Posted: 04/29/16 21:19, Edited: 04/29/16 21:19
by Dave Mindeman
There is something that I always view as a frustrating conundrum when it comes to renewable energy and climate change.
How can we act fast?
Bernie Sanders criticizes Hillary Clinton on her "incremental approach" to climate change, saying that it is an immediate crisis and needs immediate attention.
Which is true.
But at the same time, he wants a moratorium on nuclear power plants and an end to fracking. Yes, I can agree, that we, in the progressive community, are uncomfortable with those sources.
But climate change may already be past the tipping point. And we are not going to get any immediate relief from wind, solar or batter technologies. We need a bridge to the future right now. And nuclear is the cleanest energy source we have, as well as the most long lasting. In addition, fracking increases production of natural gas, which is a vast improvement over petroleum based fuels.
Yes, I have seen China Syndrome. And I am well aware of Chernobyl and Fukushima. Yes, those have been huge disasters and Fukushima is still an ongoing problem. But so are pipelines and oil spills and imported oil and coal and mining in general.
All of these things are problems in their own right, but do we really have the time to wait for the perfect? I think we all want to embrace Bernie's energy vision....and we can continue to work toward those goals. But we have a finite amount of time to reverse this damage - or more accurately limit the damage already done....and nuclear and natural gas provide a faster path to alternative clean energy.
We should proceed carefully with every safeguard we can muster. And we still have ongoing research about fracking that needs to be funded at a more appropriate level.
But if we need more than incremental change - we have to move on what is available to us right now.