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Time to Crank Out The Nukes

That, or turn out the lights.

By Kermit Frosch  |  June 12, 2008

The Associated Press reports:

The world needs to invest $45 trillion in energy in coming decades, build some 1,400 nuclear power plants and vastly expand wind power in order to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to an energy study released Friday.  The report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency envisions a "energy revolution" that would greatly reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels while maintaining steady economic growth. [emphasis added]

There are two kinds of people who support, endorse, and promote the current panic over human-caused climate change.

The first kind is represented by the people who truly believe that carbon emissions are a problem, that global warming is real and is a hazard to our health, and that therefore a solution must be found.  Now, as we've explored many time previously, the world is not getting warmer and even if it were warming, there are better ways to deal with it than shutting down our economy.

However, difficult as it may be to believe, there are people out there who truly believe that global warming is a crisis but do not want to send us all back to the Stone Age.  They are earnestly seeking actual solutions - yes, solutions to a non-problem, but solutions nonetheless.  This report is generated by such a group.  And it makes some interesting points, that are all the more interesting because they're true.

The first sentence of the article points out a fundamental truth that seems to have escaped most environmentalists: if you want to reduce carbon emissions, there is only one way to do it, and that is nuclear power.  For all the bloviating about wind, solar, tide, geothermal, and whatnot, the International Energy Agency declares the simple fact that none of those sources will ever be of great significance, at least not in our lifetimes.

Yes, someday there may be great technological leaps in the efficiency of solar panels.  Yes, someday we may figure out a way to economically generate electricity from the tides without totally fouling up currents.  And yes, in certain places current "renewable" technologies make sense, and we should use them.  But the fancy exotics so beloved of the granola brigade cannot produce the trillions of gigawatts required to keep the developed world ticking, much less to bring the developing world up to the standards they wish to reach.

No, the one and only way to produce tremendous amounts of energy without emitting any carbon is through the use of nuclear power.  We need a major nuclear power push merely to keep carbon emissions at today's levels, using new plants to meet the increased demands of growing wealth and population.  To make any progress in reducing carbon levels will require even more nukes.

Many famously green countries are realizing this, particularly in Scandinavia; any other approach to reducing carbon cannot help but devastate the economy, as the German Chancellor makes plain.  No less a eminence than the founder of Greenpeace has recognized the unique potential of nuclear power, as well as improved safety from far safer modern designs, and now supports it.

But in the Lieberman-Warner "Climate Change Act" recently debated in our Senate, was any mention made of the obvious answer?  No.

Which brings us to the other type of person advocating the global warming message: those for whom it is merely a means to an end.  There are, apparently, a great many people who may like green trees and pretty birds, but are far more in love with power.  Take away modern energy supplies and the modern world grinds to a halt.  Now that's power.

As any number of studies have shown, people like to be better off; but it's even more pleasant when you stay the same while your neighbor gets poorer.  This is exactly what "green" politicians are attempting to accomplish; they will never need to worry about paying for air-conditioning their offices or fueling their cars, we taxpayers take care of them.

As their lavish limousines roll through struggling neighborhoods, they can dispense government largess - again, at our expense - and not only feel good about themselves, but stay in office.  The higher the taxes, the more this is true; and what better way to con people into making unnecessary sacrifices than by telling them they're "saving the planet"?

The scientists at the International Energy Agency are no friends of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, conservatism, or even liberty and freedom as we've known it in the United States.  No doubt they are in vehement agreement with Barack Obama's position that, as Americans,

We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.

For all that, we can clearly see that they don't hate modernity and progress for its own sake.  They really, truly do want to find a practical solution for what they believe to be a problem.  And as we go through this election year, they've provided a great litmus test.

You can tell apart well-meaning conservationists from anti-human, anti-technology, anti-wealth Marxist environmental extremists with one simple question: What are your plans for nuclear power?  Someone who wants real solutions will support building nuclear plants - not by onesies and twosies, but by the hundreds and thousands, all over the world, mass-produced to modern standards.

We need new energy sources given how much oil the Chinese are buying and how much the Indians want to buy with all the money they get running call centers.  There aren't enough rivers left to dam, so no matter what anyone says, it's either build nukes or freeze in the dark.

The answer to that question separates the honest from the thieves.  No prizes for guessing which our Congress is.