Greenhouse Gas Alarmists Should Support Nuclear Power

I’ve made the argument before that people who view greenhouse gas emissions as a threat to humanity should support nuclear power, a proven source of energy that can be deployed now, and that emits no greenhouse gasses. Thus, I have been puzzled that those climate change alarmists seem to be so opposed to the use of nuclear power.

This article indicates that views on nuclear power from the climate-alarmist left have been shifting rapidly to support nuclear power. That makes sense to me, and to the article’s author, who says, “If you believe that human existence is at risk from fossil fuels, you would have to be insane to continue to shun or sabotage the demonstrably practical nuclear alternative.”

Why has the climate alarmist left been so opposed to nuclear power in the past? The article offers a good explanation. “They hated it for the same reason that the current green anti-human movement hates nuclear power: It threatens to solve a problem they need to have.” That makes sense. If we are successful at curbing the emissions of greenhouse gasses, it becomes more difficult to oppose the capitalist system that produces them.

What might be happening here is that the climate alarmists have so propagandized people with their message that popular opinion is shifting toward practical alternatives. If greenhouse gas emissions really are a threat, let’s use technology already on-hand and proven to reduce those emissions. It’s an argument that pushes the left a bit toward the political center.

Randall G. Holcombe is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, the DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University, and author of the Independent Institute book Liberty in Peril: Democracy and Power in American History.
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