This isn't your father's environmental crisis

I’m interested to see Pandora’s Promise. I feel like “pro-nuke environmentalist” is a bit of an overly simplified handle for my personal views. I have no particular love for nuclear power. It just happens to be one of the few things we’ve got that you can put almost anywhere. There isn’t wind everywhere and not everywhere has sun in the winter. Transmission lines lose power. Hydropower is probably the best solution where it can be done. But the net effect of being anti-nuke in 2013 is being pro-fossil fuel.

Indeed, the best immediate solution in some places may be to replace wood and dirtier coal with less dirty coal, replace coal with oil, and oil with gas. But in 2013, more than 20 years after Kyoto, more than 30 years after scientists warned us about the greenhouse effect, it is clear that the current track is failing. Whatever solutions may be available, anything that limits growth isn’t only morally repugnant first world elitism, it’s simply not going to happen in a world where we have democracy. Granted that “democracy” may have also killed nuclear power in Japan and Germany, it would be much easier to impose nuclear power on a country than reversion to limited or no electricity, which is more or less what the current global warming realities would impose on the third world.

But whatever the answer must be, it must come sooner rather than later. It is entirely irrelevant what people didn’t like in the 1970s or the 1960s. Global warming was either unheard of or not out of control in those times.

While it might be unfair hippie punching to suggest that many environmentalists have some kind of Edenic delusion in mind and are anti-power and development, at least some do. It’s time for many of these organizations to decide if being green is really what they are about, or if it’s about anti-modernism. It’s not that I want to ban the latter, it’s that some transparency on this issue is owed to the world.

If you’re against development, say so. Fine. But don’t pretend to care about the developing world or the environment only so long as it’s done your way. This is like those who are against abortion but don’t give a stinking shit about the child once it’s born.

I’m willing to listen. Nuclear power may not be the only way out of this. Some breakthrough may come. But until it does, it seems to be a choice between a dying hot world, a starving cold one, or one with extensive nuclear power.