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Ken Fabian

Climate science denial - a bigger impediment to nuclear than green politics?

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I thought everyone was being harsh on you, as you seemed to have provided evidence to support your claims. I actually clicked these links hoping to learn something - like what particular data/study has climate sceptics so convinced it is all a sham.

 

To say i'm disappointed is an understatement. This is one of the most pathetic attempts to support an argument with 'evidence' i have ever seen. No wonder no one here takes you seriously.

 

Would you be able to provide a/some report/study, preferably peer-reviewed, that demonstrates your position (not just Google images) - i would really like to understand the data which causes your scepticism.

 

 

 

 

To the OP. Would weaning from energy dependence on foreign imports not be sufficient reason for conservatives to support nuclear options?

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To the OP. Would weaning from energy dependence on foreign imports not be sufficient reason for conservatives to support nuclear options?

Conservatives already support nuclear power. They always have.

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Conservatives already support nuclear power. They always have.

 

Just not that much. They also support (and always have) long running fossil fuel competitors to nuclear power - and since the climate issue arose, they've done so with far greater commitment and every day, every way determination, up to and including a willingness to lie (to themselves first of all) about the seriousness of the climate problem to defend them from the impacts of science revealing their climate responsibility.

 

Is it possible to have effective policies that would favour nuclear over fossil fuels from political organisations in the grip of self imposed climate science denial? I don't think that they can lose that denial and face the climate problem head on and not risk losing support from a demographic that includes people like waitforufo, who's views they have committed so much trust capital to encourage and support.

 

I think those alternative nuclear options - IFR, Thorium - are also held back from what potential they may have by that politically expedient choice to oppose and obstruct a transition to low emissions.

 

The choice to fight to not accept climate responsibility and not address the problem was made when nuclear looked like the only viable alternative. If (when?) mainstream conservatives face up to the climate problem that will no longer be the case. Should Conservative support for nuclear-for-climate even be taken as assured anymore?

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Just not that much. They also support (and always have) long running fossil fuel competitors to nuclear power - and since the climate issue arose, they've done so with far greater commitment and every day, every way determination, up to and including a willingness to lie (to themselves first of all) about the seriousness of the climate problem to defend them from the impacts of science revealing their climate responsibility.

 

Is it possible to have effective policies that would favour nuclear over fossil fuels from political organisations in the grip of self imposed climate science denial? I don't think that they can lose that denial and face the climate problem head on and not risk losing support from a demographic that includes people like waitforufo, who's views they have committed so much trust capital to encourage and support.

 

I think those alternative nuclear options - IFR, Thorium - are also held back from what potential they may have by that politically expedient choice to oppose and obstruct a transition to low emissions.

 

The choice to fight to not accept climate responsibility and not address the problem was made when nuclear looked like the only viable alternative. If (when?) mainstream conservatives face up to the climate problem that will no longer be the case. Should Conservative support for nuclear-for-climate even be taken as assured anymore?

Conservatives support all form of energy generation because energy is required for prosperity. To further promote prosperity however the energy must be low cost and/or reliable. While nuclear power is not the lowest cost option in some locations, it is reliable and hence is favored. Wind power, while not reliable because the wind is variable can be a good mix in areas like mine, Washington State, because we have an abundance of hydro power permitting the storage of wind power behind our dams. Environmentalists are however constantly trying to get dams removed because they have no common sense.

 

Thorium reactors have great potential, but this potential is currently unproven. To my knowledge there is only one small experimental thorium reactor currently operating in Norway. The US is so afraid of nuclear power we are paying China to build an experimental Thorium reactor in a joint partnership. Current US regulations and red tape would make building such an experimental reactor in the US impossible. If this partnership pays, off any reactor developed will have to seek NRC approval. With the way the NRC works, it is likely that no such reactor will ever be built inside US boundaries.

Edited by waitforufo

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Conservatives support all form of energy generation because energy is required for prosperity.

 

 

And yet another unsupported assertion. Some conservatives, including the Koch brothers, are against solar adoption.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/opinion/sunday/the-koch-attack-on-solar-energy.html?_r=0

http://ecowatch.com/2015/10/27/koch-brothers-solar-florida/

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Not all advocates for climate action are 'green/left' and not all are anti-nuclear. Not all advocates for nuclear are 'conservative/right' and not all are against strong climate action or oppose renewables. Yet that divide looks strong. Open and direct opposition to nuclear is well known and broadly popular - even if I think distrust of nuclear is not so deeply held that many would abandon it were there compelling need for it. And there is compelling need for low emissions solutions and it seems unreasonable to me that somehow such advocates can have set the energy agenda in the face of it. Something else has to have been going on - or perhaps not going on - for them to have gained such extraordinary influence and for the issues to be framed in nuclear vs renewables terms, rather than nuclear and renewables vs fossil fuels.

 

With a large proportion of those identifying as conservative being climate science denying and obstructive of the proposals of others who don't share an optimism for nuclear, can we expect they would actually commit to fixing the climate problem if "green politics" supported nuclear? Should their own commitment to nuclear as climate solution (or to fixing climate using nuclear) be dependent or predicated on such support? And, importantly, to what extent has 3 decades of commitment to preventing and delaying strong climate action by conservative right politics - which seems to also represent the greatest bloc of support for nuclear - prevented the "critical mass" of support nuclear requires being achieved, both within their own ranks and within the community at large?

 

(Noting that the politics may have a different flavour elsewhere). Here in Australia we are most likely to hear "should use nuclear/only nuclear good enough" from people who doubt, deny or downplay the climate problem. It's a rare proponent of nuclear that has the public profile to get mainstream media notice who is unequivocally committed to fixing the climate problem. That essential contradiction leading me to the conclusion that our allegedly nuclear supporting conservatives lack the fundamental motivation to really fight for nuclear as climate solution and lack the sincerity necessary to make the politically persuasive case necessary. Crucially, their opposition to climate policies like carbon pricing, emissions caps, moratoria on new fossil fuel projects and emissions reductions by other means look to have a strong and practical "every day and every way" commitment whilst the support for nuclear is sporadic, weak and lacking needed depth of commitment. It looks a lot like their alleged support for nuclear is primarily a rhetorical exercise intended to weaken support for "green politics" - they may have no objection to, even a liking for nuclear but have no real commitment to it either.

 

The kinds of policies that would see nuclear become a major part of climate action don't seem possible from conservatives whilst they hold such incompatible and antithetical positions. To what extent has the politically expedient choice to oppose and obstruct climate action by a large part of mainstream politics diverted and muted influential voices, like those from captains of commerce and industry, that - if addressing the climate problem were not, via political influence, being treated as optional - would strongly support it? In other words, would nuclear be in the hole it's in had mainstream conservative politics sought to strengthen community concern over climate rather than diminish it? Would commerce and industry given strong and persistent support for nuclear if they had not been enticed away from demanding effective climate action back when nuclear appeared to be the only viable option, by the least cost (short term) option of not fixing it at all?

It's a strange angle your taking on it Fabian imo. Conservatives aren't blocking nuclear energy, I suppose their apathy towards political action on climate change would reduce their motivation to give the industry new life moving forward, if such funding stemmed from a motivation to tackle carbon emissions, nevertheless, that would be a poor account of the state of the industry.

 

The reasons Nuclear failed to materalise on its early promise (1960s onwards) has nothing to do with climate change and the blame doesn't rest with the right which never has possessed a strong inclination to environmental protection or regulation. Nuclear has been weakened by several factors over the last 3 decades, and those historical reasons give a reasonable account for the present scenario. Several disasters didnt help with the perception towards the industry and ever changing regulations damaged the industry and led to very expensive and drawn out construction phases. A company might commit hundreds of millions to a reactor , and halfway through, regulations change in response to an accident, or court cases, and it takes a decade longer and millions more to complete, this was not good business and eventually the life got sucked out of the industry.

 

At times it has seemed like nuclear might make a return, but then the cycle returns and fossil fuels get very cheap again for a period, undermining nuclear investment which takes a lot of time to get to market from the outset, and the market is often very different by the time you get there. Nuclear requires huge capital investment from the outset, has been historically unpopular and challenged in court and by mutating safety regulations, and undermined by variable fossil fuel prices.

 

To get it off the ground today public perception and capital are key. Just look at what happened recently in Japan, very difficult to convince private companies to risk that kind of investment, when it seems clear cheap fossil fuel has a some battery life in it yet, especially with the development of the fracking industry and the re-emergence of Iran into the global market.

 

I think nuclear has missed its day, and not sure at this point climate change can bring it back. That said public perception might shift if people could be convinced that the new generation reactors are infinitely safer than in the past, but naturally nobody wants one in their own backyard.

 

Ultimately we burned more coal over nuclear in the 80s and 90s, and that was far more damaging to the environment and human health.

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I've been particularly interested in what happened to nuclear after climate became an issue. I don't claim nuclear's inability to gain traction has been entirely down to Conservative politics; mainstream politics more broadly failed to step up to the climate problem to it's detriment (or more correctly losing it an opportunity), but direct opposition and undermining of public confidence in climate science largely comes via the Conservative Right and has become so entrenched as to make denying the seriousness of climate change a mark of loyalty.

 

Despite the seriousness of the climate problem nuclear has gained little opportunity to 'have it's day' - yet pre the renewables boom and before the Fukushima disaster I saw a lot of ground shift away from opposing nuclear amongst those deeply concerned about climate change. And the choice of Conservative politics to oppose and obstruct rather than take advantage of it for a nuclear solution happened in that period and so that opportunity to push forward on nuclear was subsumed by it. The initial push within mainstream politics for a renewables had the look of populist greenwash to me. That and a case of handing the most vocal supporters of action - 'green politics' - enough rope, with no real expectation that renewable energy could drag itself into viability with it.

 

So long as we have a large body of influential nuclear supporters devoted to the goal of not fixing the climate problem every means of doing so is impeded, but, because support for nuclear overlaps so strongly with it, the backing for nuclear as climate solution is weakened in ways that support for renewables is not.

 

I don't know to what extent Conservative politics can extricate itself from it's choices on climate but I thinks it's desperately important that they do. I'm not convinced that any technology choices for addressing it can achieve their full potential so long as that degree of organised obstructionism persists. Whether the technology we use includes nuclear or not, they are all held back.

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