Naomi Klein introduces a powerful seven-minute video daring us to imagine how the Green New Deal can take us to a future much better than the one we are currently on a path towards.
TODAY, THE INTERCEPT launches “A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” a seven-minute film narrated by the congresswoman and illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Set a couple of decades from now, it’s a flat-out rejection of the idea that a dystopian future is a forgone conclusion. Instead, it offers a thought experiment: What if we decided not to drive off the climate cliff? What if we chose to radically change course and save both our habitat and ourselves?
I hope it goes that way. Something to look forward to. That path would save a whole lot of pain and suffering.
Unfortunately it seems that history shows that things will only change when the wealthy and powerful experience pain. Their observing pain and suffering won’t do it. Billions of people will have to suffer and die before the wealthy feel anything at all.
I wish/hope that humanity could make changes without great numbers suffering. I have my doubts. If it goes that way it will be a nearly singular event. But a boy can dream.
Ironic that the video cites James Hansen, who also says that believing that renewables can power a country like the US is like believing in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.
Or how about other famous climate scientist Kerry Emanuel, who pontificated (like me) that Green advocates like AOC are possibly the biggest obstacle to fixing the climate because of their continued resistance to nuclear power.
“The anti-nuclear bias of this latest IPCC release is rather blatant, and reflects the ideology of the environmental movement. History may record that this was more of an impediment to decarbonization than climate denial.”
There are also several open letters to the environmental movement leaders and to government leaders from climate scientists, stressing the need for nuclear.
The consensus of scientists is also pro nuclear, including an informal sampling of leading climate scientists, as well as a survey of AAAS scientists.
AOC is quick to believe the science when it’s convenient, but then ignores the science when it comes to the inadequacy of renewables and the need for nuclear. The problem is that the Greens are a cult.
Again, listen to James Hansen, who says that the mainstream environmental movement is quasi-religious relating to their opposition to nuclear power.
Again listen to Kerry Emanuel, who says that the Greens might be the biggest reason why we won’t effectively combat climate change in a timely manner (quote and citation above).
Look at the leaders of this Green movement, and see that they’re liars and frauds.
Look at Helen Caldicott, who believes in a vast international conspiracy among dozens of U.N. agencies and hundreds of scientists, and believes that the real death toll of Chernobyl is being covered up, and that a million people died instead of the few hundred people according to the W.H.O. and every respectable medical organization.
Look at the leading scientific authority in the Green movement, Mark Jacobson. Mark Jacobson is a known liar and fraud, practically faking data in his public outreach efforts. For example, he wrote an article for Scientific American and said that the operation of nuclear power produced 25x as much CO2 as wind, but when you look at his own peer reviewed papers which justify this claim, you find out that this number includes CO2 emissions from coal (wait what? I thought he said nuclear power), and also CO2 emissions from burning cities from a periodic recurring limited nuclear war that happens every 30 years. Yes. I’m not shitting you. He spends several paragraphs describing his calculations at how he arrived at a particular amount of CO2 emissions from a nuclear war. How would someone feel learning that after just reading his Scientific American article?
Then there’s also the thing where 21 other scientists published a rebuttal paper in the same journal that Jacobson published his most famous paper. Instead of publishing a correction or rebuttal paper, he sued the other scientists and the journal itself for defamation.
Mark Jacobson is also likely just a paid shill by the fossil fuel lobby. His university work is funded by a natural gas tycoon, and he’s on the board of the “who’s who” of natural gas interests.
And yet, this person is still considered by many to be the foremost scientific expert in the Green movement. This alone is evidence that the entire Green movement is rotten to its core.
As for the wider Green movement, they’ve been telling us that renewables are ready or will be ready in just a few years, and they’ve been doing this constantly for the last 50 years.
How many times do you have to be lied to in order to recognize that the speaker is a liar? It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad how many people believe the lies of this religious cult.
Again, this is the movement that AOC has aligned with. It’s just as scientifically illiterate and just as dangerous as the climate change denial movement, and both movements themselves are funded by fossil fuel money. Again -- the Green movement has been co-opted in large part, and the Greens are the “useful idiots” to fossil fuel money, being used to attack the only real competitor to their profits: nuclear power.
And before you say that it’s not the Greens’ fault that nuclear power is so expensive or not used -- that’s just another Green lie. Kerry Emanuel stated above that he suspects / believes that the Greens are primarily responsible for us not using nuclear power today. He is not alone in this assessment. The Greens and their misinformation and thorough fight against nuclear power is the reason why we nuclear power is so expensive today and we why have so little nuclear power.
I say this again: I talk about this so often because it matters, and because I care, and because similar to Kerry Emanuel, I believe that the Greens are the biggest obstacle to fixing climate change, and the Green New Deal is just the latest maneuver by the movement to waste time, money, political capital, public engagement, and to shut down nuclear power plants in order to replace them with coal and natural gas. When nuclear power plants are shut down, they are not replaced with renewables. They are replaced in large part by coal and natural gas.
PS: The video says that climate scientists say that we have 12 years to reduce our CO2 emissions by half. I know a plan that can do that right now. It’s called nuclear. France converted half of their electricity to nuclear in about 15 years. With a little more effort, the world could do the same for all of their electricity in a comparable timeframe, and they could also move their industrial energy usage and indoor heating and cooling to nuclear electricity. Boom. That’s about 50% of human greenhouse gas emissions right there.
It’s actually a very plausible plan. Realistically, I expect it to take a little longer, but that’s best, and only, plan that we have.
Look at how the video fetishizes “changing everyone” as the goal. It’s not just a requirement of the plan to achieve their goal. It’s fetishized by the movement so that it has become the goal unto itself. Rather than worry about global warming, ocean acidification, etc., the real worries about much of the modern environmental movement are other things like taking down the mega-corps and living in harmony with nature in some ridiculous anarcho-communist pipedream.
No, the real environmental movement, to the extent that it’s not just paid shills by the fossil fuel lobby, are dominated by regressive Malthusian Luddites who want the world to deindustrialize and for everyone to live in poverty so that everyone can live in harmony with nature and to protect nature from human exploitation which is powered by energy use -- or so they say.
Unfortunately, they have it exactly ass-backwards. Excepting CO2 emissions, Damage to the environment by humans is moreso a problem of poor countries because rich countries can afford to have a clean air act, a clean water act, an endangered species act, etc. They’re rich enough to afford the luxury of caring for and protecting nature. For example, we’re not losing rainforests because of capitalist exploitation. We’re losing rainforests primarily because of poor farmers who don’t have access to energy-rich modern fertilizer who clearcut and burn large swathes of rainforest for temporary farming and grazing land. It’s also rich countries where birth rates are plummeting. The best way to ensure that we have an overpopulation problem is to keep people poor, and the best way to protect nature is to keep people out of it and keep people in cities, which means living high energy usage lives. It also means using less land for farming, which again means modern agriculture practices and high-energy fertilizer in order to increase crop yields per acre.
Everything depends on getting clean, cheap, abundant energy, and that’s why the environmentalists of the 1960s and 1970s hated nuclear -- They hated nuclear because it was clean, cheap, abundant energy.
Amory Lovins in 1977: “If you ask me, it’d be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it”
Martin Litton, Sierra Club, leader of campaign against Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant: “I didn’t really worry about the accidents because there are too many people anyway … I think that playing dirty if you have a noble end is fine,”
I know you would like this. 1967, Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich, in 1967, wrote a pamphlet warning about overpopulation, titled “The Population Bomb”, as part of the argument against high energy lives, via the standard debunked Malthusian arguments. This pamphlet had visual depictions of “poor people in India as animals ‘screaming…begging…defecating and urinating.’ “. See:
There’s also a racist undertone to this whole discussion. These asshole Greens tend to be rich white people, blinded in their own privilege, who demand that the rest of the poor -- and often non-white -- world cannot industrialize like the white world has. Also, very few of these people even understand what it means to reduce themselves to that standard of living, and practically none are informed and also willing to do it voluntarily. It has a strong element of colonialism. This is the modern environmentalist movement. It’s implicitly and inherently a colonialist, racist power play, trying to make sure that the poor non-white countries of the world stay poor. Sure, that’s not what they say, but again that’s only because they’re too ignorant because of their privilege to really understand what it means to live without electricity, running water, internet access, etc.
Another link that describes how Greens are the reason why nuclear is so expensive and why nuclear is not used more today.
Also, as a native American (only about 12% Cherokee honestly), I am actually a little offended by the racist caricature in the video.
What is this nonsense? It describes all native Americans as still being backwater “living off the land” redneck hicks living out in the woods, and native Americans especially possess some magical or genetic ability at wildland restoration. This is some high tier Gaia worshiping nonsense, with native Americans as a convenient caricature. Does this video maker honestly think that all native Americans held the same sort of respect for the land, with the same traditions of caring for it, with the same religious undertones? God damn I’m offended.
Moreover, it’s also an implicit attack on science and progress itself. The video right here says that modern society has lost the knowledge necessary to restore it, but those magical native Americans know the way because they were just born knowing it, and modern science and industry caused the rest of us to lose this mystical natural knowledge of how to heal nature. Fucking regressive Luddite bullshit.
It’s science that is keeping most of the people alive. It’s the GMOs, high energy fertilizer, and modern farming practices that allow us to produce enough food for everyone on the planet. If we tried to go back to the old ways of growing food, most people would starve. Fun factoid: About 1% to 2% of the total world’s energy supply goes to making fertilizer. The process was invented by Fritz Haber, a name that almost no one knows, and without that most of us would starve. Also, I should mention another person who was influential in the design of GMOs, and spread of GMOs and better farming techniques. This man, Norman Borlaug, is credited by real estimates as saving one billion human lives through his work. One billion with a “B”. This man is arguably the best and greatest human being who has ever lived, and almost no one knows his name. These are the people and methods that we should idolize. We shouldn’t look back at the magic Cherokee man to have our problems. We need to look at the future with science, engineering, and technology.
(Ok, we shouldn’t idolize that whole “father of chemical weapons” bit of Fritz Haber. I never said that he was a great person. Just his invention.)
…Quite an infodump. However perhaps the most ludicrous nation of all to not even contemplate nuclear power is… Australia. We have the single largest uranium deposit in the world, accounting for something like 30% of the entire planet’s supply, and yet we have nutters banging on about hydro power. Hydro power! Australia has the least geographic relief of all continents, and is the most arid continent north of Antarctica (with the notable exception of Tasmania). Solar is of course the most viable of the green sources, with patches suited to wind turbines, though there is the problem of somewhat regular dust storms and of course the perennial issue of storage in the event of say, a blocking high.
I don’t know what tactic I should take to be persuasive. I find “you’re wrong and part of a religious cult” to not go over well. Lately, I’ve been trying the “bring overwhelming citations of high scientific rigor and quality” approach. I don’t know if that’s any better. How do you deprogram someone from a religious cult, and especially when they’re part of the political spectrum, the left, that prides themself into believing that the other side is the pseudoscience religious-cult side? Hell if I know.
Writing as someone who lived feet away from one nuclear reactor, and worked feet away from a second for four years—USS Bainbridge, CGN 25, 1976-79--I would be more than happy to champion nuclear power if, and only if, all nuclear reactors were operated and maintained to the very high standards set by the father of the nuclear navy (and a personal hero) Admiral Hyman Rickover.
Here is Ohio we have two, very prominent examples of what happens when profits supersede Rickover’s standards: the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants.
Although it was the nuclear energy industry which first trumpeted the threat of global warming, they are not the answer because no private corporation, driven by profit, can ever be trusted with nuclear power.
Have Coffee Will Write
Hey EL, how does this grab you? As I have noted in previous exchanges with you, currently, nuclear power is not cost competitive with natural gas fired reactors. Fake news right?
It’s a very American way of appealing to people, this video. Comes across as distastefully wide-eyed and optimistic to us British folk. We respond much better to threats of disaster and grumbled complaints about how these changes are awkward but necessary.
Well, since I have never owned any Florida property and live about a 100 metres above sea level, I should be okay for another 20 years.
What the hell is Schickelgruber guy doing here??
Curious Digressions says
@ EL -- I don’t know what tactic I should take to be persuasive.
Find out what the oppositions’ concerns are and ask what would take for them to change their minds. If they can’t provide either, they are more likely to be cultishly devoted to their position.
I can’t say that I’m strongly in opposition, but can’t say I support it either.
My concerns are:
How would the waste and bi-products be managed? By whom?
(Not specifically nuclear power waste but (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Lake_Landfill)
How will the industry be regulated to insure that they comply with appropriate safety protocols, per hyphenman’s concern above?
Before seriously advocating nuclear power, I assume some source would provide credible data for rates of accidents/ failures and impacts to the immediate communities where plants are located. If not, this would be needed for me to support the option.
EL the Atomic Cultist once again loudly proclaims that his faith is the One And Only True Faith.
I would be sympathetic to the goals of someone like Robert Oppenheimer and modern nuclear advocate Tom Blees who argue that nuclear power plants should be regulated and operated by an international treaty organization for precisely this reason.
However, I have to ask why you consider this to be an unnegotiatable starting position. Why? I strongly suspect that it’s because of the perceived dangers of nuclear waste and nuclear power plant accidents. I encourage you to read my sources. I’ll repost the relevant ones here again plus many new ones that are relevant.
The brute fact of the matter is that most of what you think you know about the dangers of nuclear power is wrong (and most of what you know about the effectiveness of renewables is also wrong). The dangers of nuclear power have been exaggerated by a thousand fold. Low-level background radiation below a certain level is basically harmless (more on this later in this post). Only a few hundred people or less have died or will die from radiation (including cancers) from the Chernobyl accident, and other than that, basically zero people have died or will die from any kind of civilian nuclear programs, including waste and power plant accidents. Fukushima? About zero. Three Mile Island? Zero. Windscale? Zero. Even many military nuclear programs that are often cited for their health effects have basically zero impact on human health, such as Hanford.
Nuclear is the safest and environmentally cleanest form of electricity production that we have. And that includes all of the accidents.
You have to understand that there is a dedicated cadre of persons in the Green movement who are consumate liars or delusional fools. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.
For example, Helen Caldicott has been a preeminent environmentalist and anti-nuclear advocate for 50 years. She says that she believes that there has been a vast international conspiracy to cover up the true health effects of Chernobyl, which she says killed a million people, and dozens of U.N. agencies are in on it, including hundreds or thousands of scientists from around the world.
Is she a liar? Or just delusional? It’s hard to tell. Either way, it doesn’t matter. She’s not a reliable source. Green Peace says the same lies by the way, along with many other leading Green organizations. Rather than being the bastions of honesty and science, they’re woo-peddlers, fear-mongers, and conspiracy theorists, who say that they believe that radiation is extremely dangerous even in the smallest dilutions. When I put it like that, it sounds a lot like homeopathy, doesn’t it?
In reality, constant-rate radiation below a certain level is harmless. There’s plethora of evidence out there, but two of my favorite pieces of evidence for this are the recent MIT mice study, and Bernard Cohen’s epidemiological radon x lung cancer study which found no correlation between radon and lung cancer, and there’s still no correlation after controlling for every possible confounding factor. This is contrary to the “accepted” wisdom that radon is the number 2 cause of lung cancer (second only to smoking).
The value of that threshold is currently a little uncertain, and it also depends on whether it’s internal or external exposure (i.e. bioaccumulation), but based on the scant evidence that we have, it’s much higher than you have been led to believe. It’s high enough that almost all of the Chernobyl exclusion zone and almost all of the Fulushima exclusion zone is (probably) safe to live in right now with no adverse health effects. Remember my claim of only a few hundred deaths from Chernobyl? That is according to the homeopathic model of radiation damage to human health. If we used a more accurate model, it’s probably less than a hundred.
Similarly, we should talk about nuclear waste disposal. The idea that nuclear waste, especially when properly disposed, will hurt anyone, is a laughing-stock. It’s pure pseudoscience drivel. Notice that every time a Green source says that nuclear waste leaks are dangerous, they never actually bother to say “how dangerous”, and instead leave that to the audience’s overreactive imagination which the Greens have been carefully cultivating to default to overreaction for 50 years. In reality, when you look at what happens when there’s a leak, and the answer is basically “nothing”.
Now, compare that to coal and other fossil fuels and dirty fuels. Those kill 7 million, 7,000,000, people every year from premature deaths, just from the airborne particulate pollution alone. 1 out of every 8 deaths worldwide is directly attributable to airborne particulates. No one ever talks about this actual crime against humanity. This isn’t accidents. This is standard operating procedure. About half of that IIRC is from fossil fuels, and the other half from burning wood and dung for indoor heating and cooking, which could be replaced by use of nuclear electricity.
Also, compare nuclear power to the actual environmental damage and human deaths caused by renewables. Here’s just a sample of the much larger negative environmental and human health impacts from renewables.
Again, I say that the nuclear power is the safest and cleanest form of electricity production that we have, and that the threat of nuclear accidents, while real and severe, is exaggerated by a thousand-fold.
I’m not part of the movement (the Green movement) which advocates conspiracy theories and denies the scientific consensus when it’s convenient. I’ll stick to the actual facts and scientific consensus in this matter thank-you-very-much.
To Curious Digressions
I discussed nuclear waste above.
What legal framework should we use for nuclear reactors? I am not an expert in the minutae of nuclear safety regulations and neither are you, and so we can’t really have a productive conversation on the defaults. We can talk in broad strokes. In broad strokes, the current regulations seem fine (except those needless regulations tha tare based on linear no-threshold; those need to go). I’m sure that you could always improve them, and I’m all for improving there where we reasonably can. However, I say again, even including the historical accidents, and even including Chernobyl, nuclear power is the safest kind of electricity generation in the context of harm to human health, and nuclear power is the cleanest kind of electricity generation in terms of its impact on the biosphere.
I seem to recall even a source from GreenPeace saying roughly the same thing, but I cannot find it now. However you slice it, the number of human deaths from nuclear is far less than coal and natural gas, and depending on whether you believe all of the regutable scientific organizations or the motley collection of Green sources on the number of human deaths from Chernobyl, nuclear causes far less deaths than even solar, wind, and hydro.
Nuclear is often not cost competitive because the Greens have accomplished their stated goals of making it expensive. See the “secret memo” from the Sierra club leader circa 1970, and look at their historical work of fighting nuclear power tooth and nail at every step of the way around the entire world for the last 50 years. And do you know what? They’ve succeeded. Nuclear power is dying. I’d like to reverse that.
Example needless safety regulations
Example Green legal delaying tactics
See also how the rules of today’s “regulated markets” have been carefully crafted by the alliance of renewables and natural gas to give an advantage to both at the cost of hurting the profitability of nuclear power.
Oh yes, you cannot forget that many countries / states have laws on the books that require a certain portion of their electricity to come from explicitly non-nuclear clean sources. That also hurts the profitability of nuclear.
Lofty the Angry Luddite once again rejects a thing he dislikes by denigrating the person promoting it.
Speaking of Norman Borlaug, I just found this article
which explains that the greatest man who ever lived was frequently stymied later in his work of saving a billion people by these same goddamn regressive Luddites, the Greens. Here again we see again the same Malthusian nonsense playing out, combined with a religious reverence of nature and natural practices, which as I tried to explain at length above is completely opposite of what we need to be doing to combat these problems of climate change and human overpopulation. We see again the same racist undercurrents in the Green movement where they believe that poor non-white people shouldn’t be allowed to continue breeding to overpopulation and instead the civilized white man should just let nature take its course, e.g. let the poor people in India, Pakistan, and elsewhere starve.
The Green movement is the single biggest threat to human civilization.
From that article, bolding added by me:
Jimmy Carter remains my favorite American president of the last century. Thank you Jimmy Carter.
EL the Atomic Cultist and Holms the Half Cocked clearly don’t understand why complex problems can’t be solved just by applying simple minded solutions.
How do you explain why your assessment of the problem is contradicted by leading climate scientists, and also a majority of scientists, such as shown by the AAAS study that I cited above? How can you believe that you know better than the scientific experts?
If there is no simple solution to the problem, then explain France and iirc Sweden, who solved the problem of electricity with nuclear and hydro. France mostly with nuclear. Do you think that France doesn’t exist? How can you say that the solution that I’m proposing for quickly fixing 50% of human greenhouse gases won’t work when it’s already be done in a duplicate sized industrialized country? What you say simply makes no sense to me.
Simple minded, says the guy rejecting a solution without reading up on it. Nice!
I worked in a nuke plant too, like Hyphenman, (USS Virginia CGN-38, 89-93) and have advocated that nuclear power would be much safer if operated under the same ultra strict safety regimen that the Navy uses. However I am guessing that you don’t know about the costs involved (even with the low pay for sailors)…the Navy has a HUGE budget and even with that budget the choice was made to decommission the nuke missile cruisers because they could build the gas turbine powered versions so much cheaper, and operate the power plant with 1/3 the crew and operate 3 times the number of ships for similar costs.
I know that we should also make a choice to spend the extra money to build out the GenIV (or whatever tech gets us where we want to be) nuclear plants, operate them under the strictest safety regime, and pay (upfront) for proper disposal, all via increased energy rates. I also know that corporate appetite for this kind of risk is such that government guarantees are the only way to make it happen.
So how do we convince the same people who wanted nothing to do with solar or wind until it became cheap, to invest in nuclear which is going to be even more expensive? And has a terrible publicity problem?
I don’t know how to do that…
Sorry that comment was responding to EL.
It appears that your arguments(?) are based on the false assumption that nuclear power is dangerous if left to greedy corporations. we have 50 years of data that shows that you’re wrong.
Hell, nuclear power has saved the lives of 1.8 million people already by displacing fossil fuels, and the analysis to reach that number only considers the reduction in airborne particulate pollution.
Did you know that approx 1 out of every 8 deaths worldwide is attributable to airborne particulate pollution, or about 7 million deaths per year? More people die every half-hour from airborne particulates compared to the total death count from radiation (including cancerns) from nuclear power over its entire history.
You claim that gasoline is cheaper for surface ships for the US Navy compared to nuclear power. I’d like a citation on that. Everything that I’ve read from former US Navy nuclear submarine chief engineer Rod Adams at http://atomicinsights.com says otherwise. And you’re probably wrong before we even consider the additional crew, ships, and other money expenses that are incurred from refueling operations which would be drastically increased by using gasoline instead of nuclear power.
You claim that solar and wind prices are dropping drastically. This is mostly false. Electricity is not a commodity; it’s a service, and yet people often cite prices as though it’s a commodity. In other words, unreliable electricity does not have the same value as reliable electricity, and that’s because we don’t have a tech that can store electricity at the scale and price that we need for the grid. Just look at France and Germany. France has much cheaper electricity and also much less CO2 emissions, and that’s because France uses nuclear and because Germany has shut off some of their nuclear power plants and replaced them, mostly with coal and natural gas, and also wasted tons of money on solar and wind.
In other words, think of it like this: With relatively low penetrations, i.e. 10% of total yearly electricity generation, Germany already has days where solar produces more than the total demand for a few hours at noon. That means any additional solar you put on the grid is going to have diminishing value, because either that solar electricity has to be diverted to somewhere else that can use it, and that’s less likely to be the case because if it’s sunny in Germany, it’s often sunny in its neighboring countries, or the electricity has to be stored, and that’s very costly at scale and comes with round-trip losses in storage. This is why LCOE numbers for solar and wind are a sham used by the ignorant or the dishonest.
I say that this not a debate between green vs nuclear vs fossil fuels because the green option is impossible with current or foreseeable tech. It’s a choice between 1- solving the problem (and many other problems) with nuclear, or 2- using fossil fuels, or 3- wasting lots of money on solar, wind, et al, while actually getting electricity from fossil fuels.
If you want me to go into any of the details with fuller arguments and citations, let me know.
EL, that’s a lot of stuff so I’ll start with what I know off the top of my head. One of they things I do is install small to medium scale solar projects as part of bigger performance contracts. We were purchasing turnkey solar at a little over $5/watt in 2009 and recently I was quoted a turnkey project at about $1.85/watt last month, this is anecdotal evidence but you can see it here; https://www.vox.com/2016/8/24/12620920/us-solar-power-costs-falling and also just by googling solar panel price trends. This is an industry wide trend across all sizes of installations nationwide. It is the main driver behind the rapid rise in PV panel installations. Wind installation costs have been on a similar downward trend.
I admit there are issues with distributed generation and the potential for overgeneration, this is what smart grid initiatives are designed to address…how much generation should there be, where should it go and when are all questions still being understood and answered.
I think you misunderstood me (or more likely I was not very clear) about nuclear safety, I agree that it has replaced a ton of fossil fuel generation and has reduced illness and deaths from particulate and other emissions. But the reality is people are terrified of it, because like so many other things they don’t understand. So I think the applicable line if thinking here is “you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.” We can show the general public all the safety charts and comparisons of radioactive release of materials to the environment we want and all they are gonna see is godzilla and Chernobyl.
If there was an alternative, I would agree with your reasoning. Unfortunately, I am pretty well convinced that green will not work. I’m with James Hansen that believing that solar and wind can power a country like the US, India, or China is comparable to believing in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy -- and those are the words of James Hansen, not me, citation up-thread.
If I was being pedantic, I would add the correction: they are going to see the carefully crafted image of Chernobyl which is a gross exaggeration of what actually happened. Chernobyl itself is not as bad as many people think it is. Compare the estimate of 1 million dead from Helen Caldicott, GreenPeace, etc., vs the estimate of a few hundred dead from all of the world’s reputable medical organizations, including the W.H.O.
This is definitely the crux of the matter. However, I believe that the magic incantation of “smartgrid” won’t be anywhere near enough, nor will the invocation of storage tech. There is a large amount of load that you cannot load shift or nor shed, such as many high temperature industrial processes (not happening), indoor heating in winter (harder to load shift and shed), etc. Similarly, the storage tech just doesn’t exist at scale and at cost. Many intelligent people have tried to do the modeling to show that you can do this with smartgrids e.g. load shifting and load shedding, and storage, but so far as I can tell, every single attempt at modeling this shows that it cannot be done, or it’s so full of holes that I have to conclude that the authors are dishonest, i.e. the 100% Wind Water Solar papers of Green poster-child Mark Jacobson.
I know it’s standard practice and there’s probably not a better way of doing it, but I still have the natural unconscious reaction to become annoyed when I see price quotes like this. Presumably that’s price quotes of solar capacity, e.g. the amount of electricity that the installation will produce at the standard insolation value “full sun”, aka 1000 W / m^2 of solar radiation. Back in reality, for Turkey, a nameplate capacity of 1000 W will actually produce close to 128 W, daily average, in ideal conditions, in winter (December).
And so back in reality, your price of $5 / Watt should be thought of as $39 / Watt for Turkey in winter.
And that’s still operating under the false analysis of LCOE, aka looking at daily averages. For a majority solar and wind grid, they’d need several days of storage at a minimum, and that is borderline impossible, and to the extent that it’s possible, it’s ludicrously expensive. In practical terms, solar cells could be plentiful, free, and environmentally friendly, and it still probably wouldn’t matter because of the intermittency problem.
This is also not including the extra costs of transmission lines which are AFAIK typically much higher cost compared to coal, natural gas, and nuclear.
This is also probably assuming laboratory ideal conditions, and back in reality things like dirt, sand, and high temperatures can significantly negatively affect solar cell performance. And if anyone complains about water usage of coal and nuclear, I’d like to see calculations for water requirements for keeping solar cells clean (I honestly have no idea how those two compare).
This is also ignoring the problem of millisecond frequency control services for the grid. Solar cells and their associated equipment, by default, have no grid inertia. That means a majority solar cell grid would probably collapse because of the lack of grid inertia. Now, you could add grid inertia with other equipment, but that also adds costs that are not accounted for here.