disrupting our Earth’s weather. The oil companies and atomic reactor backers have dismissed the ability of renewables to provide humankind’s energy needs. But the IPCC confirms that green technologies, including efficiency and conservation, can in fact handle the job—at a manageable price. “It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” says Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, an economist who led the IPCC team. The IPCC report cites nuclear power as a possible means of lowering industrial carbon emissions. But it also underscores considerable barriers involving finance and public opposition. Joined with widespread concerns about ecological impacts, length of implementation, production uncertainties and unsolved waste issues, the report’s positive emphasis on renewables virtually guarantees nuclear’s irrelevance. Some
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climate scientists have recently advocated
atomic energy as a solution to global warming. But their most prominent spokesman, Dr. James Hansen, also expresses serious doubts about the current generation of reactors, including Fukushima, which he calls “that old technology.” Instead Hansen advocates a new generation of reactors. But the designs are untested, with implementation schedules stretching out for decades. Financing is a major obstacle as is waste disposal and widespread public opposition, now certain to escalate with the IPCC’s confirmation that renewables can provide the power so much cheaper and faster. With its 15-year deadline for massive carbon reductions the IPCC has effectively timed
out any chance a new generation of reactors could help. And with its clear endorsement of green power as a tangible, doable, affordable solution for the climate crisis, the
pro-nuke case has clearly suffered a multiple meltdown. With green power, says IPCC co-chair Jim Skea, a British professor, a renewable solution is at hand. “It’s actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living.”