Last year’s imploring open letter to environmental groups by renowned climate scientists Ken Caldeira, Tom Wigley, Terry Emmanuel and James Hansen was given limited coverage at the time, and faced emphatic rejection from its target audience. Conservative environmentalists responded with what can only be described as quantity rather than quality, ignoring the proferred evidence and reiterating their decades-old misconceptions, relying on weight of numbers to drown out what they had no wish to hear.
This obstinacy perhaps indicated an expectation that the nuclear debate would somehow consequently go away. On the contrary, though, our four authors have the support of a majority of their peers.
These are not salaried representatives of NGOs, relying on donor-bases with intractable, unaccountable interests in their official positions. These are the same scientists who contribute to the consensus understanding of climate change. “The Vision Prize is an online poll of scientists about climate risk. It is an impartial and independent research platform for incentivized polling of experts on important scientific issues that are relevant to policymakers.”
In addition to supporting the call for inclusion of nuclear energy, the majority also agrees that renewable energy technologies alone cannot play a major role in satisfying growing demand for electricity.
Deniers of climate change science will have no issue here – doubtless it comes as a source of great amusement. But these conclusions put renewable energy-only advocates in an untenable position, as, by definition, the whole purpose of their favoured technology is to mitigate climate change, a global phenomenon formalised by the work of professional climate scientists. Those that reject the inclusion of nuclear capacity as part of this effort face the cognitive dissonance of effectively denying the majority view of climate scientists. Additionally, it provides a damning context for Germany’s ideological approach to climate change, and its failure to address emissions while stubbornly demonizing the cleanest, safest, most lauded generation technology it ever possessed – and which, for now, still supplies more clean electricity than solar and wind.