Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Spot on Monbiot

If I'm honest,George Monbiot has not always been my favourite environmental writer. Sometimes in the past he has come across as po-faced and impractical in his ideas. But I wholeheartedly support his Guardian article on Tuesday supporting nuclear energy.

He points out the vast damage the anti-nuclear lobby is doing to the environment. How, for example, the knee-jerk panic of the Germans shutting down their nuclear programme will result in an extra 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere between now and 2020 alone.

He is also brave to point out at least two significant examples of totally spurious information being used to bolster the anti-nuclear cause. One is from an individual selling 'anti-radiation' pills whose claims have been exposed as false, yet whose 'findings' are widely used by anti-nuclear protestors. Another is the ludicrous statistics from Chernobyl, again brandished by the campaigners, claiming amongst other things that deaths from cirrhosis of the liver were caused by the nuclear accident. I was a trustee of a charity working in Belarus, and I can assure you that a much more obvious cause is by far the biggest medical threat there, not radiation.

I love the way Monbiot aligns anti-nuclear protestors with supporters of homeopathy and anti-vaccine campaigners. When misused it's exactly the same kind of dangerous woo. Great stuff, George.

He finishes with details of a fantastic sounding reactor that can produce energy safely and in large quantities from nuclear waste. While I can't believe it's quite the no-brainier he suggests, it sounds amazing. My suspicion is that it will be expensive, as otherwise the government would be biting people's hands off to get it. Yet it certainly sounds the way forward.

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