Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
I don’t understand why this study was commissioned. Isn’t the death and destruction of nuclear war bad enough to deter pushing the button? Does anyone really believe that a leader of a nuclear power or a terrorist would be about to start the holocaust and then pause because they were concerned about the environment?
I guess when you work at Stanford though, such thoughts cross your mind. Or maybe it is just the constant pressure within acedemia to “Publish or Perish” to keep your job. Or maybe it has some deeper and political purpose.
Also, I do not concede the point that the proliferation of nuclear energy makes nuclear war more likely. There have only been two nuclear attacks in history and they both occurred before the advent of nuclear power. The supposition that nuclear power begets nuclear war is simply an opinion posed by the researcher and not grounded in any scientific fact or study. It helps him get his paper published, which I think may have been the main reason for including it. It also skews his study away from nuclear power and towards wind and solar.
Several years ago, the late Michael Crichton wrote a book about global warming called “A State of Fear” and it was fairly controversial in its day. One of the many messages that Mr. Crichton was trying to deliver was that scientific conclusions are affected by the opinions of the scientists and those opinions are often affected by the need for money and funding. It makes one curious as to the hidden motives of the paper’s author, Mark Z Jacobson.
One of Mr. Crichton’s tenets was that just because a scientist says it, doesn’t make it so. In this case, I don’t doubt that nuclear war is bad for the environment but to include war in the discussion on alternative fuels, makes me question the integrity of the study and its conclusions.
According to a new paper in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, even a very limited nuclear exchange, using just a thousandth of the weaponry of a full-scale nuclear war, would cause up to 690m tonnes of CO2 to enter the atmosphere
The purpose of the paper is to compare the total human and environmental costs of a wide range of different power sources, from solar and wind to nuclear and biofuels. One of the side-effects of nuclear power, the report argues, is an increased risk of nuclear war: “Because the production of nuclear weapons material is occurring only in countries that have developed civilian nuclear energy programs, the risk of a limited nuclear exchange between countries or the detonation of a nuclear device by terrorists has increased due to the dissemination of nuclear energy facilities worldwide.”
Those figures, as far as I can tell, are entirely arbitrary, and as such I’m rather surprised that the Royal Society for Chemistry are prepared to publish them in their journal.
Either way, nuclear doesn’t come out as badly as first- or second-generation biofuels. These, the author remarks, are “ranked lowest overall and with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste,” and may actually “worsen climate and air pollution” relative to fossil fuels.
Please click through to Duncan Clark’s review of the Stanford paper which first made me aware of the study.Tags: alternative fuel, attack, biofuel, CO2, emissions, EPA, Ford, fossil fuel, Michael Crichton, nuclear, nuclear war, pollution, science, scientific bias, scientists, solar, State of Fear, wind