An amusing development on the environmental left is the conflict between anti-nuclear and anti-carbon activists. Nuclear power emits no carbon or greenhouse gasses, so the global warming crowd supports it, but anti-nuclear activists oppose nuclear no matter what.
Even Nancy Pelosi says nuclear energy should be “on the table” as a policy solution, because “the technology has changed” (It hasn’t. Sure, it’s gotten better, but it hasn’t changed drastically enough to go from off the table to on the table.). Emission-free nuclear energy satisfies the anti-carbon crowd. In fact, environmentalist and Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore is now an avid spokesman for building new nuclear plants.
But anti-nuclear activists find every excuse to oppose the nuclear solution. To the anti-nuclear left, atomic energy is “dirty and dangerous,” “retro power,” and “obsolete.” Nukes are dangerous because, as Michele Boyd of the Public Citizen notes, armor piercing anti-tank missiles can penetrate the storage casks of nuclear fuel. That’s right: armor piercing missiles (and what, exactly, is safe from armor piercing missiles?).
Nuclear energy is dangerous because planes could crash into storage casks and destroy them, say activists, or they could be attacked by grenade launchers which are “readily available” (right next to the candy aisle in Wal-Mart). And no one designing nuclear plants ever thought of planes crashing into them.
The increased supply of electricity from nuclear energy “drives up energy prices,” says Friends of the Earth (the same organization petitioning the EPA to regulate water vapor as a “greenhouse gas”). Increasing supply drives up prices? Hmm. I wonder how Econ 101 professors feel about that.
Then there’s the nuclear energy “makes global warming worse” crowd, saying that because nuclear power plants emit water vapor, which causes climate change, nuclear plants have a detrimental effect on the environment.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. knows what to do: “If we had a real free market that does what a market is supposed to do . . . wind, solar, geothermal and tidal would easily triumph in the marketplace.” So, a man who can’t bring himself to support wind power in his own backyard sincerely supports it in yours and mine.
While it is funny to expose the contradictions of the environmentalist left, there is still the serious problem of America’s energy supply. Wind and solar supply insignificant amounts of electricity (less than 2% combined) while nuclear power supplies 20%. Everyone insists on conservation, wind, and solar, but these alternatives are insignificant contributors to our energy supply. If you want to “solve” global warming, decrease dependency on foreign oil, and do so in an economically rational way, then nuclear power must figure in the equation.