Let’s start by reiterating the advisability of every environmentally-minded person watching Pandora’s Promise.
When I was younger, I used to argue with my dad about nuclear power. My main concern was the horrors of nuclear waste. We shouldn’t risk it when the true scope of the risk is unknown.
Here is the problem with that argument. The true scope of the risk associated with oil-based electricity is known. You say no to nuclear, you say yes to coal, an industry with risks we know very well. Okay, so then you break out the promise of solar or wind. Sure. Except both require batteries. The environmental destruction and risk that happens in the name of solar is only displaced: you are outsourcing the end of the world to factories in the developing world. Just because you can’t see it from your back door doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The sheer volume of solar panels that you would need to power the world is absurd. No matter what advancements they make, a solar panel is like a cell phone: give it a few years and it won’t work quite as well as it did when you got it. Now you have to dispose of it and it is full of yuckies. Not that we shouldn’t be pushing forward with the technology, just that it isn’t an answer to the energy crisis.
Wind too. You have to have battery back up for when it isn’t windy. Which happens.
Did you know that a lot of the anti-nuclear funding came from the oil industry? It is like the tobacco industry funding research that says pot is going to turn you into a crazed criminal. Is pot ideal? Depends. If you need help with pain and muscle spasms (and possibly epilepsy) then pot is actually a godsend. If you had to choose between cigarettes and pot, you’d be better with pot.
Yes, there are risks. But the background radiation at Chernobyl isn’t statistically significant when compared to other places on the planet. And there are plant designs that are much safer, but were never more than pilot tested due to public pressure, paid for by the oil industry.
Besides, the BP oil spill didn’t make us all decide to quit driving. The known risks that we all share from emissions haven’t stopped us building coal-fired plants. As unpopular as France might be, they have been on predominantly nuclear power since the 70’s. Their emissions are enviable.
Personally, I am terrified of what the world is going to look like if we keep ignoring pretty damn awesome because we want perfect. Solar and wind aren’t perfect, and they can’t do what we need done fast enough. The longer we go along with public policy paid for by Shell and BP, the more certain our demise via climate change. Nuclear is necessary to a reality-based plan to slow up climate change, and those bastards at the top of oil companies screwed us all by funding bogus science to scare the crap out of us.
Never trust anyone trying to sell you fear.
With the nut test in mind (anyone who is 100% sure they can’t be wrong is a nut), go watch Pandora’s Promise. Call it a thought experiment on what would happen if we had the technology to significantly curtail carbon emissions on a large scale right now.