same time frame, with several researchers in the biological effects of radiation.
There are many notable authors of books and articles that render scientific findings available in lay language to a wider public. Most of these are not themselves science specialists but rather have also educated themselves in one or another field of science well enough to explain it to other lay persons.
As to formal credentials, one of us (Sacks) happens to be both a physicist and a radiologist, and the other (Meyerson) is an English professor with specialization in critical theory, but formal credentials in our view, are completely irrelevant with respect to whether someone knows what she/he is talking about or, even more importantly, is telling the truth.
The only relevance perhaps is that prior training in related subjects makes the job of learning a subject somewhat quicker, though the English professor has impressed the physicist/radiologist with his quickness to grasp complex topics and to recognize their significance in the present context. But honesty and open-mindedness are not a matter of technical training. They are a matter of attitude, which no amount of technical training can bring about.
As to whether we are among those experts who deserve to be listened to, we leave that to our readers to decide, but there is no contradiction between being amateurs and experts at the same time. Formal training is often not only insufficient to make a true expert, but in the case of radiologists (doctors who interpret x-rays and other imaging modalities) the formal training is so misguided with regard to the biological effects of radiation as to be a major obstacle to expertise. However, this obstacle is not insurmountable, with an adequately open mind and a strong desire to learn.
Finally, we consider ourselves fortunate to be in the company of many of the aforementioned nuclear engineers and scientists and biological hormesis researchers who have also been accelerating their attempts to reach the public with the truth about nuclear energy and radiation, in order to educate and mitigate the public’s phobic response, and to combat the anti-nuclear disinformation campaign. And finally, neither of us has any investments in any form of energy, let alone nuclear.
“The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.” – Bertrand Russell
People are far too complex to be shoehorned into two distinct political blocs. The sole reason for this “two party”, “right”, “left”, “liberal”, “conservative” dynamic is to place a wedge in american society. The thought of a truly unified citizenry terrifies the bought and paid for squatters in our nation’s capital. As individuals, our wants and needs are very similiar. Of course we differ in our opinions about how to attain these essentials, but as human beings the only way we arrive at universal solutions is through engagement, compromise, and shared effort. For many years now our government has worked very hard to remove those positive tools through which we can achieve concensus. Media feeds the divide, our politicians nurture and savor the divide, and we as citizens empower this divide through our malleability and tolerance for governnental dishonesty, corruption, ineptitude, and disfunction.
Splitting the NE issue into “right” versus “left” only advances the problem, and defeats the solution. “Right” versus “wrong” is the proper PR approach if it is truly a matter of offering sound science that will place NE in the favor of the masses. People have become used to responding to issues without thinking, merely responding the way their party of choice has taught them to respond through repetitious and non-stop propaganda. The second you approach them with partisan accusation, they will respond by partisan reflex. Once you’ve opened that door, its very hard to shut. You’ve made it adversarial from the get go. At that point, the facts be damned, you’ll never get through to them.
Rod, Bill Sacks, and Greg Meyerson – thanks for publishing this piece here. It needs to make a lot of headway in the unfortunately highly polarized political atmosphere of developed nations.
Rod – thanks for linking to your discussion of the Yablokov, et. al. book from the NYAS. I hope everyone follows it to discover the difference between ‘published by’ and ‘a publication of’.
I also think that Ben Heard’s current post on Decarbonise South Australia illuminates Bill and Greg’s thesis very forcefully. Two friends. Two journeys. Two worlds compares some aspects of Gary Davies’ visit to Germany with Michael Shellenberger’s trip to Germany. Over to Ben:
It’s a very short post. I highly recommend it.
Sorry – that should be ‘Gary Davies’ trip to Germany with Michael Shellenberger’s trip to Indonesia’. I was proofreading the html tags closely but forgot about proofreading the text…
I object to the article calling of Radiation as an “agent”. It’s clearly a genetic stressor. Woe to those stretches of DNA that have Mis-matched base pairs; They’re clearly far weaker in the face of reasonably weak radiological stresses than are pristine stretches of DNA with perfectly matched base pairs.
Guanine has an affinity for Cytosine, and Adenine has an affinity for Thymine. A mis-match causes weakness in the structure. The genetic information of DNA *is* structure. Low level radiological stresses *have to* help clean up damaged DNA regardless of the cause, simply because damaged DNA is more susceptible to removal from weak radiological stresses than are pristine stretches of DNA that have no mismatched base pairs. If pristine DNA is stressed enough to come apart, it is *far* more likely co fall back together correctly because of base pair affinity, than mutated DNA with mis-matched base pairs. The Cleaning power of Ionizing radiation will even help remove DNA damaged by the “free” radicals that may have caused the genetic damage in the first place and still be in place in the DNA molecule.
I’ll bet this functionality will be beneficial even at several times background radiation. After all, the selection of the processes and *STRUCTURE* of life took place when there was far more background radiation than today.
I don’t understand why this isn’t obvious to everyone, or why Dr. Calibrese doesn’t point it out.
I find it astonishing that you can write such nonsense, given that the mechanisms of DNA replication (un-zipping the double helix and formation of two new chains by adding complementary bases) has been known for several decades. Mis-matched DNA segments are not a normal occurrence and would either be fixed or result in a mutation at the next mitosis event.
Existing mutations will tend to have mismatched base pairs. If there are mis-matched base pairs, which Sugar-Phosphate strand is correct?
You don’t know what you’re talking about. Go back and take intro biology again.
You sad “given that the mechanisms of DNA replication (un-zipping the double helix and formation of two new chains by adding complementary bases) has been known for several decades” That true, but it shows you to be at the most pedagogical level.
Here’s a simple question, albeit apparently above you 10th grade Biology level that you chose as your response:
Does or does not, non currently replicating damaged DNA have more mismatched base pairs than pristine DNA? Answer *that* question. The rest follows.
Do you even know what a base pair is? A codon? Why do you suppose there are base pairs instead of a long sugar phosphate strand holding a series of nucleotides? Why do you suppose the doublestrand of matched pairs is beneficial over reading single strand DNA by itself? What do you suppose is the evolutionary (selective) benefit?
Why the flat pedagogical response?
It’s really quite simple: If damaged (mutated) DNA has mis-matched base pairs, then it really seems to follow that there will be beneficial ranges of ionizing radiation. Why do you have so much trouble with this, that you’ve got to bring up 10th grade Biology?
He’s like a science fiction movie writer … has heard a few things, some words, and just makes up a good story.
Thanks for the Link Engineer-Poet; I appreciate your interest and link. I find mismatch correction intriguing, and plant to bounce down the link chain when I have time.
The source of my curiosity was Nicholas Taleb’s “Antifragile”, Where it seems stresses on genetic information, given that genetic information is structural, might be beneficial. I still suspect that there is a range of stress on genetic information that can be of somatic benefit to the organism.
I’m less concerned about stresses on processes, like Mitotic cell division, but rather keeping it simple, as in stresses on intact DNA where there may or may not be mismatched base pairs.
FWIW I will no longer hold that mismatched base pairs are a hallmark of mutated DNA, until I read your Wikipedia page and the associated links although I believe it to be the case.
As long as the Left continues to buy into the– mythology– that renewable energy is environmentally safer and cheaper than nuclear energy, the nuclear industry is never going to get enthusiastic support from most people on the Left.
Its up to nuclear advocates to set the Left straight on the cost and the environmental consequences of preferring renewable energy over nuclear energy.
Commercial nuclear energy is already the cheapest, safest and environmentally benign carbon neutral source of energy on Earth. And the next generation of nuclear reactors will be even cheaper, safer, and more environmentally benign.
@Marcel F. Williams
Its up to nuclear advocates to set the Left straight on the cost and the environmental consequences of preferring renewable energy over nuclear energy.
I’d state it differently. A growing number of people who are already firmly on the left politically who have taken the time to do what liberals are SUPPOSED to do, which is to make decisions based on evidence, not mantra already support nuclear energy.
It is the leftists who support nuclear energy that can best frame a description of its capabilities in a way that makes it attractive for others in their “tribe” to convert. Advocacy from people like Mays, who resorts to calling people who don’t share his particular technological affiliation “stupid,” will not help.
Rod – For a guy who spent most of his college days reading English lit., you sure do have some poor reading comprehension skills. Or are “left-leaning independents” SUPPOSED to intentionally misrepresent what other people say and write? (I guess that it’s much easier to “make decisions based on evidence” if you can just make up or lie about what the evidence is.)
I didn’t call anyone stupid. (Although I did call Bill Nye an “idiot,” but I have evidence to support that.)
I said that was Apple’s opinion of their customers, not mine. I was commenting on the company’s choice of design, business strategy, and marketing strategy, which was relevant to the comment I was replying to about Apple’s misleading (marketing) claims of powering its data centers with 100% renewable energy.
Lying doesn’t help advocacy either … but it can sell a few more iPads.
My reading comprehension skills are what they are; your statements are also self explanatory. Just in case you care to accuse me of failing to take your full context into account, here is a link to the full comment that you made https://atomicinsights.com/nuke-climate-change/#comment-121042.
I am not just an Apple products user, but a happy former stockholder and fan of their corporate philosophy. They do not talk down to their customers, they listen to them and respect their feedback. They have consistently sought to make their devices servants, not something that is easy to use if only the customer will learn esoteric key strokes and memorize actions provided by multiple buttons and combinations of buttons.
In addition, they take the time to design products that feel good, look good, and draw admiring comments from others. Their design decisions are not just decorative, however, they are also quite functional. The decision, for example, to build laptop cases out of machined blocks of aluminum has not only provided lightweight, attractive machines, but they are almost indestructible.
One more thing – though I majored in English, I only earned 33 credits in English, but graduated with nearly 150 credits. My non-English lit studies included a pretty fair sprinkling of calculus, differential equations, thermodynamics, electrical engineering, meteorology, celestial navigation, physics, chemistry, systems engineering, economics, French, and fluid dynamics.
“You know … the original topics of this thread.”
Actually, Brian, that wasn’t the original topic of discussion. But I understand that in this case you aren’t lying. You’re just treading water. Theres a difference.
This is kinda fun, Brian. Enjoying yourself?
Brian, you are the king of “misrepresenting what people say and write”.
You like attaching labels when you can’t provide substance. “Stupid”. “Anti-semitic”. Then you either equivicate, refuse to qualify your use of the label, or deny you assigned the label at all.
And in this case, you are offering the absurd argument that Apple thinks its users are stupid. Is that a boardroom strategy, Brian? Something you think the marketing people came up with?
“Betty, take a note, will you……
ATTN to all employees; It has come to my attention that our potential buyers are all stupid. Therefore all product design will henceforth be configured for stupid people.”
Yep. Thats it, Brian. The true secret behind making a product successful.
“I didn’t call anyone stupid”
“I said that was Apple’s opinion of their customers, not mine.”
Howsabout we just quote ya, Brian?
“The arrogance comes from decades of pandering to customers who not only admit to but also take a certain amount of pride in being too stupid to own one of those “hard-to-use” PC’s.”
Rod ain’t the liar, Brian. You are.
Given they quote Hunziker, here’s his: “Drilling and Nuclear Power in the Arctic“,
Hunziker continues in this vein. He doesn’t specify a single objection to nuclear power here. It’s just bad in itself. There’s a subtext that a nuclear disaster (like Deepwater Horizon) will devastate the arctic. Yet no reasoned attempt to quantify the risk nor describe what harm can come to a floating NPP up there! We see this kind of knee-jerk anti-nuclear attitude at Naked Capitalism too, for example. Nuclear power seems to be a code-word for everything they don’t like. The basis is a belief that NPP disasters are just waiting to happen. The the WHO, UN, etc., can’t be trusted in their belief that NPPs are safe and environmentally harmless. There are no actual anti-nuclear power arguments in Hunziker’s piece. No reasoned defence of 100%-renewable energy, or fossil fuels. It’s a rant based on ignorance. Such people are impossible to argue against. You can’t even use them are a foil because they never give a rational, evidence-based argument to support their beliefs. They often only usually argue for their position in their own forums where the common doxa prevails. I feel like an atheist in the middle of a Taliban religious meeting when around them.
PS: The section of Sacks and Meyerson arguing against LNT is almost irrelevant since, when the left support LNT, they use exactly the same arguments as the NRC: “better safe than sorry“. LNT support is general among people with no knowledge of the cost of regulation, or risk analysis. Imagine a world where the precautionary principle rules because any NPP accident is seen as disastrous (millions die – even when they don’t). That’s the basis for LNT support.
LNT support is general among people with no knowledge of the cost of regulation, or risk analysis. Imagine a world where the precautionary principle rules because any NPP accident is seen as disastrous (millions die – even when they don’t). That’s the basis for LNT support.
It is also general among people who recognize that they are on the “revenue” side of the age old saw that applies to costly requirements – “One man’s cost is another man’s revenue.”
Numerous radiation protection professionals wonder what they would do for a living if they were not involved in efforts to track and reduce millirems.
Many epidemiologists know that funding for their manpower intensive dose and health record reconstruction projects would disappear if a threshold or hormetic dose response model gains acceptance.
Politically worse, however, is the fact that major clean-up contractors, who are also major campaign donors, know that cash flows like the $3 billion per year from DOE at Hanford would be reduced to a trickle.
Possibly the largest hurdle of all is the fact that some wealthy and powerful interest groups have invested a great deal of time and money into building the myth that there is “no safe dose” of radiation because they know that the truth will enable nuclear energy to flourish at their expense in the energy supply market.
In Britain, the last Labour administration, Tony Blair’s government, came close to getting rid of nuclear power during their first 8 years: between 1997-2005. Try as I may, I doubt I can find a well-argued case (or even badly-argued case) from many of those ‘moderate’ Labour politicians. The case for the abolition of nuclear power certainly doesn’t seem to have been put during their election campaigns of 1997 and 2001.
I’m not certain of your point. Whatever Blair’s position, today’s UK Labour Party is firmly in support of commercial nuclear power generation. See e.g. Labour draws nuclear red line (20 April 2015). This in context of possible discussions with Scottish National Party (which is very much against nuclear power; Scotland having wind, water, and gas) in the run-up to Scotland’s independence referendum (which in any event went down):
My point: I didn’t realize just how close the Labour Party came to getting rid of nuclear power during the first two terms of their last administration. The turn in favour of nuclear power was in 2005/2006 after which anti-nuke opposition was reduced to about 10% of Labour MPs. Jeremy Corbyn is still anti-nuclear power today and he’s running for the Labour leadership.
Greenpeace interview Jeremy Corbyn on energy.. His policy amounts to solar panels on every roof plus “clean coal“.
“In the time of Galileo, when feudalism in Europe was fighting to survive against the rise of capitalism, and the church was the mainstay of the ideological branch of the incumbent system, it was the church that constituted the main obstacle to the growth of science and the concomitant attempts to replace obscurantism with understanding of reality. Today it is capitalism that constitutes the main obstacle to the growth of genuine science for the people.”
By way of modern contrast, what with Pope Francis’ recent encyclical taking a — shall we say — somewhat more ethical and scientific stand on mankind’s custody of this planet, out of ide curiosity I took it upon myself to browse over to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences homepage. And was wryly amused to see who they include (far right) on their banner graphic…
Forgive my ignorance, but who is it? I don’t recognize the image.
I did a Google image search for Galileo & confirmed that the far right image on the banner is Galileo
At the time of the Church’s opposition to Galileo, the accepted science that the Church was defending was from Aristotle. Following Augustine’s advice, the Church did not rebuke those who knew what they were talking about… Galileo’s problems were much more political than scientific. He tended to mock the church.
I keep this in mind when people tell me I must obey and follow blindly the current consensus of “Science.”
Also, as the the “problems” with capitalism. I highly recommend the book “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. I borrowed my original copy from the library, but I will be purchasing a copy from a capitalist organization soon. By the way, this book deals with the theory of inclusive and extractive systems rather than Capitalism and Marxism…
I have worked in commercial nuclear power for 33 years. The left, the liberals, the progressives, the Democrats have always opposed nuclear energy and have always denied or rewritten history which for them starts after their birth. Now they want to embrace nuclear power? They can be trusted no more with the power of the atom than the mad mullahs of Iran. And even if per chance they do come to their senses about nuclear power, I shall still work for the eradication of liberal leftist ideology from society even in my small pitiful way. I hate what leftists have done to nuclear power and to this nation.
Thanks for sharing, Paul.
There ya go, Rod. If you wanna deal with the wackos and the fanatics, just make it a left versus right thing.
Btw, Paul, I’m a bit curious about something….
If your spirituality and religion fills you with hate and loathing, how does that bring you closer to God?
And what is the difference between your hate, and the hate that festers in the mind of a muslim terrorist? Don’t you both hate while hiding behind your piety?
Your hatred is misdirected. True liberals who value their neighbors and wish them to have ever increasing opportunities to pursue life, freedom, and individual decision-making have never been opposed to nuclear energy if they knew anything about it.
People, often claiming to be conservatives, who prefer selling other forms of energy have fought nuclear energy with great success. They have often been skilled at the arts of misdirection and subterfuge. They have often used uninformed, easily manipulated people to front their attacks.
“People, often claiming to be conservatives, who prefer selling other forms of energy have fought nuclear energy with great success. They have often been skilled at the arts of misdirection and subterfuge. They have often used uninformed, easily manipulated people to front their attacks.”
Currently I have a post languishing in your moderation protocol because it contains two links. I hope you see to it that it appears.
These discussions always kinda baffle me. The implication being that somehow “the right” is more pro nuclear than “the left”. Yet all research tends to support the premise that “the right”, politically speaking, is owned lock, stock, and barrel by big oil. This post that hasn’t appeared yet has an interesting graph oh how much monies are recieved if you are a democrat; a republican that hasn’t spoken out denying AGW; or a republican that has spoken out denying AGW. Pretty interesting data.
It was madame Boxer who stuck a stake in the heart of San Onofre…without her, we would probably still be making electricity. Consider the positions of Ed Markey, and socialist Bernie Sanders and compare that to Lamar Alexander (Harry Reid and Obama got Yucca Mt. shutdown). Sure, it’s more complicated than this but these are the most visible miscreants and scofflaws. In addition, I share with Ioannes a repugnance of their leftist philosophy particularly Obama’s overseeing the diminution of our great country.
As an aside, I appreciated the analysis you provided in your 1:38 post.
I wonder does the negative activism of the left, real and imagined, have more power to block our use of NE than the collusion the right practices with the oil industry does?
I stand with Rod in distrusting the motives and honesty of some political proponents of NE. For instance, Imhofe is a vocal supporter of NE, yet has been handsomely supported with monies from big oil PACs. This support has increased as he has become more strident in denying AGW. He is now on the top of the list for such contributions. The numbers are obscene. And how has his “support” actually benefitted NE? Certainly, the big oil interests that are shoveling money into his coffers do not want, or expect, the return on their investment to be increased usage of NE. So why are we to believe his vocal support is anything more than simple political posturing that really is quite toothless and insincere. It seems he cannot state support for NE without attacking Obama in the same breath. Is it just partisan rhetoric? It is one thing to vocally advocate, but quite another to actually institute change that benefits the target of your advocacy. (Is that a word?)
Considering the Republican majority, where are the proposed bills that truly are of benefit to NE? There have been quite a few in support of fracking, drilling in antarctica, keystone, etc. Where is the actual legislative activism from the political right that is of benefit to the NE industry?
“Considering the Republican majority, where are the proposed bills that truly are of benefit to NE? There have been quite a few in support of fracking, drilling in antarctica, keystone, etc.”
Are not politicians in the habit of following the money? Perhaps the fossil fuel industry is more motivated in greasing the wheels of the legislative process. It’s an unfortunate reality of our political system that common sense and sound energy policy get short shrift in favor of the shekels necessary to remain in office. However, I think we can all appreciate the difference between the overt antagonism of say a madame Boxer and the lip service given by Republicans whose true loyalty lies in survival.
We desperately need leaders with courage who are willing to stand on principal and common sense, AND, willingly risk being voted out. I know…duh.
“Yet all research tends to support the premise that “the right”, politically speaking, is owned lock, stock, and barrel by big oil. ”
And how much more is pushing the Green Plague?
Now take all of your numbers on how much BIG OIL gives to Congress, Senate, Local politicians by state and the state that they get their raw product from.
Then do the rest of the work to determine who is trying to influence who and determine how much money BIG OIL is giving to just the top ten Environmental NGO’s, Sierra Club, etc. and the Colleges/universities supporting the Green Plague i.e. Berkley, etc. Then determine why these organizations are giving money to Congress, Senate, Presidents to influence what?
If I was BIG OIL I would know that a large portion of the money I gave to Sierra Club was going to support Green Energy. And It appears they know it to as they brag about it. Even T Boone Pickens Supported the Wind Turbines in his NatGas area Because he KNEW that they would BURN GAS. Even RFK Jr. sold Wind Turbines to the NatGas industry by explaining how Wind Turbines Burn Gas.
And as Rod has said, What happens to the price of NatGas, when all of the Coal plants are shut down? Even if your roof is covered with Solar panels you will not be able to use the amount of electricity you are now. Say goodbye to your whole house AC.
Anti-science extremism from both the left and the right has always been a problem in this country.
Of course, there probably wouldn’t even be any nuclear industry in the US if it weren’t for liberal scientist like Einstein and an extremely liberal President like Roosevelt:-)
I too am disgusted with the leftists I feel are changing the country for the worse and diminishing this great nation. However, I am always willing to shake the hand of those who reach out and let bygones be bygones. Look at those who produced Pandora’s Promise, former anti-nukes who have flushed out the Kool Aid and embraced sound policy. I probably would have little in common with them otherwise (I am assuming they are far to the left) but I support their documentary at every opportunity.
We can’t just give in to hate and despair, we must do all we can to promote the country’s welfare in the spheres of influence we inhabit.
“We supported the first new nuclear power plant in three decades.”
— Barack Obama on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 in a speech in Miami
So, if the prior license for a new plant was dated way back to 1978, one realizes that a number of presidential terms had passed, of both democrat and republican administrations. And during those terms, no new licenses were issued.
So, the Obama administration was the first in 3 decades to oversee the licensing of a new plant? How does that warrant such loathing from Paul and David? I understand it from Paul, as Obama and liberalism is the target of religious and political zealotry that knows no reason. But in David’s case, I would assume he would lean a bit towards the middle, as he seemingly has the common sense to avoid mindless partisan bias.
Also, theres this following bit about Carter that I was unaware of..
“President Carter will send legislation to Congress next month that could cut in half the 12-year process of building and licensing nuclear power plant, James R. Schlesinger Jr. said yesterday.”
“Schlesinger, who is Carter’s choice to head the new Department of Energy, made the statement after his Senate confirmation hearing. He will be formally nominated by the President this morning and is expected to be confirmed by the Senate by Friday.”
“The proposal to streamline the licensing process would accelarate the development of nuclear power of it is approved by Congress.”
“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which licenses nuclear power plants, lists 63 nuclear reactors in operation – providing 8.7 per cent of the nation’s electricity – and 71 plants under construction. Carter energy officials have said privately they would like to see 300 conventional nuclear reactors operating by the end of the century.”
So what happened in the ensuing republican administrations that were in power between Carter and Obama? Where is the actual “meat”, rendered by the right, that nourished the nuclear energy industry?
Both Carter and Schlesinger weren’t actually seeking to streamline anything. Both were members of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission and both favored fossil fuel interests over increased use of nuclear energy. You can find out more about both of them and their actual programs through searches on Atomic Insights.
On the other hand, I have also made the same point about Republican administrations that you have. They also talk a good game. They have done little or nothing to enable the development of nuclear energy. The only President since Kennedy who appeared ready to actually DO something to enable nuclear development was Ford, and he was only in office a couple of years.
POA….”Where is the actual legislative activism from the political right that is of benefit to the NE industry?”
ROD…..”On the other hand, I have also made the same point about Republican administrations that you have. They also talk a good game. They have done little or nothing to enable the development of nuclear energy”
Precisely why the partisan zealotry here, (loathing the left, and lionizing the right), is such an inexplicable aberration. When posing a question such as I quote above, the ranks become silent. And the usual criticism of “the left” is consistently mere insult, and rarely stated substantive reasoning.
Recently, when participating in a friendly debate with a right wing pal, it became quite obvious that his manner of acquiring knowledge was little more than daily immersion in a single media tunnel that was rarely strayed from. His body of “knowledge” was a memorized list of political positions on various issues, repeated by rote, and presented as fact.
Frankly, its scary. One wonders where we are headed. And watching this army of potential “presidential” candidates, I cannot help but feel huge embarrassment for my country. We should be ashamed of this circus sideshow.
Precisely why the partisan zealotry here, (loathing the left, and lionizing the right), is such an inexplicable aberration.
You’re talking about a tiny slice of the readership with that statement. It’s not even a large portion of the commenters. Generalizations about your fellow contributors here are not helpful.
Besides, as I have told you many times, the only part of “here” that I control are the front page posts. The comments are the responsibility of the individuals that write them and reflect as many different points of view as there are commenters.
I can honestly state that my “generalization” was unintended, although in rereading the comment its obvious why you took it that way. My apologies. Certainly it was not an attack on you, or even a comment about you, personally.
However, I rarely see the generalizations about liberals and liberalism, offered by a few here, challenged by your readership and the commenters who participate here. You challenge them on occassion. I do as well. But other than that they seem to be able to make scathing criticism of “the left” without fear of rebuttal. So what are we to assume about the mindset of a largely silent majority, if in fact it is a majority, as your comment implies? Reading the comment section, it is easy to assume that the major bulk of the commenters here are opining from the right side of the aisle. Why else would they, if of liberal persuasion, maintain a silence in the face of the demeaning insult and crass derision offered by two or three of your contributers to this comment section?
Why else would they, if of liberal persuasion, maintain a silence in the face of the demeaning insult and crass derision offered by two or three of your contributers to this comment section?
Because most people are generally nice and prefer not to get into arguments? I can tell you that less than 0.1% of the monthly visitors to Atomic Insights add comments of any kind. There is no way to know what they are thinking.
Why was it the left rather than the right that ended up as the “anti-nuclear” side of politics? It can reasonably be argued that romantic environmentalism (which is the framework which a lot of anti-nukes use to justify their opposition) is a reactionary perspective that sees feudalism as preferable to capitalism. Prince Charles may be an anti-capitalist but that doesn’t mean he’s any friend of the working man.
And do they not realize that in an environment of systemic scarcity, capitalism’s “losers” are more likely to turn not to socialism but rather to murderous tribalism? Both the Nazis and Da’esh were ultimately about conflict over resources (food and water respectively) when stripped of their respective racial or religious façades?
Here are my suspected reasons:
* Was it that they believed the Greenpeace line that nuclear energy was nothing more than a front for nuclear weapons development? Ironically, it is now the conservatives that believe this, at least where Iran is concerned…
* Was it that they were trying to protect the jobs of coal miners, and of railwaymen who make their living hauling coal? Coal mining unions have traditionally been a spearhead of the labour movement. Again, this is ironic when today’s leftists often adopt environmentalist ideas (and thus would be expected to oppose fossil fuel more).
* Was it because many of them were funded by foreign countries (the USSR, or Arab countries in the case of the anti-Zionist left) that had a vested interest in selling fossil fuel?
Or is some other reason which I’ve overlooked more important?
Since the failure of communism everywhere (and statism), I think many of the left gave up on alternative economic perspectives. We saw that especially in the 1990s with the Clinton and Blair regimes – almost more laissez-faire than Bush and Thatcher. They say nature abhors a vacuum, neo-Malthusian, limits to growth plus MMT took up the slack – even among the post-Keynesians who hang out at Naked Capitalism (and should know better!). Without a strong sense using economic policy for good, they naturally gravitate to a melange of modern monetary theory plus limits to growth.
PS: not gave up on alternative economic perspectives but gave up on progressive economic perspectives. Even I’m talking their language! Ouch.
Keynes was critical of Malthus but not for the same reasons that Marxian and Austrian school economists were. I don’t see Keynes criticising the central Malthusian doctrine of limits to growth. So, I’m not really surprised that left post-Keynesians are so easily seduced by limits to growth. Limits to growth is fundamentally anti-progressive, and in tune with the original Friends of the Earth critique of nuclear power (and plentiful energy) which captured the whole green movement in the early 1970s. Post-hippies such as Lovins rephrased their limits to growth as pro-growth. Pro renewables, pro- building insulation, pro-jobs. Horrifying how self-proclaimed environmentalists are willing to trash the actual environment (with low power density energy) in pursuit of their long-term goal of limiting growth.
The right, of course, never had to ditch their economics. Some combination of Austrian and neo-Classical continued to dominate their thinking, and such ideas had always been critical of Malthus and the notion of limits to growth.
Here is a list of big oil’s contributions to our body of “representatives”.
Note the graph on this page….
“All told, 170 elected representatives in the 114th Congress have taken over $63.8 million from the fossil fuel industry that’s driving the carbon emissions which cause climate change. They deny what over 97 percent of scientists say is happening — current human activity creates the greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat within the atmosphere and cause climate change. And their constituents are paying the price, with Americans across the nation suffering 500 climate-related national disaster declarations since 2011.”
” over 97 percent of scientists say is happening ”
With the use of that statement you lose all credibility. At least use the true percentage.
“With the use of that statement you lose all credibility. At least use the true percentage”
It is not my statement. I was providing a quote. If you have a different percentage you care to offer, than offer it. I have no idea how the percentage was arrived at, nor do I have any idea how to prove it, or disprove it.
And what is the purpose of your dissent? Are you disputing the economic figures?
Seems to me you’re grabbing for a flotation device that won’t provide you with any bouyancy.
Would you be more confortable if the term “majority” was used, instead of a percentage? Certainly, that is an indisputable assertion, (majority), so I can state with certainty that such a premise would set better with me. But this ethereal and easily disputable percentage was part and parcel of the piece I linked to. Would you have me offer an edited quote, taken out of context? Would that make me more “credible”?
How about actually disputing the alleged “facts” contained in the piece I linked to, by offering some “facts” of your own, instead of simply attacking my credibility A novel idea, eh?
Any number other that the administration accepted Green Plague “97 percent” meme would be met with an even harsher retort than the above. You are above average intelligence, thus, I am sure if you WANTED to know the true number you could find it in less time than it took to write your rant.
Really? Well, I’m not the one disputing the percentage, nor am I interested in spending the time to research it. Really, I find it kind of a mute point if one accepts that the vast majority of climatologists belive in AGW.
So have at it, Rich. Seeing as how it seems to be such a pressing issue with you, this percentage number, give us the correct percentage. I wait with bated breath.
“You are above average intelligence…..”
How’d you know I’m not an Apple user?
@POA, A truer number is 1/3 Believe, 1/3 on the fence, 1/3 need much more proof. But, Because it is not about the number. Any of the numbers that the UN, IPCC, Administration, Dems, Rep, use. It is all about control. If it was about CO2 then NOTHING in the recent Obama EPA directive or any previous directive is going to do anything whatsoever about global warming, weather you think or deny that CO2 is the problem. And even those that Believe in CO2 causing AGW agree with that and have said as much. Thus WHY. Why are we, the USA going to spend several trillion dollars more than $500,000,000 a year for the next ten years to increase the amount of renewables? WHY Follow the money and it isn’t OIL. It the last few days there have been several commentaries on the internet explaining exactly how and why Nuclear will NOT be apart of reducing CO2. WHY no nuclear? Ignoring that and looking at the numbers, Obama wants 28% of the electricity to be Renewable (meaning wind, solar and some bio) To get 28% of the generated electricity from those sources means that there would have to be three times the name plate generating capacity [reason – they have less than a 28% capacity factor]. Three times 28 is close to the presently installed generating capacity. that is in the neighborhood of 4 Terawatts (EIA.gov has the actual number to several significant figures.) So calculate how many Wind turbines, solar panels and batteries that is going to require. Hint: It is much more than 2 or three trillion dollars. How much more is going to be passed out in Fed, State, Municipal rebates, tax exemptions and tax cuts? That you and I are going to pay for.
“POA, A truer number is 1/3 Believe, 1/3 on the fence, 1/3 need much more proof”
And you know this how? What is the source for your assertion?
No offense, but simply stating it is so doesn’t make it so. As far as “credibility” is concerned, you offering a specific percentage, such as 33.333 percent, is hardly an assertion that begs acceptance when offered without sourcing.
I find the 97 percent somewhat questionable, even though the figure is offered in a piece I advanced. But the 33 percent you allege seems absurd to me, particularly when offered as a mere assertion without any effort on your part to qualify that assertion.
Lemmee guess…..Sean Hannity? Fox?
“WHY Follow the money and it isn’t OIL”
The actual dollar amounts, given by big oil PACs, put in the pockets of Republican senators that have spoken out denying AGW would seem to dispute this. If Rod would post the comment, with links, that his moderation protocol has blocked, you could see for yourself.
“The actual dollar amounts, given by big oil PACs, put in the pockets of Republican senators that have spoken out denying AGW would seem to dispute this.” Don’t know of many power plants burning oil. Were very few burning NatGas to Obama got in office. And that does not explain why large electric utilities with large portions of their power generated by Nuclear, are giving large sums of money to Obama (Duke 2012). The nuclear executives were all excited back in 2004/5 when the govt was talking about taxing “carbon.” And I just goy a glossy flyer in my electric bill describing the 5th Wind Farm we placed under contract making us 20% Renewable” (with a 10% rate increase on the bill).
Lemmee try this again…
Note the graph at this site…
Now, note the contributions made by big oil PACs to our individual so called “representatives”.
“You are above average intelligence, thus, I am sure if you WANTED to know the true number you could find it in less time than it took to write your rant”
Yet in your next breath, equivicating after “making up” a figure, you claim there is no researchable “true number”.
@POA, A truer number is 1/3 Believe, 1/3 on the fence, 1/3 need much more proof. But, Because it is not about the number.
No one can determine the true number. No survey, polling, whatever, as very few will ever honestly provide their true thoughts on it. The question is worse than “Do you enjoy beating your wife? Answer yes or no.” The majority of those in science jobs depend on providing the PC answer to the AGW question. Many in the engineering industry also are dependent on answering that question in a PC way. At many universities, you are shunned, or ostracized if they even think you are a “Denier.” Thus no one can prove any number. Managers of Nuclear power plants will support it because their CEO supports it because The electric utility makes money from the Green Plague. The virus that is going to kill the USA.
Here is an article from Scientific American that may be of interest in this question about percentage….
It also reveals the origin of this alleged 97%….
Interesting that in my search I can find no reference to the 33% percent you assert. There are plenty of pieces, articles, and essays disputing the 97% figure, not suprisingly from publications like Forbes or WSJ. But none of them that I could find cite the 33% figure that you allege. Its a bit disconcerting that you will not let us know how you arrived st thay percentage. Wasn’t this exchange opened by you questioning my credibility? So, I guess I’ll just ask you point blank……
What orifice did you pull this 33% figure out of?
THERE IS NO TRUE NUMBER IT IS ALL PROPAGANDA! They know, the AGW crowd knows, the administration knows and have known for YEARS that the 97% number was BS and yet Obama used it in the last month several times. IT IS PROPAGANDA for the low information audience and the green zealots. Did you not read that it could never be truthfully determined?
And if it makes you feel better, I made it up. But again as I said before “it is not about the number. Any of the numbers …” It is all about control.
Here is the problem Look up the cost of Ivanpah Solar on Wikipedia. It costs as much as a nuclear power plant and makes 1/10 of the usable power (allowing for capacity factor). It covers 3,500 Acres. That means to get just 1/2 of Obamas Renewable power from a facility like that (and they are on the drawing boards and in the permit process NOW) theUSA will have to build at least 1000 of these solar furnaces. to get 10% “renewable” increase. And they still get half of their power from NatGas. They will cover 3,500,000 Acres, and the total construction cost will be 22,000 Billion [That is 22 trillion] Now give the builders a 33% Green energy rebate (7 trillion from the US treasury), and their tax cuts, etc. Do the same for Wind Farms and then allow for inflation, and the fact that electricity will double in cost do to the lack of COAL power plants and ask your self again who wants green energy? Who is going to make money and whos pocket is that money coming out of. And Half of the power coming from these solar furnaces will be coming from NarGas. And you are PO over 97% or 33% Wake up. or your kids will be burning trees and living in Canada.
“And if it makes you feel better, I made it up”.
Actually, that doesn’t make me feel any better. In fact, it makes me regret wasting my time considering your BS.
And it is regretable that Rod’s efforts here are so undermined by a few of you who seem to make a habit of “making things up”. You attack my credibility, then admit to pulling statistics out of your butt? I won’t be wasting my time on you again, Rich.
Let’s think about this a little more calmly. Rich was indeed guilty of making up a number, but the article in Scientific American to which you link tells me that he was right about the 97% number being part of a propaganda campaign specifically aimed at stimulating the political action of encouraging voters to call their congressman and ask them to “do something” about climate change.
The research that produced the number was led by John Cook, a research fellow at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia, as part of his PhD thesis work in “science communication.” Though there are some very good scientists who have become excellent scientific communicators — like Issac Asimov — there are also some charlatans that wrap messaging and advertising in the guise of “science” (4 out of 5 dentists recommend…) My skeptical antenna twitches when I find out that a widely used number by politicians was developed by a guy working at a place called “the Global Change Institute” and working on a PhD in using communications tools to talk about science.
He could very well be in training to use carefully selected figures seemingly based on science as a communication tool to stimulate “Global Change.” Without a good understanding of the changes his institute wants to implement (impose?) I worry a bit.
I’m not sure which is worse in debate – making up a number or carefully sifting through piles of numbers to find one that you like and can use to further a carefully designed plan for stimulating action by the government. My experience has been that one of the few actions that politicians can effectively accomplish is to direct the flow of vast quantities of money and effort. It behooves all of us to work hard to make sure they make their choices well and not based on scientifically designed propaganda campaigns that might be sponsored by the people waiting at the trough.
@POA, A truer number is 1/3 Believe, 1/3 on the fence, 1/3 need much more proof.
Do you have problems with English? the first two words are “A truer” I did not say nor mean to imply “THE TRUE” and the fact that all of the numbers are equal Obviously also implies that it is a SWAG. And the rest of the paragraph supported that fact. IT is not about the reported numbers of Scientists, engineers, professors, whatever it is a propaganda tool. And you keep throwing back BIG OIL. It is not BIG OIL either. Pick up any financial magazine, look at any investment mag or web site. They all (most) show how there is big money in Renewables. But few are explaining that it is going to take 1/2 of our GDP to make Obama’s dream come true. And even if the US builds 1/4 of the renewables needed to achieve his dream, the rebates, taxes your local taxes, the cost of electricity is going to bankrupt the USA.
Again, if it is all about CO2 then why isn’t the USA building NPPs? How many NPPS can be built with 22 Trillion dollars? How much CO2 will that many NPPS eliminate from the atmosphere? Even you are intelligent enough to realize that it is at least five times and closer to ten times the amount of reduction achieved if spent on Renewables. So Again why the 97% meme? Why no nuclear power plants? How many electric vehicles could be powered by 50 or 100 more nuclear power plants? And it costs the federal government NOTHING more than backing the loans. Just like they do for 80 – 90 % of the homeowners who get a VA, FHA and other Government backed home loans. Whose cost is paid for buy the borrower.
Rich….you took the incentive away that would have me read anymore of your lengthy musings. I can find no reason to trust the veracity of ANYTHING you say after your admission of using BS to argue your point. Rod’s wrong. “Making things up” is far worse than offering a figure that has a described method upon which it was arrived at. At least with the 97% figure I was able to do some investigation, and arrive at my own conclusion whether or not to trust the figure. But your figure afforded me no such luxury, and resulted in me WASTING no small smount of time trying to find the basis for your claim. You have shown yourself untrustworthy in debate. There has been talk here lately of excising off topic commentary. Perhaps the better idea, on a site dealing with science and the politics of science, would be to get rid of people willing to “make things up” just for the sake of prevailing in a discussion. I’ve got nothing more to say to you. Direct your BS towards someone else.
Don’t be so high and mighty.
Rich is making valuable points that are worth considering. As he pointed out, the way that he offered his estimate could be seen as indicating a guess, not a precise number backed up by “science.” Repeating someone else’s propaganda number is not necessarily better than making up an original number without any claim of it being accurate to two significant digits. Propaganda depends on repetition by people who believe that they can say anything they want as long as they have a source.
An egregious example is the often repeated — by Caldicott, Gundersen and Hunziker — number of 1 million deaths as a direct result of Chernobyl. That number is close to the one published in a document that was printed by the New York Academy of Sciences, but tracking down the basis of the number and the details of the project and political maneuverings that produced the number was a year long effort by several deeply experienced people.
Yet the number is still out there and still repeated with great effect because the propaganda machine that created it doesn’t care about the truth and has far more resources to bring to bear than I do.
Rod….you take pride in your mastery of written comunication. Rightfully so. So it isn’t a stretch for me to surmise that you are fully cognizant of the fact that Rich’s assertion was not presented as a hypothetical, or a “guess”. His wording was explicit. Much effort and discussion was expended by both Rich and I on a USELESS premise. If only Rich had approached the issue honestly, questioned the 97% figure, and phrased his rebuttal thusly; “I would bet that”….or….”I would hazard a guess that”…..or any number of other phrasings that would have made clear the nature of his argument……then there really would be no issue with his credibility, would there? But he offered the 1/3 as a given. Its not “high and mighty” of me to expect honesty, or at the very least a decent level of communication skill from someone entering into an exchange with me. I find no reason to trust Rich at this point, despite your attempt to white wash his manner of presenting his argument. He offers a huge amount of mathmatical content in his musings. Why should I risk my time researching his “facts”, in order to wage an informed response, when he has shown a propensity to simply fabricate “facts” by the use of misleading semantics and nuance?
Unlike others here, my brain does allow me to ignore the “chaff”. And Rich is the first person here that I can confidently maintain has purposely offered such a by product. I’ve bucked alot of oat hay Rod, and the only thing I ever got from chaff was a nasty itchy rash.
Here is the original statement Rich made. Note that he did not say 33%, but 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. (That reminded me of the cute little kid whose brother cuts the sandwich and the kid says to his mom – I got a pretty big half, didn’t I?)
It seems obvious to me that Rich was not arguing about a number but clearly stating that the number in this case has no meaning and does not really matter very much. It is the rest of his statement that is worth reading and reacting to, not the numbers he provided.
At the $6/W figure which Vogtle seems to be coming in at, about 3.5 TW worth. Average US electric consumption is about 0.45 TW.
Although two years old, the following is relevent to the discussion…….
“At an annual shareholder meeting held Wednesday, upper-level management for the oil conglomerate Chevron faced renewed questioning over its record-setting political contributions during last year’s national election.”
“At the meeting, a shareholder resolution on the issue focused on Chevron’s alleged refusal to explain how the company’s political spending has benefited shareholders, particularly given the excoriating criticism the contribution has garnered, and called for a cessation of the practice.”
“The resolution failed to pass, however, receiving just four percent of shareholder backing.”
“Of particular interest has been a lump payment of 2.5 million dollars spent by a Chevron subsidiary. Given that Chevron receives government contracts, the contribution’s timing (in the last weeks of the election) and its beneficiary (a group focused on electing Republicans to the House of Representatives) have raised concerns that the payment could have violated U.S. law.”
poa — The 33% number is a probably a lot closer to the truth than the 97% number which is pure bull crap. As has been explained to you by Rich, Rod, and others, money talks and there is big money in promoting “green energy”. Many scientists have publicly acknowledged the fact that there is no money for any research that questions AGW. Many scientists have asked to have their names removed from the IPCC report. World-wide recognized climate experts like Fred Singer have been highly critical of AGW.
Your analysis of the mid-east situation is much better. Here is an interesting analysis of the Iran nuclear deal by Pat Buchanan.
Several years ago (not many) the state legislature wanted to GIVE the state Agriculture College a $50,000 grant to study if the droughts followed a predictable cycle. That’s it, just see if there was a cycle that the farmers could use to determine what to plant when. The board of regents shot it down. They felt this study could/would impact the university negatively if it revealed any findings contrary to the AGW theory. Thus, the farmers are still using “The Farmers Almanac” and this is the 21st Century Questions? Google it.
From Freedom’s link….
“The president should declare Dermer persona non grata and send him packing, then tell the Israeli government we will discuss a new arms package when you have a prime minister who understands that no nation interferes in the internal affairs of the United States. None.”
“That could bring Bibi’s government, with its single-vote majority, crashing down. And why not? After all, Bibi was a virtual surrogate for Mitt Romney when Mitt was trying to bring down Obama”
“Obama and Kerry are never running again. Deep down, they would surely relish taking Bibi down. And they could do it.”
“Deal or no deal, it is time America started acted like America again.”
Darn, Rod, in was enjoying that. Didcha hafta?
And speaking about nuclear energy and politics, I see Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, is once again threatening to assasinate Iranian nuclear scientists. Stating in an interview that he bore no responsibility “for the life expectancy of Iranian scientists”, the implication is obvious. This is the same Israeli that insinuated that a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran is a viable option. This IS NOT some powerless right wing zealot spouting threats. It is a powerful member of Netanyahu’s cabinet who would not be using such rhetoric if it was not acceptable to Netanyahu.
I was of the misguided sentiment that this “deal” would cause the spectre of war to become less likely. I now believe that is not the case. It seems, even should this deal go through, Israel will engage in acts of war against Iran, such as targeting Iranian scientists for assasination. And, as the Liberty incident proved, Israel is not beyond employing false flag operations in order to drag us into conflict.
As members of the NE community, your silence about this epic current unfolding crisis does not speak well of you. Right, left, or independent, will you once again stand mute as scientists are targeted and murdered on the basis of unsubstantiated accusation and guilt by association?
Shame on you. Is this what you stand for?
You have made 12 of the 34 comments in this thread, more than 1/3.
Perhaps it is time for you to take a vacation from AI. Preferably a very long one.
“You have made 12 of the 34 comments in this thread, more than 1/3”
Not true. I have made far more than that, but an amusing exchange with Billy Bob was deleted by Rod.
And one relevent post containing the actual amounts of money our individual senators have recieved from big oil contributers has yet to appear, for whatever reason. It is information I would assume Rod would be interested in, considering the original topic of discussion on this thread. So its failure to appear seems somewhat inexplicable.
Rather than direct your wrath at POA, you may wish to direct some of your energy at the Hunziker article linked in the first sentence in the main topic. You should find plenty to raise your ire.
There is no comment facility that I can find on CounterPunch.
I think you could make some relevant comments about the Hunziker article right here. From your past postings on this site and elsewhere it is seen that you have a lot of insight on this subject.
I’ve already said everything that needs to be said about that subject.
If this is any indication how your industry presents “facts”, than you have a deeper PR problem, and a far deeper partisan bias, than even I imagined……
“Israel is believed to be behind a series of assassinations of at least 5 top Iranian scientists involved in Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program…….”
So, such allegations become fact despite no due process being afforded these scientists allegedly “involved in Iran’s covert weapons program”?
Such wording is despicably disingenuous, and is a far cry from what one should expect from a nuclear industry “news” entity. These murdered scientists are as depicted, simply because Israel makes the accusation?
What other assertions made by this news source are based in the same kind of irresponsible and unproven partisan propoganda?
You’ve been mislead, POA. In no way is nuclear-news.net a mouthpiece for the nuclear industry. It’s an alarmist disinformation site, which freely mixes anti-nuclear-weapons sentiment with anti-nuclear-power sentiment.
You have independently discovered the “despicably disingenuous” tactics of some of these people.
Thank you for opening my mind to taking a closer look at that particular site. You are right, I jumped to a conclusion that was completely erroneous.
I see now that the disingenous nature of the wording I cited was and is instrumental to casting the pursuit and use of nuclear energy in a bad light. Ergo, the message being a nuclear scientist must automatically be a nuclear weapons designer. Unfortunately, I have seen the same argument offered here by actual proponents of NE, at least as it applies to Iranian scientists. Thats why I find it baffling that the participants here are not vocally unsupportive of these assassinations, past and hopefully not present. The silence is deafening.
Is there something wrong with me enjoying an afternoon on the internet, EP?
I just finished a project that took over 18 months of me living and working out of town, with limited access to the internet, or even phone reception. Taking saturdays off wasn’t an option.
What exactly is it that has your panties in such a wad? That I am actually enjoying a day on the net, surfing international news outlets, and commenting at various blogs I find interesting?
You know, you can simply ignore my comments. That is an option for you. If my posting offends you, don’t read it. Or is that too simple a solution to your discomfort with the amount of comments I submit? Or hey, I have an idea, call me a “troll”! That seems to be a favorite “contribution” of yours. Or maybe we can play lets count posts for the last six months, and see who has been the most prolific commenter in that time period.
Or gosh, EP, maybe you’d like to suggest what you think I should do with a relaxing saturday in front of the internet. But before you do, bear in mind that if it involves a lubricant, I’m not interested. So choose your wording carefully.
The REAL problem with politics is that it has been as I call Mediaized, and modified for marketing over the last 20 – 30 years. The Media makes a fortune off of the process. People used to select the BEST candidate and paid lesser attention to their party. l Still aim for the BEST person that will perform the best job. However, now politics, elections and campaigns are like football, with the presidential election being the Super Bowl. The voters wear shirts, of the color of their candidate. There are parties for each event along the way in the process and bets, even fights on the outcome. Thursday night local news showed the gathering at several local “Sports Bars” for the Rep Debate, there was standing room only. Cars in the parking lot at many work places are vandalized if they have the wrong bumper sticker, and elicit road-rage while driving to work. It no longer matters what the person stands for it is just weather they are red or blue. It makes no difference that the house and senate are both Blue – when a stupid law is signed by a red president as the Blues will blame the Reds for the rest of the century that it was their fault. And the same if the Reds hold both and there is a Blue president. [Read history you can find numerous examples.] I am surprised the authors did not see this. It is not the person, it is the team that must win. Could only be that they are much younger than me.
Read my post at the beginning of this thread, Rich. What do we have to argue about?
Many comments are annoying to read. I was hoping to see real discussion of the challenges in getting nuclear power deployed ASAP. Commenters please take your personal spats elsewhere, they create a distraction from the kind of dialog I suspect everyone wants to have. Moderator(s), IMHO I suggest removing all of the off-topic comments attached to this post.
Bill Sacks and Greg Meyerson, thank you for writing this essay. I suspect it will greatly aid me and others as we advocate for deploying nuclear power.
Fossil energy should have been dispatched yesterday. No time to argue, just roll up our sleeves and get to work. With a lot of hard work *hopefully* we will land somewhere between a catastrophe and loss of most of the web of life as we know it.
AGW triva: Fossil energy use has changed ocean pH from 8.179 to 8.069 (from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification). That’s an almost 30% increase in acidity! No wonder marine creatures’ shells are dissolving.
Thank you for visiting Atomic Insights and providing useful commentary. It is difficult to moderate discussion without imposing censorship that increases Atomic Insights responsibility and perhaps even liability for comments made. We prefer a light touch and only delete or disprove of comments that range far off topic. That means that some readers will be put off by having to sift through the chaff to find the value. We do, on occasion, find comments that are so valuable we obtain permission and elevate them to front page posts to begin new discussion threads.
Rod…….way way off topic…….
I am going to go down to Long Beach (West coast, cal) in the next few weeks to look at a 43′ yawl that may require my skills. I am working out a trade off with the owner, if I do the work, for occassional use of the vessel. If you’re ever in the area……
Hey, check this out, some american scientists that actually have operative gonads! Perhaps you all could contact them and figure out how to grow some.
From the New York Times……
29 U.S. Scientists Praise Iran Nuclear Deal in Letter to Obama
By WILLIAM J. BROAD
AUGUST 8, 2015
Twenty-nine of the nation’s top scientists — including Nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former White House science advisers — wrote toPresident Obama on Saturday to praise the Iran deal, calling it innovative and stringent.
Have to agree with ‘Guest’: the back and forth between 2 or 3 commenters gets a little old. I’m glad Rod keeps a light touch as a moderator…I just worry the tit-for-tat thing crowds out thoughtful comments from the less pugilistic commenters.
great Bertrand Russell quote – thank you Mike Conley for posting it.
As a genuine tree-hugging poor-feeding liberal with a picture of George McGovern on my wall, I would point out a factor that gets forgotten too easily in the left’s seeming anti-nuclear default position that NOBODY has mentioned, and that is that there is an unmistakable foundation of *anti-corporate* paranoia. Not anti-nuke per se, but anti ‘Big business’. The thinking is that big corporations are motivated only to distort the truth, minimize legal exposure, withhold information, and to make money at the expense of the public good if necessary.
There are striking parallels between the GMO debate and the nuclear power debate. It simply CAN’T be a good thing that a big company is ‘interfering’ in our FOOD, right? (homework: go utter the word ‘Monsanto’ to a gaggle of lefties and sit back and watch the bile and spittle fly). Go look up some of Will Saletan’s fantastic work on this topic on SLATE and I think you’ll very quickly recognize the same anti-science, caution-in-spite-of-evidence to-the-point-of-hysteria patterns that underpin the nuclear power debate.
Peter Sandman (of outrage management fame) says you have to acknowledge past problems before you can hope to change minds. And let’s face it, in the nuke cause at least *some* of that anti-corp paranoia is earned, right? Being generous, Met-Ed and Tepco did not inspire much confidence during TMI and Fukushima events.
The irony is that wind turbines and solar panels once *seemed* all co-op-ish and democratic (small d) and power-to-the-people…but today’s reality is that the companies behind renewable energy are million/billion dollar concerns who answer only to shareholders just like any other company. Anti-corporate lefties will eventually have to come to terms with the fact that these are gigantic profit-seeking companies who are no more out to save the world than ExxonMobil, Duke, or Entergy are. It’s funny to me when the anti-climate change crowd acts as if the money in green tech is corrupting scientists (while ignoring the fact that oil, gas, and coal is a trillion dollar counterweight), but I still suspect this is a line of exploitation for persuading the skeptical left.
No offense, Rich, but I don’t think the ‘green plague’ rhetoric is helpful in a persuasive capacity here. I like Ben Heard’s approach, which is to accept that wind and solar have a place in the mix rather than pretending they are completely incapable of contributing. I’d rather urge people to challenge some of their basic assumptions (specifically, that ‘green energy’ companies are benevolent); so a key pillar of any pro-nuke argument has to be to remind lefties that green business is still business. e.g. “By all means you should be skeptical about what corporations tell you – from oil to coal to nuclear to gas companies – they are all working on selling *their* agenda to you. But the Big Business epithet must necessarily extend to solar wafer manufacturers, screen printers, panel installers and service companies, to rare-earth mining companies who supply to blade fabricators, battery & turbine drivetrain makers, transport & logistics companies…Because every single one of them – quite naturally – has the exact same motivations to persuade you that their product has more benefits, more productivity,more reliability, less cost, and less risk than it probably does.”
“..while ignoring the fact that oil, gas, and coal is a trillion dollar counterweight..”
That trillion dollars is not a counterweight. The Fossil Fuel Industry benefits by promoting the denial of AGW and they benefit by promoting green energy because green cannot replace FF. When you consider the world’s energy needs, green is a joke. It will never amount to more than a pee hole in snow. It can’t cut the mustard and the FFI knows it. The only energy source that can replace FF’s is nuclear. The FFI promotes green in order to harm or kill NE. The FFI is taking advantage of the fact that 98% of the public do not understand the basic physics of energy and many of them have been duped into believing that wind and solar can supply the world’s energy needs. The FFI also knows that NE can easily replace all the energy produced by coal, oil, and gas. It can produce all the electricity that is needed and all the liquid fuels that are needed or wanted and produce them cleanly and cheaply. That is the reason why they promote wind and solar.
I agree, but with an important clarifying thought. Hydrocarbons will remain useful and used. They have characteristics that make them irreplaceable in certain applications and quite competitive in others.
The profitability of selling hydrocarbons will be diminished long before they lose significant sales volume measured by amount of material, not by dollar value. That loss of profitability and market power disappears whenever the market recognizes that there is no scarcity of materials that can be used to produce useful energy. The supply is only limited by the ability to find markets.
As Sheik Yamani said in the 1970s, “Just as the Stone Age did not end for lack of stones, the Oil Age will not end for lack of oil.” That statement can be more generalized by replacing “oil” with “hydrocarbons” or “fossil fuel.”
What his statement implied, but did not say specifically was that people didn’t stop using stones when the Stone Age ended. Even today’s society uses a huge volume of stones in various forms and in a variety of applications. The Stone Age ended when inventors developed capable alternative building materials and developed the ability to create stones or stone-like materials out of raw materials like sand and water. The enormous profits that were available to nobility from controlling access to quarries melted away but societies overall became far more wealthy.
Rod — I agree 100% that FF’s are very valuable sources of hydro-carbons which have many uses besides fuel. Many years ago, a friend of mine who has a Phd in chemistry told me that in the future, those hydro carbons would be too valuable to be used as fuel. He mentioned plastics and some other uses that I don’t recall.
FreedomFirst – my ‘trillion dollar counterweight’ paragraph was simply making the point – perhaps not very effectively – that if someone is worried that money and profit seeking somehow corrupts peoples motives, then the hydrocarbon industrial complex must be one of the biggest corrupting influences in the world. Certainly orders of magnitude larger than the corrupting ability of green power, in terms of dollars. (e.g. My crazy right wing neighbor acts like climate scientists must be on the take from the wind industry, while ignoring the fact that ExxonMobil could of course buy up as many supposedly corrupt climate scientists as it wanted)
Moving on – I’m not sure I follow what you said about the fossil fuel industry promoting green tech though. I get the rationale – that it ultimately benefits the FFI to divert what should be nuclear’s money into green tech – but something doesn’t add up. If that’s what’s going on it seems like there would be more pro-wind/pro-solar Republican politicians out there…and fewer climate change denialists on that side of the aisle… why are the Republicans so vociferously opposed to green anything?
If that’s what’s going on it seems like there would be more pro-wind/pro-solar Republican politicians out there…and fewer climate change denialists on that side of the aisle… why are the Republicans so vociferously opposed to green anything?
Are they? I suggest taking a look at The Great Texas Wind Rush: How George Bush, Ann Richards, and a Bunch of Tinkerers Helped the Oil and Gas State Win the Race to Wind Power
“I’m not sure I follow what you said about the fossil fuel industry promoting green tech though. I get the rationale – that it ultimately benefits the FFI to divert what should be nuclear’s money into green tech..”
Yes. That is what I meant. It would have been more clear if I said that every vote for Green Energy is a vote against NE and therefore a vote for the FFI. And, of course, every vote against AGW is a vote for the FFI.
I don’t believe much of what politicians say because they are usually just trying to appease a particular audience at a particular time and place. They don’t really believe in what they say in the sense that they are not willing to fight for it or commit to it, or lose friends or supporters over it.
You cite such people of great character….Bush……Richards……
I doubt that the word “green” even entered their minds, except as a marketing slogan. Neither did the word “greed”. But we both know which letter followed the double e when examining their motives.
I doubt anything more than the almighty dollar figured into their actions. Certainly it would be a huge stretch to consider this some sort of nefarious plot against the NE industry.
Bill, I read your article, and remember old times in Ann Arbor and want to get in touch with you. Please let me know how to get in touch with you.
Panama City 24-8-15
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