I can’t remember the last time I stood in a room full of people concerned about climate change that was so full of optimism.
That would be the launch party of a new foundation devoted to promoting the advancement of thorium. Why would we want that?
The idea is to create a new generation of nuclear reactors based on the element thorium, as opposed to the uranium used to produce nuclear power today. Thorium, its advocates claim, is beneficial not only because it’s far more abundant and widely distributed in the Earth’s crust than uranium; in addition, liquid-fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs) could theoretically be much smaller, much cheaper and much safer than conventional nuclear reactors. The waste they produce would remain dangerous for a far shorter period and, crucially, couldn’t be used to create nuclear weapons. As a bonus, these fourth-generation nuclear plants could even burn up the dangerous plutonium stored in existing nuclear waste stockpiles, using it as a fuel.
So, with prospects for a global climate treaty all but dead (for the foreseeable future), which has a better chance of succeeding first: a thorium breakthrough or a true scale-up of renewables that can meet our voracious energy needs?
Never mind that East Africa is reeling from drought and famine, if you’re with Greenpeace and you have an anti-GMO tic, this is what you worry about:
Olivia Langhof of Greenpeace Africa, based in Johannesburg, echoes the concerns of other critics in saying that even in the face of a dire need to feed human beings, GM is not an adequate answer. She says in addition to being unnecessary, it doesn’t address the underlying causes of the devastating humanitarian crisis.
‘What completely falls in the gap in the current discussion””because so many people are dying””is how we stop this [kind of drought] from happening again’, Langhof says. “˜No government in Africa should fall into the trap into the agri-busniess industry because that is really selling out their food security and farmers’.
First of all, good luck with stopping drought from happening in a drought-prone region (did she really mean that, or did the reporter misinterpret?). Secondly, is there no end to this madness?
H/T: Mark Lynas
Here’s one reason why, drily put by Matthew Yglesias:
I keep meaning to write something about the Tar Sands Action protests that had been going on by the White House and then I keep forgetting.
That’s pretty much been my excuse, too. The point being, it didn’t live up to the hype.
Yglesias goes on to explain why’s he not wowed by the civil disobedience element of the protest. (Others were more impressed, understandably so.) His headline reads:
Climate Civil Disobedience Has a Long Way to Go
That’s another way of saying, The Climate Movement Has a Long Way to Go.
Sorry, not to take anything away from the passion of the people involved, and I know that over 1200 were arrested during the recent two-week protest, but I honestly expected waves of climate concerned to descend on Washington D.C. (And BTW, where were the Gristies? Climate change is a signature theme for the bloggy green site. I had figured some of them would have shown up to cover it live, or maybe even get arrested.) I also thought that climate change was the issue of the day for today’s college students, so I kinda expected that there would be a small army of them camping out in front of the White House during the protest.
Oh, well. What will be interesting to see going forward is if McKibben and company can build on their modest achievement and turn the climate movement into something that has more bite than bark.