Nuclear Is NOT a Low-Carbon Source of Energy

George Washington's picture

Why Do People Claim that Nuclear Power is a Low-Carbon Source of Energy?

Even well-known, well-intentioned scientists sometimes push bad ideas.   For example, well-known scientists considered pouring soot over the Arctic in the 1970s to help melt the ice – in order to prevent another ice age.  That would have been stupid.  Even Obama’s top science adviser – John Holdren – warned in the 1970′s of a new ice age … and is open to shooting soot into the upper atmosphere. That might be equally stupid.

In other words, scientists – even prominent ones – sometimes fall prey to hairball theories and dangerous proposals. (Remember, doctors used to bleed patients to remove the “bad humors”.)

Similarly, some scientists are under the mistaken impression that nuclear power is virtually carbon-free, and thus must be pushed to prevent runaway global warming. (If you don’t believe in global warming, then this essay is not aimed at you … although you might wish to forward it to those who do.)

But this is a myth.

Amory Lovins is perhaps America’s top expert on energy, and a dedicated environmentalist for close to 50 years.  His credentials as an energy expert and environmentalist are sterling.

Lovins is a former Oxford don, who taught at nine universities, most recently Stanford.  He has briefed 19 heads of state, provided expert testimony in eight countries, and published 31 books and several hundred papers.  Lovins’ clients have included the Pentagon,  OECD, UN, Resources for the Future, many national governments, and 13 US states, as well as many Fortune 500 companies, major real-estate developers, and utilities.  Lovins served in 1980-81 on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Research Advisory Board, and in 1999-2001 and 2006-08 on Defense Science Board task forces on military energy efficiency and strategy.

Lovins says nuclear is not the answer:

Nuclear plants are so slow and costly to build that they reduce and retard  climate protection.

 

Here’s how. Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (“cogeneration”), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the world’s 2009 electricity, nuclear 13%, reversing their 2000 shares–and made over 90% of the world’s additional electricity in 2008.

 

Those smarter choices are sweeping the global energy market. Half the world’s new generating capacity in 2008 and 2009 was renewable. In 2010, renewables except big hydro dams won $151 billion of private investment and added over 50 billion watts (70% the total capacity of all 23 Fukushima-style U.S. reactors) while nuclear got zero private investment and kept losing capacity. Supposedly unreliable windpower made 43-52% of four German states’ total 2010 electricity. Non-nuclear Denmark, 21% wind-powered, plans to get entirely off fossil fuels. Hawai’i plans 70% renewables by 2025.

 

In contrast, of the 66 nuclear units worldwide officially listed as “under construction” at the end of 2010, 12 had been so listed for over 20 years, 45 had no official startup date, half were late, all 66 were in centrally planned power systems–50 of those in just four (China, India, Russia, South Korea)–and zero were free-market purchases. Since 2007, nuclear growth has added less annual output than just the costliest renewable–solar power –and will probably never catch up. While inherently safe renewable competitors are walloping both nuclear and coal plants in the marketplace and keep getting dramatically cheaper, nuclear costs keep soaring, and with greater safety precautions would go even higher. Tokyo Electric Co., just recovering from $10-20 billion in 2007 earthquake costs at its other big nuclear complex, now faces an even more ruinous Fukushima bill.

 

Since 2005, new U.S. reactors (if any) have been 100+% subsidized–yet they couldn’t raise a cent of private capital, because they have no business case. They cost 2-3 times as much as new windpower, and by the time you could build a reactor, it couldn’t even beat solar power. Competitive renewables, cogeneration, and efficient use can displace all U.S. coal power more than 23 times over–leaving ample room to replace nuclear power’s half-as-big-as-coal contribution too–but we need to do it just once.

(Read Lovins’ technical papers on the issue here.)

Alternet points out:

Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Vermont Law School … found that the states that invested heavily in nuclear power had worse track records on efficiency and developing renewables than those that did not have large nuclear programs. In other words, investing in nuclear technology crowded out developing clean energy.

BBC notes:

Building the [nuclear] power station produces a lot of CO2 ….

Greenpeace points out:

When it comes to nuclear power, the industry wants you to think of electricity generation in isolation …..  And yet the production of nuclear fuel is a hugely intensive process. Uranium must be mined, milled, converted, enriched, converted again and then manufactured into fuel. You’ll notice the [the nuclear industry] doesn’t mention the carbon footprint of all steps in the nuclear chain prior to electricity generation. Fossil fuels have to be used and that means CO2 emissions.

An International Forum on Globalization report – written by environmental luminaries Ernest Callenback, Gar Smith and Jerry Mander – have slammed nuclear power as catastrophic for the environment:

Nuclear energy is not the “clean” energy its backers proclaim. For more than 50 years, nuclear energy has been quietly polluting our air, land, water and bodies—while also contributing to Global Warming through the CO2 emissions from its construction, mining, and manufacturing operations. Every aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle—mining, milling, shipping, processing, power generation, waste disposal and storage—releases greenhouse gases, radioactive particles and toxic materials that poison the air, water and land. Nuclear power plants routinely expel low-level radionuclides into the air in the course of daily operations. While exposure to high levels of radiation can kill within a matter of days or weeks, exposure to low levels on a prolonged basis can damage bones and tissue and result in genetic damage, crippling long-term injuries, disease and death.

See this excellent photographic depiction of the huge amounts of fossil fuel which goes into building and operating a nuclear power plant.

Nature reported in 2008:

You’re better off pursuing renewables like wind and solar if you want to get more bang for your buck.”

 

***

 

Evaluating the total carbon output of the nuclear industry involves calculating those emissions and dividing them by the electricity produced over the entire lifetime of the plant. Benjamin K. Sovacool, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore, recently analyzed more than one hundred lifecycle studies of nuclear plants around the world, his results published in August in Energy Policy. From the 19 most reliable assessments, Sovacool found that estimates of total lifecycle carbon emissions ranged from 1.4 grammes of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour (gCO2e/kWh) of electricity produced up to 288 gCO2e/kWh. Sovacool believes the mean of 66 gCO2e/kWh to be a reasonable approximation.

 

The large variation in emissions estimated from the collection of studies arises from the different methodologies used – those on the low end, says Sovacool, tended to leave parts of the lifecycle out of their analyses, while those on the high end often made unrealistic assumptions about the amount of energy used in some parts of the lifecycle. The largest source of carbon emissions, accounting for 38 per cent of the average total, is the “frontend” of the fuel cycle, which includes mining and milling uranium ore, and the relatively energy-intensive conversion and enrichment process, which boosts the level of uranium-235 in the fuel to useable levels. Construction (12 per cent), operation (17 per cent largely because of backup generators using fossil fuels during downtime), fuel processing and waste disposal (14 per cent) and decommissioning (18 per cent) make up the total mean emissions.

 

According to Sovacool’s analysis, nuclear power, at 66 gCO2e/kWh emissions is well below scrubbed coal-fired plants, which emit 960 gCO2e/kWh, and natural gas-fired plants, at 443 gCO2e/kWh. However, nuclear emits twice as much carbon as solar photovoltaic, at 32 gCO2e/kWh, and six times as much as onshore wind farms, at 10 gCO2e/kWh. “A number in the 60s puts it well below natural gas, oil, coal and even clean-coal technologies. On the other hand, things like energy efficiency, and some of the cheaper renewables are a factor of six better. So for every dollar you spend on nuclear, you could have saved five or six times as much carbon with efficiency, or wind farms,” Sovacool says. Add to that the high costs and long lead times for building a nuclear plant about $3 billion for a 1,000 megawatt plant, with planning, licensing and construction times of about 10 years and nuclear power is even less appealing.

 

***

 

Money spent on energy efficiency, however, is equivalent to increasing baseload power, since it reduces the overall power that needs to be generated, says Sovacool. And innovative energy-storage solutions, such as compressed air storage, could provide ways for renewables to provide baseload power.

 

Thomas Cochran, a nuclear physicist and senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental group in Washington DC … argues that the expense and risk of building nuclear plants makes them uneconomic without large government subsidies, and that similar investment in wind and solar photovoltaic power would pay off sooner.

 

***

 

Another question has to do with the sustainability of the uranium supply itself. According to researchers in Australia at Monash University, Melbourne, and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, good-quality uranium ore is hard to come by. The deposits of rich ores with the highest uranium content are depleting leaving only lower-quality deposits to be exploited. As ore quality degrades, more energy is required to mine and mill it, and greenhouse gas emissions rise. “It is clear that there is a strong sensitivity of … greenhouse gas emissions to ore grade, and that ore grades are likely to continue to decline gradually in the medium- to long-term,” conclude the researchers.  [And see this.]

Beyond Nuclear notes:

The energy consulting firm Ecofys produced a report detailing how we can meet nearly 100% of global energy needs with renewable sources by 2050. Approximately half of the goal is met through increased energy efficiency to first reduce energy demands, and the other half is achieved by switching to renewable energy sources for electricity production. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agrees and predicts close to 80% of the world’s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid?century.

 

***

 

Since nuclear power plants are reliant upon the electrical grid for 100% of their safety systems’ long?term power, and are shut down during grid failure and perturbations, it is “guaranteed” only as long as the electrical grid is reliable. When the Tsunami and earthquake hit and power was lost in the Fukushima Prefecture, nuclear energy wasn’t so “guaranteed.” Instead, it became a liability, adding to what was now a triple threat to the region and worsening an already catastrophic situation.

 

***

 

[The claim that] Nuclear power is “low?carbon electricity” … is the propaganda line commonly used by the nuclear industry which conveniently leaves out every phase of the nuclear fuel chain other than electricity generation. It ignores the significant carbon emissions caused by uranium mining, milling, processing and enrichment; the transport of fuel; the construction of nuclear plants; and the still inadequate permanent management of waste. It also ignores the release ? by nuclear power plants and reprocessing facilities ? of radioactive carbon dioxide, or carbon?14, to the air, considered to be the most toxic of all radioactive isotopes over the long?term.

 

In fact, studies show that extending the operating licenses of old nuclear power plants emits orders of magnitude more carbon and greenhouse gases per kilowatt hour from just the uranium fuel chain compared to building and operating new wind farms.

 

***

 

Nuclear might begin to address global carbon emissions if a reactor is built somewhere in the world every two weeks. But this is an economically unrealistic, in fact impossible, proposition, with the estimated construction tab beginning at $12 billion apiece and current new reactors under construction already falling years behind schedule.

 

According to a 2003 MIT study, “The Future of Nuclear Power,” such an unprecedented industrial ramping up would also mean opening a new Yucca Mountain?size nuclear waste dump somewhere in the world “every three to four years,” a task still unaccomplished even once in the 70 years of the industry’s existence. Further, such a massive scale expansion of nuclear energy would fuel proliferation risks and multiply anxieties about nuclear weapons development, exemplified by the current concern over Iran. As Al Gore stated while Vice President: “For eight years in the White House, every weapons-proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program.”

Many experts also say that the “energy return on investment” from nuclear power is lower than many other forms of energy. In other words, non-nuclear energy sources produce more energy for a given input.

David Swanson summarizes one of the key findings of the International Forum on Globalization report:

The energy put into mining, processing, and shipping uranium, plant construction, operation, and decommissioning is roughly equal to the energy a nuclear plant can produce in its lifetime. In other words, nuclear energy does not add any net energy.

 

Not counted in that calculation is the energy needed to store nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years.

Also not counted is any mitigation of the relatively routine damage done to the environment, including human health, at each stage of the process.

 

***

 

Nuclear energy is not an alternative to energies that increase global warming, because nuclear increases global warming. When high-grade uranium runs out, nuclear will be worse for CO2 emissions than burning fossil fuels. And as global warming advances, nuclear becomes even less efficient as reactors must shut down to avoid overheating.

Also not counted in most discussions is the fact that nuclear reactors discharge tremendous amounts of heat directly into the environment.  After all – as any nuclear engineer will tell you – a nuclear reactor is really just a fancy way to boil water.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists noted in 1971:

In terms of thermal efficiency, current nuclear reactors are even worse off than the coal plants.  Against the 50 per cent loss of heat in the newest coal plants, as much as 70 per cent of the heat is lost from nuclear plants.  This means that thermal pollution can be even more severe ….

1971 was a long time ago, but some nuclear plants are older.  For example, Oyster Creek was launched in 1969, and many other reactors were built in the early 1970s.   Most American nuclear reactors are old (and they are aging very poorly).

Indeed, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service claims:

It has been estimated that every nuclear reactor daily releases thermal energy –heat– that is in excess of the heat released by the detonation of a 15 kiloton nuclear bomb blast.

It doesn’t make too much sense to dump massive amounts of heat into the environment … in the name of fighting global warming.

The German Example

Germany permanently shut down 8 nuclear power plants in 2011. Indeed, Germany’s phase-out of nuclear will speed up the reduction in its carbon footprint.

PhysOrg reported last year:

A special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, “The German Nuclear Exit,” shows that the nuclear shutdown and an accompanying move toward renewable energy are already yielding measurable economic and environmental benefits, with one top expert calling the German phase-out a probable game-changer for the nuclear industry worldwide.

 

***

 

Freie Universität Berlin politics professor Miranda Schreurs says the nuclear phase-out and accompanying shift to renewable energy have brought financial benefits to farmers, investors, and small business;

 

Felix Matthes of the Institute for Applied Ecology in Berlin concludes the phase-out will have only small and temporary effects on electricity prices and the German economy;

 

***

 

Lutz Mez, co-founder of Freie Universit?t Berlin’s Environmental Policy Research Center, presents what may be the most startling finding of all …. “It has actually decoupled energy from economic growth, with the country’s energy supply and carbon-dioxide emissions dropping from 1990 to 2011, even as its gross domestic product rose by 36 percent.”

Beyond Nuclear notes:

Germany reduced its carbon emissions in 2011 by 2.1 percent despite the nuclear phaseout. The cut in greenhouse gases was mainly reached due to an accelerated transition to renewable energies and a warm winter. In addition, the EU emissions trading system caps all emissions from the power sector.

 

While eight nuclear power plants were shut down, solar power output increased by 60 percent. By the end of 2011, renewable energies provided more than 20 percent of overall electricity.

 

***

 

Even after shutting its eight oldest nuclear power plants, Germany is still a net exporter of electricity. In 2011, Germany exported 6 TWh more than it imported. Additionally, German electricity exports to Europe’s nuclear power house France increased throughout 2011.

The Big Picture

The former chief American nuclear regulator says that nuclear energy is unsafe and should be phased out. Whistleblowers at the Nuclear Regulator Commission say that the risk of a major meltdown at U.S. nuclear reactors is much higher than it was at Fukushima.

And an accident in the U.S. could be a lot larger than in Japan … partly because our nuclear plants hold a lot more radioactive material. Radiation could cause illness in huge numbers of Americans, and a major nuclear accident could literally bankrupt America.

More than 75 percent of American nuclear reactors leak radiation … and – contrary to what the snake oil salesmen say – radiation form nuclear plants is very damaging to our health.

Nuclear is wholly subsidized by the government … and would never survive in a free market.

Anyone who says the only choices are nuclear, oil or coal are wrong.  The question isn’t one type of centralized energy generation versus another.

Decentralizing energy production, increasing efficiency, and increasing energy conservation are the real solutions for the environment.

Watch this must-see talk by Lovins, and this inspiring talk by Justin Hall Tipping.

The bottom line – as discussed above – is that scientists pushing nuclear to combat global warming are misinformed.  (True, nuclear industry lobbyists may be largely responsible for the claim that nuclear fights climate change. Indeed, Dick Cheney – whose Halliburton company builds nuclear power plants, and which sold nuclear secrets to Iran – falsely claimed that nuclear power is carbon-free in a 2004 appearance on C-Span. But there are also sincere environmental scientists who are pushing nuclear because they have only studied a small part of the picture, and don’t understand that there are better alternatives.)

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Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

George.....

 

Hows that article on Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering(S.A.G) and Solar Radiation Management (SRM) comming along....?

 

Oh maybe include the US Military goal of "Own the Weather in 2025"..

Thanks George I know your on it....right....?

Right George...????

 

George? Are you there Gerge...????

Ya...thats what I thought......

New_Meat's picture

Is Art Bell moonlighting as our very own GW?  One wonders what GW's connection is to George Noory?

When the post don't arrive, you'll know that it is GW ;-)

- Ned

gmak's picture

Clowns.

 

Two words.  Thorium Reactor.

 

 

Flakmeister's picture

Show me a functioning commercial design...

Oh, yeah, one word, proliferation....

Living The Dream's picture

"Even well-known, well-intentioned scientists sometimes push bad ideas."

So what really makes Lovins any different?

theprofromdover's picture

The UK's useless and dangerous Tony Blair pushed for nuclear, when he was told that he had wasted 5 years with no energy policy, and wind turbines wouldn't do it. So he had the option of power cuts, or nuclear power generation.

He immediately put in place a media blitz saying nuclear was clean, cheap, sustainable, and low carbon. Until then, everyone but France and Japan was moving away from nuclear power. Overnight, they even managed to get James Lovelock of Gaia fame to sign up to the idea. (They still actually didn't quite get round to ordering any).

That marketing baloney has gone round the world twice since then, with the blind acceptance of mainstream media.

 

Nuclear power is expensive, inefficient, dirty, and leaves volatile waste for hundreds of generations to deal with.

New_Meat's picture

"Nuclear power is expensive, inefficient, dirty, and leaves volatile waste for hundreds of generations to deal with."

Yep:

  • ~$003.5/kWh, like 4+ times cheaper than wind, and is baseload 24/7, vs. at God's whim.  So the actual number is like 8x less expensive than the "renewable" sources.
  • thermodynamically inefficient with respect to combined-cycle units, otherwise?
  • dirty?  you mean like mines that produce batteries for coal-fired cars?
  • If the waste is volatile, it doesn't last hundreds of generations, it lasts like a year or less. 

Dude, get a clue.  Or did all of those volatiles from the fryolator get you confused after u got ur "liberal arts" degree?  Let me guess, Art History?  No, Michael Lewis was actually able to do something with that.

Please let us know.

- Ned

 

hmmtellmemore's picture

The author doesn't even mention thorium reactors?!  Please note: uranium reactors are NOT the only way to split atoms for energy.  They are basically the WORST way, but are popular for the weaponizable material by-products.

Urban Roman's picture

Thorium always sounds good on paper, but what bothers me are the rectangles on the system diagram marked "And then a miracle happens" ...

I mean, that FLiBe combined solvent-and-heat-transfer-mechanism is so harmless you can practically drink it, right? And the "fluorine sparge" rectangle -- what could possibly go wrong with injecting gaseous elemental fluorine into a mishmash of fission products, raw fissionable material, and "durable" metal plumbing? 

css1971's picture

The Indians are implementing thorium reactors. I think the first commercial one is about to go online or recently did go online.

New_Meat's picture

Yankee Rowe was commercial, too.  Monticello, ...

Urban Roman's picture

Apparently we will find out, then. In about ten or twenty years when the fluorine and fluorides finally eat through the walls of the plumbing. 

mess nonster's picture

Thorium- another nuke energy swindle.

The question of nuclear energy is the hidden silver lining in the peak-oil/ economic collapse. Once the liquid fossil fuel, and the debt economy built upon it goes away, so will nukes, albeit, leaving behind enough radioactive waste to poison the entire planet.

If you believe the global economy is in the terminal stages of ponzi disintegration, then you can stop worrying about nuclear anything, except the inevitable mess left behind, which, unfortunately, we won't have the money to clean up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UrbanBard's picture

There are so many questionable assumptions in your reply, it's hard to know where to start.

Peak Oil is bogus communist argument (first fielded by the Club of Rome) which has never borne out. Oil Reserves are increasing, not declining. It’s just that Environmentalists are making it more difficult and expensive to find new oil fields. It’s cheaper to expand existing fields via improved technology. The US federal government prevented the exploration of shallow drilling in the Gulf which pushed companies out into deep water.

http://www.radford.edu/wkovarik/oil/

Fracking is opening up new fields, all on private lands, because the Environmentalists have blocked utilization on government controlled lands such as the Green River deposits in Western Colorado. These deposits hold enough energy to supply the US for 2 centuries. Environmentalists are blocking Canadian oil going to refineries in Texas via the Keystone XL pipeline. Then, they turn around and complaint that the earth is running out of oil. Stupid.

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/05/our_vast_energy_reserves_oba...

Next, the debt economy is a governmental creation of Fractional Reserve Banking, throughout the world, and the US Federal Reserve Bank. The National Recovery Act during FDR cartelized the American economy by preventing competition. Cartels are not a function of the free market. We have no free market. The process of freeing up the economy has had limited success, mostly because of government regulations.

It does look like the world will be going through a decline as all the world’s currencies go bust. This will lower the world’s standard of living for a decade or so. But then, the economy will recover. 

There has never been a free market in nuclear power. The Light Water Reactor was not chosen by the market. The US Military picked Light Water technology because it produces Plutonium which can be refined to make bombs. Then, the government gave subsidies, and a capping of liabilities in an accident, if the power industries used Light Water technology. The nuclear waste problem resulted from bad governmental policy. 

Even so, the waste problem can be solved by using modern technology. The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor can eat that nuclear waste. LFTR should be far less energy intensive. If governments don’t prevent it, some innovator will see that nuclear waste as a resource and exploit it. Then, Environmentalists will decry cleaning up nuclear waste.

Next, Anthropogenic Global Warming is bogus.  The Earth has warmed 0.7 degrees Celsius since the Little Ice Age ended around 1850. This has caused the oceans to rise 8 inches. The increase in CO2 didn’t occur until after 1945. There has been no warming of the Earth since 1998. We are currently in a cooling period because the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Arctic Cycle are in their cold phases. Let’s hope the Earth is not returning to an Ice Age, because a third to a half of the Earth’s population will die.

The most environmentally benign period in the last twenty thousand years was 7 to 5 thousand years ago when the Earth was much warmer than today.

In short, you and George Washington have swallowed Anti-Nuke propaganda whole. Neither of you seem to have any scientific or technical background, so how can you tell what is real?

The Second Rule's picture

Peak Oil is bogus communist argument

You know, I don't think I've ever heard "peak oil" mixed in with a 1970s cold war state of the mind argument before. Anyone? Bueller? No, I think this is a first.

 

Flakmeister's picture

Buddy has a a near fatal case of conspiratorial ideation..

Pseudo Anonym's picture

regardless of any benefits or dis-benefits, the only reason that matters is this

The US Military picked Light Water technology because it produces Plutonium which can be refined to make bombs.

all else is propaganda and distraction

Urban Roman's picture

Talk about swallowng propaganda. 

One of your three points is correct, while the other two are simply disinformation. 

  1. Peak oil is not about reserves, it is about the production rate. Which is leveling off, and will be going into decline. It hardly matters whether the decline causes the economic collapse, or vicea-versa. It will decline. 
  2. Correct, nuclear power cannot exist without massive government subsidies. Unfortunately LFTR is still pretty much vaporware, and likely to stay that way. I'm still convinced it has some serious technical problems to solve. 
  3. Global warming is really happening. However, the cure for it is not financial fraud; fraud is only helpful to the extent that it advances the economic collapse, thereby reducing carbon usage. I'm guessing that it won't cause human extinction, but it is likely to disrupt agriculture. 
Svendblaaskaeg's picture

"..I'm guessing that it won't cause human extinction, but it is likely to disrupt agriculture..."

yes of cause, we all know plants love cold weather and hate Co2, ask any indoor pot grower in Calif

 

Flakmeister's picture

My you are full of red herrings today... pretty shallow shit as well..

Would you like to discuss the studies looking at C3 and C4 plant development  as a function of C02 concentration?

http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-plant-food-advanced.htm

akak's picture

Agreed, one does not have to embrace Al Gore or any of his policies in order to acknowledge that the world IS warming --- the worldwide (and ongoing, and accelerating) melting of alpine and polar icecaps and glaciers over the past 100 years or more is proof enough of that.

New_Meat's picture

akak:

"... embrace Al Gore ..."

STOP IT RIGHT NOW, DUDE!

eeeeeewwwwwww

sigh

- Ned

akak's picture

"Oh Al!  Is that a global warming thermometer in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

New_Meat's picture

"release my third chakra thingie"!

Svendblaaskaeg's picture

..melting this and freezing that - its the global mean temperatures that matters

..and it should be warmer as we leave the little ice age, but..

"Global warming at a standstill, new Met Office figures show
The Met Office has downgraded its forecast for global warming to suggest that by 2017 temperatures will have remained about the same for two decades."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9787662/Globa...

 

 

Non Passaran's picture

akak you are wrong (but GW is not only wrong but also evil and/or insane).
There is no proof of any warming, and there is also no proof that it is human activity that is causing it (read up, it may be a natural cycle or the Sun or something else).
The past 17 years have not had any significant rise in global temperatures while predictions based on CO2 models have been proven ridiculously wrong.

akak's picture

With all due respect, Non Passaran (and no sarcasm), you are incorrect. 

Both alpine and polar glaciers and icecaps continue melting and receding worldwide, from Greenland to Nepal to Indonesia to Alaska to Antactica, a trend that has been ongoing for at least the past 100 years and which is simply impossible to deny --- the fact is unambiguous and inarguable (and which I have, and am, witnessing with my own eyes in real time).  There can be no more definitive proof of global warming than that, particularly inasmuch as the lag time between warming and glacial melting is quite short, on the order of a handful of years at most.

However, it is both illogical and irrational to therefore assume that one must embrace Al Gore, carbon credits, or ANY particular (statist) policy prescription merely by accepting the reality of the situation.

 

EDIT: Those downarrowing me do so only from a rigidly dogmatic and ideological position that I find disheartening in its close-mindedness.  I am merely pointing out an iron-clad and irrefutable scientific fact, with NO political agenda attached, and I get downarrowed for that?

Stuck on Zero's picture

Agree.  There's a long-term trend for worming since the last glacial.  However, the melting of the glaciers has more to do with soot emissions than CO2.  At the same time I would not cite as "iron-clad and irrefutable scientific fact" that the climate will continue to warm.  Every few hundred years a large volcanic event occurs in Indonesia that can drastically change the climate for millennia.  These are the Black Swan events or punctuated equilibria of economics and geology, respectively.  It is best for govrnments to plan on food, housing, and shelter as the basic elements of human survival ... not fighting global warming.

 

akak's picture

SoZ, note that I did not make any projections into the future, nor did I express any agreement with Al Gore or the idea of trading carbon credits or taxing carbon emissions, nor did I for that matter even address the idea of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming in any way.  I merely reiterated the widely made, and yes, irrefutable, observation that glaciers and polar icecaps have been melting worldwide for the last century or so.  Why that melting has occurred, and what is likely to happen regarding glacial melting and the climate in general in the future, are all entirely different topics.

logicalman's picture

It seems that you get down arrows on this subject if you have given it serious thought.

In WW2 bomber pilots knew the were in the wrong place if no one is shooting at them.

If you are being 'shot at' you mut be onto something.

 

Bearwagon's picture

It is not hard to use a thorium reactor as a source of U 233, which is excellent material to build a bomb-core from. (Hint: 15. April 1955, Operation Teapot)

Urban Roman's picture

It's possible to make a bomb from U233, but it is a crappy material for bomb making. Reason is that the U233 from a thorium reactor is always contaminated with U232, which is much less stable and much "hotter". Its decay product, Tl208, builds up over time and fries electonics, degrades the shaped explosives around the pit, and announces the bomb's presence to radiation monitors everywhere. 

Bearwagon's picture

I'm sure the indians had that in mind, when they made breeding of U 233 part of their nuclear program. It can be used and it has been. The impurity just greatly increases the maintenance efforts. Or you get rid of the U 232 by enrichment through electromagnetic separation or atomic vapor laser isotope separation, if you really want the bomb that much ...

Urban Roman's picture

Still, most aspiring nuclear-weapon powers prefer to simply run an old fashioned PWR or BWR and blanket it with U238 to make Pu239. It is much easier to separate the Pu chemically. 

As for the isotopic separation, it's hard enough to separate U235<=>U238 with their 1% mass difference. U232<=>U233 only have a 0.3% difference in mass. 

Bearwagon's picture

I agree. You  are completely right. I just wanted to mention that it would be doable, but of course Pu 239 is what one would aim for first.

gmak's picture

Sorry that I commented before seeing your post.  Otherwise I would have held back.

Salah's picture

Once again, another supposedly fact-ridden jeremiad from the beltway academic-cum-blogster GW.  And now he's citing fellow academic Amory Lovins?  and as a 'top expert on energy' instead of the parasitic extortionist he really is.  And let's not forget that 'chief American nuclear regulator', no doubt Gregory Jaczko, Harry Reid's butt-fuck buddy and proven psychopath at the NRC, where he had a hard time just hanging on to what was left of his sanity.

Jeez, ZH...you can do better than this guy.

 

SilverSavant's picture

You don't no shit about Amory Lovins, who is far more than just an academic.  In fact, after reading your comment, it is clear that you only know shit.  GW actually raised his score considerably by showing he is listening to AL.  Only highly intelligent people listen to him, which explains why you don't. 

New_Meat's picture

comic relief of a Sunday afternoon ;-)

I like "fact-ridden", maybe "fact-riddled"?

Svendblaaskaeg's picture

"..Greenpeace points out.."

lost me there

Svendblaaskaeg's picture

Transscript from a BBC radio program: Are Environmentalists bad for the Planet?

"TOWNSEND: I was making a speech to nearly 200 really hard core, deep environmentalists and I played a little thought game on them. I said imagine I am the carbon fairy and I wave a magic wand. We can get rid of all the carbon in the atmosphere, take it down to two hundred fifty parts per million and I will ensure with my little magic wand that we do not go above two degrees of global warming. However, by waving my magic wand I will be interfering with the laws of physics not with people – they will be as selfish, they will be as desiring of status. The cars will get bigger, the houses will get bigger, the planes will fly all over the place but there will be no climate change. And I asked them, would you ask the fairy to wave its magic wand? And about 2 people of the 200 raised their hands." 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/programmes/analysis/transcripts/...

Its not about nuclear, coal, gas, CAGW whatever..it never was - its about a new world order

"Quote by Club of Rome: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill....All these dangers are caused by human intervention....and thus the “real enemy, then, is humanity itself....believe humanity requires a common motivation, namely a common adversary in order to realize world government. It does not matter if this common enemy is “a real one or….one invented for the purpose."

http://www.c3headlines.com/global-warming-quotes-climate-change-quotes.html

Stuck on Zero's picture

Doctors used to bleed patients (bloodletting) with the effect of removing iron from the blood.  Today it is recognized as a means of reducing bacterial invasions.

 

Bearwagon's picture

Another fine example of the fact, that nuclear energy not only is much more complicated than it ist commonly believed to be, but also very, very expensive.

Urban Redneck's picture

Since renewable energy is so profitable and cost effective... then THERE ISN'T ANY NEED FOR ALL OF THOSE DIRECT OR INDIRECT SUBSIDIES TO ANY OF THE ENERGY SECTOR ANYMORE.  "Green" investments by government are a pure waste of taxpayer dollars.  Who knew?

Matt's picture

Well, if oil, coal, biofuel and nuclear were not subsidized, then renewables wouldn't need to be subsidized to be competitive. However, there is no way the subsidies, which include the American military and the central bank system, are going to be abolished.

Urban Roman's picture

If the makers of solar panels got 1/10th of the subsidies lavished on the nuclear and petroleum industries, we would be awash in a sea of solar panels. You'd just use them as roofing material and not bother hooking up the wires. 

Did you think Iraq was a waste of taxpayer dollars? Did you think it was about the WMDs?

Non Passaran's picture

I didn't notice a call for the cancellation of all subsidies - did you?

Svendblaaskaeg's picture

..so you can shave yourself on a sunny day - how about energy storage? - would we be able to have all those windfarm in Denmark without the Norwegian water backup? - nope, not posible, same goes for solar panels, no storage, no cigar

Its not that easy to be green