44.6 F
Seattle
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Impure Thoughts: Nukes Versus Climate Change?

The invaluable (and Seattle-based) national reporter on environmental issues, David Roberts, displays the advantage of disaggregating an issue that bedevils our political debates. Here in Vox, he takes apart the discussion on nuclear energy. He also points to the way Jay Inslee’s nuanced climate proposals (analyzed in this earlier Post Alley post by Eileen Quigley), live on in the positions of other candidates (particularly Elizabeth Warren) who remain in the presidential sweepstakes (discussed in Carol J Williams’ Post Alley piece here).

Roberts says there are three different questions to be answered. First, should existing nuclear plants in America be given extended lives? (Yes, he says.) Second, should we build more conventional nuclear plants? (No: not economically viable or politically possible.) Third, what about next-generation, lower-waste plants, such as the small nukes Bill Gates is backing? (Unclear if these will get approved or built, but yes, spend a lot on this research.)

The discussion has become “tribal,” a way of signalling virtue. (Example A: Bernie Sanders has a pure no-nukes stance, as does Elizabeth warren.) After all, the anti-nukes movement was present at the birth of environmentalism and remains a core dogma. Rather than purity tests, Roberts argues, better to have complex answers to the separated problems.

Makes one wonder how this analytical approach could be applied to other knotty, potentially tribal issues such as homelessness and affordable housing.

Image by Catalania Catalino from Pixabay

David Brewster
David Brewster, a founding member of Post Alley, has a long career in publishing, having founded Seattle Weekly, Sasquatch Books, and Crosscut.com. His civic ventures have been Town Hall Seattle and FolioSeattle.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m against relying on nuclear energy in any way unless we can foist off any waste into space. Didn’t know Bill Gates was promoting small nukes. David Roberts should stick to writing about the Holy Land as did his predecessor.
    Disaggregating is one hard word for me, though I love to take things apart so will use it as often as I can interject it into my daily conversations.
    Keep dry. CS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

LATEST

King County, E-book-Lending Capital Of The World

King County Library System is the third-busiest e-book lender in the country (after the Los Angeles Public Library and the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium) and fourth-largest in the world (Toronto is No.1 with more than 6 million checkouts). But the Seattle region tops all libraries in digital checkouts when you add in Seattle Public Libraries, which posted more than 3 million digital checkouts in 2019.

Has Downtown Seattle Become a War Zone?

Add to the crime problem the coming years of "The Seattle Squeeze," caused by massive construction activity, and you have a Downtown Seattle under political strain.

Don’t Get Shot! Will Gray Wolves Be Dropped From The Endangered Species List?

If wolves lose all federal protection, as is now threatened, they still have the state. But Washington state policy looks uncertain.

Urban Asset: What To Do With Underused Churches

Purchasing a church is not easy, as the congregation is normally split between the sell-and-move faction and the nostalgic-stay-put group. It took the congregation of the Christian Science Church about 10 years to make a decision -- the kind of debate and delay that often chases off developers. But what lovely assets these old sanctuaries are!

Are We Going To Save Orcas Or Not? Another Blow to Chinook Salmon

"Fishery managers and NOAA could resolve this by moving Southeast Alaska’s Chinook fishery in or near the Alaskan rivers where their Chinook were born, allowing Chinook from down the coast to migrate back to their home rivers along the coast, and giving Southern Resident killer whales a chance to feed.”

TRENDING

Has Downtown Seattle Become a War Zone?

Add to the crime problem the coming years of "The Seattle Squeeze," caused by massive construction activity, and you have a Downtown Seattle under political strain.

Urban Asset: What To Do With Underused Churches

Purchasing a church is not easy, as the congregation is normally split between the sell-and-move faction and the nostalgic-stay-put group. It took the congregation of the Christian Science Church about 10 years to make a decision -- the kind of debate and delay that often chases off developers. But what lovely assets these old sanctuaries are!

King County, E-book-Lending Capital Of The World

King County Library System is the third-busiest e-book lender in the country (after the Los Angeles Public Library and the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium) and fourth-largest in the world (Toronto is No.1 with more than 6 million checkouts). But the Seattle region tops all libraries in digital checkouts when you add in Seattle Public Libraries, which posted more than 3 million digital checkouts in 2019.

Review: “Evgenyi Onegin” – Pain! Passion! Poetry! (hold the irony . . .)

I suddenly realized how lucky we are to have it at all. If the poet who created the story and the composer who set it to music 40 years later had ever actually met, they would probably have disliked each other enough to make collaboration impossible.

Humor: Tips on Buying Off Shakedown Artists on the Phone

It was Seattle City light threatening to turn off my electricity unless I paid them $857 immediately. I told them to collect a $1,000 Amazon gift card.