Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Naomi Oreskes has accused climate scientists like James Hansen, who support the expansion of nuclear power, of practicing a “strange new form of denial”.
According to The Guardian;
After the signing of a historic climate pact in Paris, we might now hope that the merchants of doubt – who for two decades have denied the science and dismissed the threat – are officially irrelevant.
But not so fast. There is also a new, strange form of denial that has appeared on the landscape of late, one that says that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs.
Oddly, some of these voices include climate scientists, who insist that we must now turn to wholesale expansion of nuclear power. Just this past week, as negotiators were closing in on the Paris agreement, four climate scientists held an off-site session insisting that the only way we can solve the coupled climate/energy problem is with a massive and immediate expansion of nuclear power. More than that, they are blaming environmentalists, suggesting that the opposition to nuclear power stands between all of us and a two-degree world.
This article was written in response to a demand by James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira and Tom Wigley to consider the nuclear option.
Nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change
To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not prejudice. Alongside renewables, Nuclear will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them
All four of us have dedicated our scientific careers to understand the processes and impacts of climate change, variously studying ocean systems, tropical cyclones, ice sheets and ecosystems as well as impacts on human societies. We have used both climate models and geological records of past climates to better understand lessons from warmer periods in the Earth’s history and investigate future scenarios.
I can’t help feeling Oreskes has well and truly jumped the shark with the ridiculous claim that scientists like Hansen, Wigley et al are “deniers”, because they don’t believe in renewables. As WUWT reported a while ago, even Google couldn’t find a way to make renewables viable – so it seems unlikely anybody else will succeed where Google failed.
As for Oreskes objections to nuclear power, her argument that nuclear power is too risky is just plain silly. Even if the nuclear route to decarbonisation resulted in several meltdowns every year, how could this possibly be worse than the complete destruction of the biosphere through global warming, which according to the likes of Oreskes and Hansen is the price of continued reliance on fossil fuels?