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More anti/pro nuclear research if you’re interested:

There are plenty of debates out there. Below, we have tried to package a few, but you will find your own. Essentially, the environment/energy debates have politicized science (this has been happening since before Galileo of course). The fundamental principle in science is to question everything, continuously, even its own assumptions. The fundamental principle of politics is power. The fact is, there is too much we DON’T know.

Debates to watch:

  1. Debate between Patrick Moore and Arjun Makhijani. Moore was a founder of Greenpeace, now heads Greenspirit Strategies. He is therefore a darling of the nuclear industry because he is seen as a ‘convert’. He is outspokenly pro-nuclear and sceptical that climate change is caused by humans. Please note the date: 2008 – before Fukushima.
    1. Moore claims that USA is way behind France & Japan in storing nuclear waste. But the Fukushima tragedy exposed severe waste and safety hazards - which would never have seen the light of day if the tsunami hadn’t hit. What else is going on in the world’s 130 Nuclear Power Plants?
    2. Secondly, Moore claims that solar can never compete in cost with nuclear. According to him, Germany at the time (2008) was paying 75 cents per kilowatt hour for solar. But today, a mere 4 years later, government policies have changed all that. German solar power now costs 20-30 cents but will soon be cheaper than coal. (also here)
    3. George Monbiot claims Moore “is seen by some environmentalists as the most brazen of the [nuclear] spin doctors they face… There will come a point at which his credibility as a “leading environmentalist” runs out. He too will become a toxic brand, likely further to taint a company trying to clear its reputation. But for now the work keeps rolling in.”
  2. Debate between George Monbiot and Helen Caldicott. This is interesting because Caldicott is a highly respected anti-nuclear voice and Monbiot, author of the book Heat, is an environmentalist who is known for his deep concern and imaginative solutions for combatting global climate change which he claims is anthropogenic (i.e. man-induced) as opposed to natural which says that global climate change happens in cycles and has little or nothing to do with our carbon emissions. Monbiot recently changed his stance on nuclear energy from negative to positive, causing quite a disturbance in the anti-nuclear camp. His reason seems to be that he does not trust world governments to genuinely put effort into developing renewable energy options. He fears that in the absence of nuclear, they will resort to coal and thus we will continue on the path of destruction triggered by a 2% global temperature increase, which is what pro-anthropogenic climate change scientists anticipate if we don’t act now to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2020.
  3. The global warming/climate change debate does have relevance.  One of the main arguments for nuclear (if you are in the anthropogenic climate change camp) is the need to drastically and immediately  reduce carbon emissions.  But many see this as alarmist, a myth, even a hoax (See here & here). Still others claim global temperatures are actually falling. Yet again, there’s the theory that falling temperatures fit in with the global warming scenario anyway. That’s why it’s now referred to as ‘climate change’ – less confusing. Here’s an interesting site that offers ‘one liner’ answers for global warming denialists & also sums up the various arguments.

Well, the point of science is to keep challenging and looking for answers. That’s hopefully not going to change, but suffice to say that whatever the motives, the anthropomorphic camp is strong (e.g. see a debate between Monbiot and David Bellamy). Here’s a respected voice and a view on the bigger picture from renowned scientist, philosopher & MIT professor Noel Chomsky.

Clearly a lively debate continues. Needless to say,carbon emissions are only part of the story. Industry spews many other toxic chemicals into the environment, affecting it detrimentally. And fossil fuels are running out (well at least those relatively cheap to get at). So, since we can’t know anything for absolute certain, it still seems infinitely wiser to develop renewables, which are clean and – well, renewable.