Wednesday, January 23, 2008

James Hansen on New Nukes

James Hansen has a new piece in the Bulletin Online in which he emphasizes the need for a moratorium on new coal plants.

"...the only practical way to prevent carbon dioxide levels from exceeding 450 ppm is to phase out coal power except at plants where carbon emissions are captured and stored.

An outline of a practical way to do this can be readily defined: First, establish a moratorium in developed countries on construction of new coal power plants until effective carbon-capture-and-storage technology is viable; second, establish a similar subsequent moratorium in developing countries; and third, phase out existing coal plants over the next several decades and replace them with energy sources that don't emit carbon, such as wind, solar, and nuclear power, and coal plants with carbon capture and storage. Specifically, developed countries need to stop building coal power plants that don't capture and store carbon by 2012, developing countries need to halt such construction by 2022, and all existing coal power plants without carbon capture must be bulldozed by 2050."

"Required technology developments in clean coal, biofuels, and advanced nuclear power will produce high-tech jobs and provide a new market for international trade that could allow the United States to recover some of the wealth that it's hemorrhaging to China."

Obviously, Dr. Hansen (who is arguably the world's most famous scientific authority on these matters), does not agree with Harvey Wasserman, Helen Caldicott, the NIRS and the like that new nuclear plants are a counterproductive enterprise in the face of global warming. Quite the opposite, in fact. There appears to be a widening fissure between the scientists who are serious about global warming (like Hansen and Sir David King), and the environmental movement. I'm going to go out on a limb and hypothesize that the scientists are the ones with science on their side.

No comments: