Eduardo Porter of the failing NY Times challenges his readership to imagine that global warming climate change is truly a crisis:
To Curb Global Warming, Science Fiction May Become Fact
News about the climate has become alarming over the last few months. In December, startled scientists revealed that temperatures in some parts of the Arctic had spiked more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit above their historical averages. In March, others reported that sea ice in the Arctic had dropped to its lowest level on record. A warming ocean has already killed large chunks of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Let’s get real. The odds that these processes could be slowed, let alone stopped, by deploying more solar panels and wind turbines seemed unrealistic even before President Trump’s election. It is even less likely now that Mr. Trump has gone to work undermining President Barack Obama’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
That is where engineering the climate comes in. Last month, scholars from the physical and social sciences who are interested in climate change gathered in Washington to discuss approaches like cooling the planet by shooting aerosols into the stratosphere or whitening clouds to reflect sunlight back into space, which may prove indispensable to prevent the disastrous consequences of warming.
I can hear the private jets spinning up right now as the Hollywood Illuminati fly off to a conference to denounce this.
Mr. Porter does not use this article to over-burden his readership with yet another unthinkable notion, but he has routinely talked up nuclear power as the zero-carbon base load solution. Here he notes that some greens are on board with this:
The United States must decarbonize at an annual rate of 4.3 percent under that timetable. But over the last decade and a half, only North Dakota and the District of Columbia have achieved this pace. New York is decarbonizing at about 3 percent per year, California at barely above 2 percent.
What’s more, most of the gains in the United States have come relatively easily, not from the deployment of renewables but from the wholesale switch from coal to cheaper and cleaner natural gas. Much of that transition has played itself out, however. Further gains will be more expensive.
“What’s critical to think about is, Where are the next savings going to come from?” Mr. Muro [director of policy at the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution] told me. “Divergent state dynamics on nuclear energy will become a crucial issue in the next 40 years.” Taking nuclear energy off the table has already pushed the nation too far in the wrong way.
Consider this bit of counterfactual history. Environmental Progress, an advocacy group that aggressively supports the deployment of nuclear energy to combat climate change, estimated what California’s power sector would look like had the opposition from antinuclear forces — including Governor Brown — not undone the state’s deployment of nuclear energy, starting in the 1970s.
The power from San Onofre and the Rancho Seco nuclear generation station near Sacramento, both now shuttered, added to that from the never-built Sundesert nuclear plant in the Mojave Desert and three planned-but-not-built units at Diablo Canyon on the state’s central coast, would add a total of 77,000 gigawatt-hours of zero-carbon power to California’s supply. Only 27 percent of the power produced in California would come from fossil sources, other things remaining equal, as opposed to 66 percent today. And carbon emissions from power generation would be only 40 percent of what they are today.
That is kind of a big deal. of course, since we are discussing the nuclear option we all know where the resistance lies. Last Earth Day Mr. Porter tackled that too:
Liberal Biases, Too, May Block Progress on Climate Change
Are liberals impairing our ability to combat climate change?
That may sound like a strange question, particularly to readers of The New York Times. Today conservatives are the ones decidedly blocking any effort by the United States to curb its emissions of greenhouse gases.
And yet even as progressive environmentalists wring their hands at the G.O.P.’s climate change denial, there are biases on the left that stray just as far from the scientific consensus.
Still, liberal biases may be most dangerous in the context of climate change, the most significant scientific and technological challenge of our time. For starters, they stand against the only technology with an established track record of generating electricity at scale while emitting virtually no greenhouse gases: nuclear power.
It is the G.O.P. that is closer to the scientific consensus. According to a separate Pew poll of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 65 percent of scientists want more nuclear power too.
Ted Cruz’s argument that climate change is a hoax to justify a government takeover of the world is absurd. But Bernie Sanders’s argument that “toxic waste byproducts of nuclear plants are not worth the risks of the technology’s benefit” might also be damaging.
How about that? This ground was covered a few years back when Mr. Porter wrote on a report about deep de-carbonization. Still, I would love to see Trump make a huge push for nuclear, especially with a high-energy look at thorium. Let Jared do it!