OPINION: The Big Debate: Should nuclear energy be part of a Green New Deal? – by Jatin Nathwani (Yes) and M.V. Ramana/Schyler Edmundson (No) (Toronto Star – June 30, 2020)


YES: “Truth is the daughter of time,” Francis Bacon noted four centuries ago. Perhaps the time has come to acknowledge the near existential threat posed by climate change to our collective well being and recognize the importance of one compelling solution — nuclear energy — in solving this problem.

The primary culprit is well-known: emissions from fossil fuels must be eliminated. The problem has been in the making for over five generations and we do not have the luxury of time to mitigate the risk of destabilizing the climate system that can deliver misery on a very large scale: floods, fires, famines, tsunamis, and extreme weather events that test the boundaries of human habitation.

What is needed, with urgency, is a fundamental reboot of the global energy system. In 1990, the share of global primary energy stood at 85 per cent fossil fuels and all other sources (hydro, nuclear, geothermal, wind, solar, bioenergy) at 15 per cent.

In 2020, after three decades of diplomacy and target setting to reduce carbon emissions, the share of fossil fuels is still at 85 per cent. The challenge, then, is to tackle the most compelling threat staring us in the face — to get to an energy system not dependent on fossil fuels.

Nuclear energy is one answer. It is a safe and proven source of low-carbon energy that currently displaces over 2 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions globally, equivalent to taking 500 million cars (or half of the world’s passenger vehicles) off the road.

For the rest of the big debate: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/thebigdebate/2020/06/30/the-big-debate-should-nuclear-energy-be-part-of-a-green-new-deal.html