This is something I didn’t expect. According to CNN four climate scientists wrote an open letter to use nuclear energy in order to fight global warming. They state that only nuclear power can make enough clean power to slow climate change. Those who signed the statement: James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley. Rather known by those following the climate controversy.
If we assume that CO2 is the problem, then nuclear energy would be the path to go. It is a proven technology, it doesn’t emit much CO2 (only at extraction and with transport) and gives a reliable output. Considering that renewables are still a marginal part in the energy mix, nuclear energy should be the logical choice when one wants to abandon fossil fuels.
The greens were very vocal in the discussion of phasing out the Belgian nuclear reactors. Nuclear energy provided somewhat more than half of our electricity production. When we want to shut them all down, half of our electricity production should be replaced by something else. Replacing it by renewables would not be practical, they are only about 7% of our electricity production and the production of it is incredibly expensive. Wind is free, but catching it and producing electricity from it clearly isn’t.
When some of our nuclear reactors went (temporary) offline, suddenly the greens went ballistic again: our carbon footprint went up dramatically. Not hard to understand: to close the gap, one of the measures of the government was to keep open older coal and gas plants longer, which means higher consumption of coal and gas because those are not that efficient in use. Combine this with the loss of an energy source with a low CO2 emission and you get an enlargement of the carbon footprint of our energy production. Many people were not surprised, but it seemed the greens couldn’t grasp that simple logic.
I am very curious how this information will reach our little country and how the greens would deal with it after taking rather strong standpoints against it.
Personally, I do not think the point of the open letter is relevant. It is based on the assumption that human emissions are the main cause of dangerous global warming, which is not supported by the observations. We shouldn’t rush into alternative energy sources before they are ready, when we find a good alternative to fossil fuels or when we can deal with the intermittent nature of our current renewable energy sources.