As climate activists, we are keenly aware of humanity’s need to stop burning those fossil fuels as rapidly and completely as possible. But, with coal, oil and natural gas supplying 80% of the world’s energy, how can we substitute for those fuels?
A common assumption is that the so-called renewables – wind, water and sun – will be able to replace fossil fuels in the required time frame. Another widespread idea is that nuclear energy is extremely dangerous – some would say, more dangerous than climate change itself!
But what if both these assumptions are false?
If these notions are both untrue, then isn’t it dangerous to keep on believing them?
Environmentalists like to hold up Germany as a clean energy success story. But Germany’s CO2 emissions have increased, not decreased, since its decision to replace nuclear plants. See this report:
Environmentalist Michael Shellenberger speaks out on “How fear of nuclear power is hurting the environment” in this talk, here with its transcript.
For an Asian experience, see “South Korea’s High Cost of Nuclear Fear”.
Below, French author and essayist Michel Gay examines the role of certain NGOs and media in maintaining, manipulating and using this irrational fear.
The Real Nuclear Scandal
by Michel Gay
Some antinuclear activists are genuinely frightened. Ideologues have convinced them that nuclear energy is dangerous. The fear is real, but it has nothing to do with reality.
Activists in so-called “independent” associations (independent from whom or what?), even in ministerial offices, use this fear for political or commercial purposes. They assure us that ruinous renewable energies will provide for our needs.
Messages meant to create anxiety, like “The terrible truth is being hidden from us!“ eventually convince a section of the population that engineers and scientists are incompetent or in the pay of greedy industrialists.
Political decision-makers are urged by these anti-nuclear activists to tighten existing regulations so as to protect the population from a risk that is vague, but for that reason all the more devious. Those who, anxious to restore truth and common sense, protest against these claims, are stigmatized for their lack of consideration for “future generations.”
Politicians may find that opposing an international disinformation network is not a good re-election strategy. And money plays an important role in these unwholesome political pressures coming from “environmental” associations that live on the backs of the community.
The media amplify these cries of alarm to expand their audience, thus helping to anchor false beliefs about nuclear in the public mind.
It would be much to their credit, however, if they would put an end to this exercise in public mind poisoning. A better theme would be: No, nuclear power is no more dangerous than other industrial activities. On the contrary, it provides the energy, especially electricity, of which humanity has a great need, and which it will need even more tomorrow – for electric vehicles, and to replace oil and gas for heating.
Stopping the systematic disparagement of nuclear power and providing objective information on sustainable, environmentally friendly and affordable energy such as nuclear power would be a commendable undertaking. But fooling people with messages that “sell” and frighten, as the media do today, is reprehensible.
The [French] “Green Party” declared in the program for its summer conference on 24-26 August 2017 in Dunkerque, “The next few years will be decisive in stopping the environmental crisis” and “a reconciliation with Nature is the highest political priority.”
Reconciliation with Nature requires clean energy that can meet the needs of humanity -like … nuclear energy.
While fossil fuels are destined to become scarcer, the mass media, taking their cue from organizations with various motivations, try to convince us that humanity will be able to live with renewable energies alone and do without nuclear. This is an intellectual swindle, and the government’s silence reinforces it.
This is the real nuclear scandal.
Translated from the French by Julie Wornan
Original article here