Three things I’ve mentioned before:
That nuclear power, had it been introduced today, would have been hailed as a saviour of the climate, as it, even sustainably, could provide us clean energy with zero emissions for millennia. Not only safer than almost all other sources of energy but actually directly saving lives from day 1, plus moving us towards a carbon-neutral future.
That with nuclear power renewables will no longer be necessary.
And that the energy density of renewables is simply too low to supply enough energy to our societies. For example, supplying the Netherlands with electricity from only solar and wind would require an area 180% the size of … the Netherlands.
One uncomfortable thought keeps coming up in that connection and reading Ted Nordhaus I think I am getting a better understanding of why so many activists attack nuclear power: Nuclear power would actually allow us to go on growing our economies.
At bottom, almost all contemporary framings of the climate issue insist that addressing the problem will require a fundamental break from the past. Our actions, our choices, our determination to fundamentally remake the world, right now, shall determine whether we thrive or burn up in a runaway fossil-fueled cataclysm.
And so, in the popular climate discourse, we imagine more marching and protesting and clever climate communications might radically remake the political economy of carbon and energy on a planet with seven billion people, soon to be nine, that is still overwhelmingly dependent on fossil fuels. We argue that political will is all that stands in the way of an international treaty, a global carbon price, or a Green New Deal and that once the political breakthrough materializes, those measures will magically produce some unnamed and unobjectionable technology to do everything that wind and solar energy can’t.
Nuclear energy’s original sin was that it was plug and play with industrial modernity, promising limitless energy to support economic prosperity and a growing population.
— Ted Nordhaus, “On Anti-Nuclear Bullshit“
I’ve mentioned Malthus before and the more you look at modern climate activists you recognise the basically neo-malthusian aspect of them. I’ve since come to realise that Malthus wasn’t wrong, based on history before him, he was just so unfortunate that the human civilisation changed fundamentally just after him, making his doomsday predictions wrong. Everyone after Malthus however, have been wrong to follow his conclusions as they have been obviously wrong ever since.
Variable renewable energy cannot provide enough energy for our societies and it was never meant to. Either we have to add energy from fossil fuels – think Nord Stream 2 – or we will have to destroy the modern way we live, just as Extinction Rebellion wants us to.