By Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist
Climate scientists tell us that the world must drastically cut its fossil fuel use in the next 30 years to stave off a potentially catastrophic tipping point for the planet. Confronting this challenge is a moral issue, but it’s also a math problem—and a big part of the solution has to be nuclear power.
By Julia Stasch and Chris Crane
Climate advocates must support reasonable policies, like those adopted in Illinois, New York and New Jersey, that allow for the continued operation of the nation’s nuclear plants and increased deployment of new zero-carbon technology.
By Richard Rhodes
Many environmentalists have opposed nuclear power, citing its dangers and the difficulty of disposing of its radioactive waste. But a Pulitzer Prize-winning author argues that nuclear is safer than most energy sources and is needed if the world hopes to radically decrease its carbon emissions.
In the late 16th century, when the increasing cost of firewood forced ordinary Londoners to switch reluctantly to coal, Elizabethan preachers railed against a fuel they believed to be, literally, the Devil’s excrement. Coal was black, after all, dirty, found in layers underground — down toward Hell at the center of the earth — and smelled strongly of sulfur when it burned. Switching to coal, in houses that usually lacked chimneys, was difficult enough; the clergy’s outspoken condemnation, while certainly justified environmentally, further complicated and delayed the timely resolution of an urgent problem in energy supply.
By Ryan Fitzpatrick
What if I told you that half the world’s wind power might be taken off the grid over the next several years? If you cared about climate change, you’d be apoplectic—and rightfully so. At a time when we’re struggling to increase our generation of zero-carbon electricity as fast as possible, recovering from this kind of setback would take years that we just don’t have. Thankfully, we aren’t really facing a loss of half the world’s wind energy. But the world might lose even more zero-carbon power if something isn’t done to stop nuclear plant closures right here in the United States.