Environmentalists pushing nuclear energy

National Review reports:

Shellenberger is a lifelong liberal activist who once worked for groups such as the Sierra Club and Earthjustice. His environmental cred is stellar: Even as a kid, Shellenberger would cast off paper boats lit with small candles every August to commemorate the bombings. During the anti-nuke 1980s, he was swayed by the documentary The Day After and other films that showed doomsday scenarios about nuclear proliferation. “I was my whole life.”

Now Shellenberger is the standard-bearer for ecomodernism, which promotes — among other things — nuclear energy as the cleanest, cheapest way to power the planet, especially for off-the-grid developing countries. “When I looked at the challenge of global energy and development needs, I changed my mind.”

If you really think the world’s biggest risk is global warming, then supporting nuclear power is an easy decision.

Unlike the activists gathering in Paris who will blame human activity for every problem from melting sea ice to terrorism, ecomodernists embrace human ingenuity and modernity as the best way to mitigate the impact of a changing climate. But what’s most impressive about group is how unafraid they are to take on their own former allies, and indeed even those with whom they are still otherwise politically compatible. “The Left went wrong in becoming anti-modern,” Shellenberger readily admits. “Only a small part of their agenda has to do with the environment. It’s kind of this romanticized, idealized reaction to modern life.”

I think for many in the environmental lobbies, it is more a rejection of modern life. They see the industrial revolution as a bad thing. I suspect they are even suspicious of the agricultural revolution.

Most distinctively, the ecomodernists are pro-growth and pro–free markets. “The Kardashians are not the reason Africans are starving,” chides Alex Trembath, a senior researcher at the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, Calif., which advances ecomodernist ideas. Trembath is another hard-core convert; raised by liberal, Christian-theology professors who were also environmentalists, Trembath started to question the movement’s tenets in college: “Climate risks are real and we should aim to reduce fossil-energy consumption as quickly as possible” he says. “But fossil fuels are not without tremendous benefits and are not poisons forced upon by some evil corporation.”

Exactly. There is a detrimental side-effect from fossil fuels, but they also have produced great benefits.

Nuclear power won’t work well in NZ, but is a very good option for many countries to replace coal.


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