Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Al Gore has a problem. He seems to want people to believe that only climate skeptics oppose renewables. The truth is, a small but growing number of prominent greens, openly acknowledge that renewables in their current form are not a scalable replacement for fossil fuels.
In Al Gore’s announcement of a climate witch hunt, titled “AGs United for Clean Power”, Al Gore said the following;
I really believe that years from now, this convening by attorney general Eric Schneiderman and his colleagues today, may well be looked back upon as a real turning point, in the effort to hold to account those commercial interests that have been, according to the best available evidence, deceiving the American people, communicating in a fraudulent way, both about the reality of the climate crisis and the dangers it poses to all of us, and committing fraud in their communications about the viability of renewable energy and efficiency, and energy storage, that together are posing this great competitive challenge to the long reliance on carbon based fuels.
To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not on prejudice. The climate system cares about greenhouse gas emissions – not about whether energy comes from renewable power or abundant nuclear power. Some have argued that it is feasible to meet all of our energy needs with renewables. The 100% renewable scenarios downplay or ignore the intermittency issue by making unrealistic technical assumptions, and can contain high levels of biomass and hydroelectric power at the expense of true sustainability. Large amounts of nuclear power would make it much easier for solar and wind to close the energy gap.
Will the green believers at Google Corporation join James Hansen in the dock, when Al Gore prosecutes people who think renewables are not up to the job?
At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope … Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.
Will Al Gore prosecute Rob Parker, president of the Australian Nuclear Association, for claiming renewables aren’t up to the job?
“My concern is that renewables won’t get us across the line in terms of emissions reduction,” said Rob Parker, the president of the ANA. “Nuclear is more reliable and it has a smaller resources footprint than renewables.
How about the British Government, whose relentless pursuit of renewables has utterly messed up the British energy market?
The second phase of modern energy policy began when Tony Blair signed the Renewable Energy Target in 2007.
What has this left us with?
We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention.
And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant.
Perversely, even with the huge growth in renewables, our dependence on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, hasn’t been reduced.
If Al Gore succeeds in using government bullying, to silence critics of renewables, the same disaster could easily occur in the United States.
Perhaps Al Gore’s real target are the practitioners of the “strange new form of denial”, the growing green schism which opposes the push for 100% renewables, as vigorously as any climate skeptic.
There is no evidence that renewables in their current form are a viable replacement for fossil fuels. But there is plenty of evidence that nuclear power delivers results. Nuclear power, the zero emission alternative to renewables, has been economically supplying 75% of France’s power since the 1970s. Nuclear power works, and works well. France demonstrated by doing, that mass production and economies of scale makes nuclear power affordable.
If the whole world copied what France did in the 1970s, by 2030 the world could cut billions of tons of CO2 emissions, without destroying the global economy.
If you are someone who cares about CO2 reductions, you should listen to scientists like James Hansen, who plausibly claim that nuclear power is the route to decarbonisation, not to scientific illiterates like Al Gore.