Preaching the gospel of evidence, experiment and reason since 2003.
I'm shocked that a person as intelligent and educated as you are accepted this pablum at face value. Renewable energy is part of the solution (though no single renewable technology will solve the problem.)Aside from hydro and biomass referenced in the link, there are also, solar (PV & Thermal), geothermal, wind, wave, and ocean thermal sources to consider.There is something on the order of 28,000 exajoules of energy in the earth's crust alone according to an MIT study on geothermal released this spring.Nuclear power has some benefits, but until the question of waste handling is answered, it's a danger on the whole to society.Please take some time to educate yourself on renewable energy.
Just because I point to an article in my blog doesn't mean I accept everything that article says at face value. In particular, Ausubel's conclusion runs afoul of Ron's First Law: All extreme positions are wrong. Of course renewables can be part of the solution. But they are not the whole solution, at least not if you consider environmental degradation to be part of the problem.
Our global energy demand will not decrease. Renewables can only be part of the solution. There simply isn't enough arable land to convert solar to sugars or oils and then into fuel. Our existing "spent" nuclear fuel can be re-used 100x, and nuclear reactors can be used to make more fuel (albeit Plutonium) than they consume. There is enough U238 in the earth's crust that can be converted into Pu238 and Pu240 that would last us for a VERY long time (hundreds of years on the current consumption curve).I'm heartened to hear more and more of my fellow environmentalists coming around on nuclear.
I wrote a (longish) post about this in Don Quixote and the Battle Against Global Warming. We are facing this genuine environmental problem, and then these environmentalists want to "solve" it by reducing overall power consumption. Improving efficiency sounds like a good idea, but consumption overall can't be reduced. No matter how clean your power generation, 2 billion Indians and Chinese coming online in the next 50 years will not decrease overall consumption. Nuclear is a technology that has not yet been fully developed. It has lots more potential than we're using. The only major problem it has is public prejudice. Absent that, the sustainability, safety and security problems can all be solved.
Those of you interested in nuclear might find my novel "Rad Decision" to be an entertaining look at the real world of nuclear (in which I work). It's far removed from Mr. Ausubel's university office. RadDecision.blogspot.com
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