Climate change is a crisis looming over us and we need to hurry. We just have a few decades until it’s too late. While most suggest that a switch to renewables like solar and wind energy is to meet the power demand is our best chance, some simply do not think its enough.
According to an essay in The Wall Street Journal by Joshua S. Goldstein, a political scientist,
Even if every nation implemented renewables at the same pace as Germany, a world leader in the space, we’d only hit about one-fifth the global target for clean electricity. At that rate, it’d take 150 years to fully decarbonize the planet, according to Goldstein and Qvist — but numerous climate scientists estimate we only have about three decades before we hit a climate tipping point.
The downside of renewable energy is that they are weather dependent which makes it inconsistent and requires large segments of land.
“What the world needs is a carbon-free source of electricity that can be ramped up to massive scale very quickly and provide power reliably around the clock, regardless of weather conditions — all without expanding the total acreage devoted to electric generation,” wrote Goldstein and Qvist. “Nuclear power meets all of those requirements.”
But nuclear power has a bad reputation due to massive disasters like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and many more. These have prevented the growth and further exploration of nuclear energy.
But the number of people who died as a result of the Chernobyl disaster — which the experts claim was the only fatal nuclear power accident in 60 years — pales in comparison to the number who have died as a result of other, non-nuclear industrial accidents.
Moreover, the amount of waste produced by nuclear energy is also far less than the amount of equally toxic waste produced by coal and other fuels.
“An American’s entire lifetime of electricity use powered by nuclear energy would produce an amount of long-term waste that fits in a soda can,” the pair of experts asserts.
So, is it time to remove the stigma around nuclear energy and unleash its full power to save humanity?