As the nation continues to see the fires rage on the west coast and hurricanes storm through the Gulf, the political campaign trail is warming up to more aggressive climate change proposals. On Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called President Trump a “climate arsonist” connecting the blazes to climate issues whereas the president linked them to poor management of the west’s forests. It’s being widely assumed that if Mr. Biden wins the presidency the nation will see, by far, the most comprehensive plan to address climate change the nation has ever seen.
This momentum is a reflection of the younger voting demographic, environmental activism and irrefutable science. While the economy and the pandemic are first and foremost in the voters’ minds, climate change according to the polls, registers deeply with a large part of the electorate. Being ravaged by fire and flooded by hurricanes will do that.
The science behind much of what is transpiring is also, bit by bit, eliminating the objections. There are differences in the scientists’ opinions as to what needs to happen to address climate change but there are fewer scientists who continue to believe the problem doesn’t exist.
That momentum — driven by science — is having a profound affect on what used to be an issue held hostage by politics and money. The debate is no longer an issue of if, it’s an issue of when and how.
Mr. Biden has signed on to the $2 trillion spending plan being pushed by the party’s left but, interestingly, he’s also made it clear that all options need to be held open, that climate change won’t be solved through solar and wind power alone. He has insisted that existing nuclear power agreements be maintained and that future consideration be given to adding additional nuclear power plants.
That makes complete sense. If the scale of the climate crisis is as dire as the world’s scientists contend, then we have few options as viable as zero-emission nuclear power plants. What’s also encouraging is that a world-wide race has broken out in a push to construct small nuclear reactors, which are not only efficient but demonstrably safer and less expensive to build than traditional nuclear power plants.
Currently, 20 percent of the nation’s energy comes from nuclear power plants. The worry is that we will begin to see repeats of the rolling power black-outs they’ve seen in California, instances when there was not enough base load power to overcome solar and wind power deficiencies. It’s also the scientific community that says it’s unlikely we will see a renewables-only energy system in the foreseeable future.
If the energy storage issue is not on the immediate horizon, and if the renewables-only energy system is not realistic any time soon, and if the climate change warnings are anywhere close to being accurate, then what other choice is there to meet our energy needs and to have them be carbon-free?
Critics point to the high cost of nuclear power plants [even the small ones], but costly compared to what? The west coast aflame? Coastal states underwater? If we can spend more than two trillion dollars to battle the short term effects of Covid-19, we can’t spend that much and more to save the planet?
Mr. Biden is correct that the president hasn’t a clue about climate change, but any long term resolution to the issue will require a more open mind than what the left of his party is considering. Mr. Biden seems to know that.
by Emerson Lynn