The Germans are often held out as a success story when it comes to powering a modern industrial economy on renewables. The Germans are also hellbent to close all of their nuclear power plants. However, the closing of nuclear power plants and government-subsidized renewable energy powerplant construction has not led to less carbon emissions from the country.
Germany moved away from fission in favor of renewables and has actually increased its carbon emissions. This is in conjunction with setting records for renewable power generation. The reasons for this are clear and obvious. Unfortunately, when there is no wind or sun, then electricity must be generated by oil or natural gas or COAL! Yes, the Germans are putting NEW COAL plants into operation.
Whether environmentalists wish to accept it or not, the need for a new coal-fired electrical powerplant in Germany is directly related to shutting down nuclear reactors. Environmentalists must accept the need for nuclear fission and buy into an agenda for its development. Environmentalists have a role, as watchdogs, to make sure corporations and bureaucrats do not cut corners at the expense of the environment and safety. Fission is really the only option for always available industrial amounts of power, but we all understand it is not perfect.
Just as many alternative energy sources are imperfect, fission is not a PERFECT solution. There is no silver bullet. Alternate energy sources are subject to the vagaries of weather and still have a ways to go before they can replace current electrical generation methods. The generation of industrial amounts of electrical power on demand is a tall order. Excess electricity generated on especially sunny or windy days cannot be stored. Closing nuclear power reactors leads directly to increased fossil fuel burning. Let me repeat that. Closing nuclear power reactors leads directly to increased fossil fuel burning.
When I first wrote about climate change back in 1989–90, just convincing people that it was happening was difficult. In those days, the left agreed that there was climate change, but all of their alternatives revolved around so-called renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind electrical generation. If the climate was truly changing these alternatives did not make sense to me.
I felt that there was very little modeling being done on what it meant to farm industrial amounts of energy out of the atmosphere. Thirty years ago, I postulated that industrial amounts of power pulled from the natural world would almost definitely have an effect on weather patterns. I was called a crackpot by many environmentalists at the time, especially since I had no academic standing. However, this hypothesis has now been supported by actual research.
On the right, there was some support for my ideas about firing up the nuclear reactors, but they had to be convinced of the fact that climate change was happening. Every time I wrote about the fact that the only industrial strength electrical generation we had was fission, I had to also write a lot about the certainty I felt about the changing climate. It was frustrating as environmentalists poisoned this well of possible support by pushing an agenda based on hysterical predictions which never came true.
Environmentalists saved a special place in their hearts for the hatred of “nukes”. They attacked fission reactors and forced their closure all across the globe. There was not nearly as much of a vehement call for the closing of oil refineries, or natural gas fracking as there was for closing down reactors. Nuclear fission is the only REAL competitor with fossil fuels when it comes to electricity generation not based upon building enormous dams. Take a moment and think about who benefitted from these widespread shutdowns of reactors.
Oil companies were preparing to drill in an ice-free Arctic even in the eighties. What other forward-thinking plans did these companies implement? In retrospect, one wonders how much oil companies spent to manipulate the fledgling “No Nukes” movement. It probably did not take too much money at all to point them at their main competitors for electrical production. The nineties were a decade with some of the cheapest oil seen in many people’s lifetimes. This seriously crippled alternative energy sources. Fission needed a more concerted effort to cripple its development and “No Nukes” provided that.
The Koch brothers were made into billionaires by environmental activism. No new refineries have been built in the United States for decades. Yet, the country is still dependent upon fossil fuels. Environmentalism helped create and then protected their monopoly. In the early days of the climate change debate, only fission could have gotten some traction, because oil was $10 a barrel in the nineties. Solar and other renewable energy sources were destroyed by the glut of hydrocarbons all across the globe. Now Pompeo tells the world climate change is good for business and sings the praises of a Northwest Passage without even smirking.
Only fission could have competed and helped mitigate the coming climate change back at the end of the last century. Did fossil fuel corporations realize this and fund the “environmental activism” which concentrated so heavily on the “nukes”? Just another one of my conspiracy theories, you say? Who has benefitted enormously here? How has the truth been warped by money? Think about it.
The environmental left continues to push renewable energy as the answer in spite of the fact that climate is changing so very fast now. Another factor rarely considered by those advocating alternative energy generation plants is how much the climate has already changed and is changing. How can we even decide where we should build wind turbines or install solar panels when climate change is accelerating? Environmentalists have no cogent answer to this query.
Instead many become strident and proclaim the changing climate is an “existential” crisis to force the investment of billions in THEIR solutions. I have bristled at this assertion for quite a while for a couple of reasons. One, if there is such an existential crisis, then IMMEDIATELY stopping the spewing of fossil fuel emissions into the atmosphere is paramount. Only fission offers an immediate solution. The reactors are already there, but they are being shut down foolishly. Why?
In light of current events, the costs of fossil fuel are HUGE! The amount of money the United States has dumped into the Middle East to preserve access to oil and energy is appalling. The only reason why this has been done is that there has been no other alternative in the minds of the leaders of this country. The lack of ideas has convinced the citizenry that there is no other path but occupying the oil fields. However, given the amount of money evaporated by Middle East military actions, a case could be made that some of that money might be better spent securing the energy grid here at home and powering it up to its maximum, through new thorium reactors.
No matter how things evolve in the future, it starts with embracing fission technology as it stands. Environmentalists need to get behind fission OR GET OUT OF THE WAY! The world and America in particular, cannot survive another twenty years of fossil fuel combustion like the previous twenty. Time is short. The reality is that it is fission or frickin’ fracking. That is the real choice.
Also published on: https://medium.com/libertarian-socialism-american-style/are-environmentalists-the-fossil-fuel-industrys-useful-idiots-49ca072ce20e
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