How to cool the planet – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – April 19, 2014)

Nuclear power, natural gas and carbon capture technology hold far more promise than near-useless wind and solar energy

The key finding in the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is this: It acknowledges the reality any viable move to a low-carbon dioxide global economy must include nuclear power, replacing coal power with natural gas and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Predictably the IPCC — being in thrall to radical environmentalists who hate all of these ideas — goes on to praise expensive, unreliable and inefficient wind and solar power which, at their current level of development, cannot power modern, industrialized economies like Canada’s.

Nor can they power developing economies like China’s, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, which is building hundreds of coal-fired electricity plants. The key passages of the latest 33-page IPCC report are on page 23 and 24, where it addresses the need for non-emitting and low-emitting conventional energy technologies to reduce rising global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“Nuclear energy is a mature low-GHG emission source of baseload power” the IPCC acknowledges, “but its share of global electricity generation has been declining (since 1993). Nuclear energy could make an increasing contribution to low-carbon energy supply, but a variety of barriers and risks exist.” The IPCC describes these as operational, uranium mining and financial and regulatory risks, nuclear waste disposal, nuclear weapons proliferation and adverse public opinion.

Despite these concerns the reality, as Robert Bryce explains in Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future is this: “If you are anti-carbon dioxide and anti-nuclear, you are pro-blackout.” For Bryce, the fuels of the future are nuclear power and natural gas, until we can develop alternative clean technologies that are ready for prime time, which wind and solar aren’t.

By the numbers

To understand why, look at Ontario, where in 2012 nuclear power provided 56% of all electricity generation, wind 3% and solar so little it isn’t separately measured.

Ontario’s Liberal government likes to boast it replaced coal-fired electricity with wind. Utter nonsense.

In fact, it replaced high-emitting coal power with low-emitting natural gas power — which is also needed to back up unreliable wind power — and with nuclear energy.

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