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Top climate change scientists’ letter to policy influencers

December 1, 2013

In early November, 2013, climate and energy scientists James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley released an open letter to CNN calling on world leaders to support development of safer nuclear power systems.

My thanks to my fellow wordpress blogger, Michel, and his excellent site Trust, yet verify for tipping me to this letter.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/index.html

“……No energy system is without downsides. We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st century nuclear technology.”

Their request sounds very much like the words I often use to summarize my viewpoint…………..There is no doubt that we in the USA need to alter our energy strategy. The question of how we will change it, however, needs to be determined by scientific evaluation of fact and logical analysis of performance and economics; not by emotion, political considerations, and “feel good” methodologies.

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2 Comments
  1. Nothing is often More! Wrong than the attitude to know better.
    Chernobyl happend, because a expert superviser overruled the concerns of the responsible operator during a stress test, to the point of dismissing him from his function, and of course the known end-result.
    Communism and Religion claim the almighty wisdom leading when given the opportunity to dictatorial roule.
    I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but “emotions” are not just a silly notion of the uneducated masses. Quite often they are a very real indication of the “quality” of something. I recommend “Blink” from Malcom Gladwell.
    Yes! Air travel is safer than all other means of modern communication, but this is not intuitiv to a lot of people. The risks though small are perceived as horrible and gruesome (because they can’t be avoided once they happen). Statistically flying is still safer, but try tell this to any victim of a plane-crash!
    Most plan crashes are a result of human error of cours, but so are most industrial disasters.
    Life is about living! And not about economics.

    • Andreas – Thank you for reading and commenting.

      I agree with most of what you say. I do not discount human emotions, but I am concerned when they become the driving force behind human endeavors (especially big government mandated ones), and are used to override reality and fact to make decisions.

      I have often heard the argument that life is not all about economics, and not everything can be reduced to a cost analysis; but I contend that in a very basic sense this is not true, and that life IS all about cost (risk) vs. benefit analysis. Money just happens to be the most predominant way in which we measure cost & risk in modern society.

      We make a cost (risk) vs. benefit analysis every morning by getting out of bed and going to work. By leaving the house we subject ourselves to risk, but we judge that this risk is generally minimal and that reality dictates our need for the benefit of earned income and social interaction to survive and better out lives outweighs the risk. I know that victims of crimes & traffic accidents (and plane crashes) might have a different perspective and a more difficult time making such a judgment, but this does not change the reality.

      With regard to energy strategy it is the same; everything is a cost vs. benefit analysis. It may be popular to think that “it does not matter what it costs” (I hear this frequently), but this is simply not true. Society has limited resources, and it does matter. If your community invests in wind turbines they are making a cost vs. benefit judgment. If they drive up the cost and reduce the availability of electricity so that people suffer, they have made an un-wise judgment. If your community invests in solar panels they are making a cost vs. benefit judgment. If they do this instead of buying a fire truck, and you are the fire victim awaiting assistance, you might have a different perspective on the wisdom of the judgment.

      I understand the need to protect the future of our environment for my children and grandchildren, but I will not ignore reality and stand-by while our economy is sacrificed on the altar of climate change theology; because this will do no good for my children and grandchildren either. There is a balance that needs to be struck.

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