For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?
Deniers of climate change like to castigate Al Gore and others for the supposed hypocrisy of preaching the benefits of CO2 reductions while flying on jets, living in big houses, etc. I won’t defend the big house (although Gore did respond to accusations by installing renewable energy onsite), but there’s no problem with jetting around to climate conferences, because those trips result in net CO2 reductions.
But those are technicalities. The real problem with gloating over climate activists’ small specks of hypocrisy is that it ignores the hypocritical planks inherent in the philosophical underpinnings of opposition to CO2 reductions. Here are some ways in which deniers are hypocritical (feel free to add suggestions in the comments):
1. They profess that markets can solve all problems while simultaneously preaching that businesses will never be able to adapt to higher energy prices.
2. They argue that siting problems (e.g. urban heat island) render temperature data useless, while simultaneously arguing that adjusting for those problems constitutes scientific fraud/ fudging the data.
Great concept! Head over to the WAG blog and contribute your own examples — their list is building (43 so far).
This also gave me an idea for a blog post here at BNC — why not do the same to reveal the hypocrisy of the anti-nuclear ‘environmentalists’? (Actually, it was my sister, Marion, who made the connection, and who came up with much of the below, to which I added a few extras. Thanks Mazz).
…Lazy, recycled objections to the UK nuclear plan come from the usual suspects – Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
I’ve been forced to conclude that these so-called environmental organisations are not actually interested in climate change mitigation or clean energy supply.
Their founding principles are to oppose nuclear technology in all forms. They are immune to arguments based on logic or scientific evidence.
They ignore technological developments that solve the long-lived nuclear waste problem (it is burned as energy in fast spectrum reactors).
They can’t seem to accept the fact that there is enough uranium to provide the whole world with zero-carbon power for millions of years.
All they care about is being anti-nuclear…
Tom Blees has tagged these people ‘environists‘, because they are environmentalists with the ‘mental’ part taken away. I say it’s time high time that their hypocrisy was exposed — in the same way that the hypocrisy of climate change denialists ought to be laid bare — for the good of human society and environmental sustainability. In that spirit, here’s a starting list. Please help me add to it — I might make up a poster of it one day.
Hypocrisies of the anti- nuclear power/renewables advocates
1. They claim renewables can replace fossil fuels, then can’t see the problem with leaning on fossil fuel gas to back them up when they fail to do so.
2. They claim nuclear can’t load follow, but ignore the fact that renewables can’t supply on-demand. (They also say nuclear can’t load follow, but forget that nuclear submarines… work).
4. They claim we don’t need baseload power, then eagerly promote renewable baseload alternatives e.g., geothermal and solar with heat storage.
5. They argue that nuclear power takes too long to build (France = 38 reactors in ten years, don’t think so), then point to undeveloped, future technologies — like wave power, solar thermal and vastly improved storage systems — as an alternative.
6. They support subsidies for renewables but not for nuclear power. Yet they claim in the same breath that renewables are economic and nuclear is not.
7. They point to nuclear power’s embodied emissions, but ignore the fact that renewables have embodied emissions equal to, or greater than, nuclear power and a track record in the negative for emissions avoided when gas backup is realistically considered.
8. They claim renewables can meet our power needs both now and in the future, then say it can only be done in concert with energy conservation. Which is it? Can they meet our growing energy needs or not?
9. They accept the weight of scientific evidence for climate change, but ignore it when it comes to the safety and effective CO2 abatement of nuclear power.
10. They argue against the environmental impacts of uranium mining, while ignoring the mining for material inputs and industrialisation of vast tracks of often wild and beautiful land that will be required for wind/solar to supply the equivalent energy.
11. They argue that climate change is the biggest threat to humanity in the world today, then by discounting nuclear power’s role in the fight against CC, they imply nuclear power (not weapons – power!) is the bigger threat.
12. They complain that nuclear power uses too much water, but ignore the fact that many renewables use just as much if not much more, e.g. geothermal, hydro.
13. They claim nuclear power is too expensive, but ignore the impossible costs involved in scaling renewables to the point where they can deliver the same amount of power.
14. They argue against the recycling of nuclear waste, but promote it (as they should) as a solution to their own toxic waste.
15. They say that improvements in energy storage will make renewable energy ‘dispatchable’, yet neglect to mention that any advantage it confers to renewables will be equally (if not more) beneficial to nuclear power.
16. They worry about the radiation from nuclear power stations, but not from other more common sources, like the stone/concrete they promote for use in their passive solar houses.
17. They say we can’t manage the long half-lives of nuclear waste (not relevant if we recycle it anyway) but ignore the fact that much of the waste from renewable energy systems, such as arsenic and cadmium, retains its full toxicity forever.
18. They dismiss as unreliable those papers from climate sceptics that have not been peer reviewed, yet are happy to quote nonsense studies like SSL as gospel!
19. They disregard conspiracy theories about statements from the IPCC, NASA, Hadley Centre etc., yet consider economic assessments of nuclear energy from the OECD (and similar agencies) to be biased industry shilling, preferring instead to latch onto gross outliers like the Severance ‘study’. (Incidentally, the Severance study is very much against government subsidies; wind power would collapse in Australia without RECS.)
20. If someone like me comes out supporting nuclear power, then I’m no longer worth listening to because I’ve become an ‘uncritical advocate’, whereas if someone like me comes out promoting solar power I’d be one of those brave and righteous voices supporting a clean energy future.
21. They ignore all information published on the web site of the Nuclear Energy Institute – no matter what the real source, yet often quote statistics and projections into the future from the American Wind Energy Association (Rod Adams).
22. They claim to be very concerned about CO2 emissions and then cheerfully align in political battles with the natural gas industry (Rod Adams).
23. They claim that nuclear is bad because it takes too long and then use the legal system to impose delays and additional levels of reviews (Rod Adams).
24. They claim that wind and solar systems, once installed, will run forever (whereas nuclear reactors apparently have short lifespans), but ignore the track record indicating that weather exposed systems last for a couple of decades at the most (Rod Adams).
25. They claim that wind and solar energy are new, while nuclear is obsolete. That ignores the many millennia of human history of collecting wind and solar energy while also ignoring the fact that at least some of the early pioneers who developed fission ARE STILL ALIVE today (Rod Adams).
26. They claim that nuclear energy, which has already demonstrated its utility in electrical production, ship propulsion and district heating systems will not do much to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but wind turbines, geothermal and solar collectors will create energy independence (Rod Adams).
27. They claim that safe, clean nuclear needs more research, but we should accept renewables that haven’t been proven yet at scale or long-term are the solution. i.e. that one might need research is bad, but that another is getting it means it is good (Tony Wildish).
28. They claim radiation from nuclear is damaging to ecosystems and the environment, but ignore the effect of wind-farms on migrating birds, of solar-farms on desert ecosystems, of bio-fuels on biodiversity, or just of the amount of land that needs to be trashed to put up things that don’t work (Tony Wildish).
29. They complain that NPPs lead to ‘centralisation’ while ignoring the enormous centralised infrastructure which would be needed for any serious attempt to scale up their favoured ‘renewable’ source (Finrod).
30. They claim that the security measures taken for NPP safety would represent a great encroachment on civil liberties, but then advocate implimentation of ’smart grids’ and/or mandatory energy efficiency and conservation programs (Finrod).
31. They highlight resource constraints in the finite supply of uranium (ignoring IFR reactors) that would make nuclear unviable as a long term energy source, yet they disregard the much greater resource constraint in the small amount of Lithium available for Lithium – Ion bateries that would be essential as part of large scale renewable power. (Unless we can find a better way of storing energy, large scale renewable power alone is not a long term solution, because we would run out of battery components long before we would run out of uranium under a nuclear energy scenario) (Scott Elaurant).
32. They claim that no one wants nuclear power in their backyard, but dismiss the fact that no one wants huge wind turbines next to their house (inspired by Frank Kandrnal’s comment).
33. They constantly talk of “the unsolved problem of what to do with nuclear waste”, yet oppose the construction of modern nuclear power plants (such as integral fast reactors) – the ONLY way to get rid of this “waste” (TeeKay).
34. The claim that nuclear energy is slow to construct ignores the size of the contribution. Looked at per MW of average power, nuclear energy build times are much better than wind or solar, even on the inflated timescales that antis offer (Joffan).
35. They point to a limited uranium supply as a constraining factor in nuclear expansion, (further exploration, IFR aside) but ignore the fact that renewable fuel supplies are limited to a much greater extent both by their geographical constraints and/or by their diffuse, intermittent, variable nature (Marion Brook)
Put your thinking caps on, and let’s build the list together! (and fine-tune on the existing entries). I’ll be sure to acknowledge you (in brackets).