McClaughry: Nuclear energy and carbon taxes, but not renewable energy

By John McClaughry

Thirty-five years ago the scientist who set the alarm bells ringing about global warming was Dr. James Hansen, then director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies.

His testimony in 1988 launched Al Gore on his climate crusade, and Hansen, now retired, has continued as the preeminent guru of the threat of catastrophic climate change. He got himself arrested a few years back in the UK for picketing a coal burning power plant.

James Hansen wants a steep tax on carbon fuels to drive them out of the marketplace, but surprisingly, he is not a fan of renewable energy. Here’s what he said in 2011:

Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

Hansen does embrace a practical solution: nuclear. President Joe Biden and his Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm have blossomed out as supporters of nuclear electricity, and are putting serious money into Generation IV reactor development. But almost all of today’s climate activists ritually deplore nuclear, while advocating never-ending subsidies for wind and solar. That’s why many rational people think they are pawns of the renewable-industrial complex, or simply nuts.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

13 thoughts on “McClaughry: Nuclear energy and carbon taxes, but not renewable energy

  1. Until people stop using such false terms such as “renewable energy” it’s hard to listen to any of this.

    No form of energy is renewable, energy can be transferred or transformed (though every transformation loses some of the original) but it can not be renewed once expended its gone. The energy from the sun, hydropower, and the wind do not return or renew. The energy from the sun hits the solar panels is turned to electricity and put in the grid even as it travels through the power lines it is losing unrecoverable energy, then it is expended in motors, heaters computers etc… gone and never coming back. It is the same with hydro, wind, coal, gas, oil, and nuclear power. Every bit of energy coming from the sun is released once to be used or lost.

    Technically wind and hydro are merely transformations of solar energy, solar radiation heats the atmosphere and drives the wind by pressurizing the atmosphere once the wind blows it is gone you either capture the energy or it is lost. Hydro is the sun warming the oceans and lakes evaporating the moisture to the sky where it is released to fall to the ground the released rains captured at higher elevations can be channeled to pass through water turbines where some of it is transferred into electricity which suffers the same fate as the solar energy captures and transformed.

    This may seem like a pointless rant but I find it hard to take people serious who can’t even wrap their bean around what energy is and how it works. When people can stop misusing words and ideas maybe then we could have intelligent conversations about energy. Like why it takes 4 times as much capacity for solar, wind, and hydro than other sources, or the magnitudes of energy releasable vs volumes of fuel required. Like what the difference between radiation and contamination is in nuclear power and what the actual hazards are for any type of power.

  2. Let’s ignore the elephant in the room, that Free Energy exists now, and forever has.
    We COULD be using THAT – but no profit in THAT.
    Anything else is pure smoke and mirrors for profiteers.
    No amount of greenwashing can remove the FACT that free energy has been suppressed, oppressed, gaslighted. Think Nichola Tesla.
    Not only that, but the culture just before this one, USED free energy.
    Then Marduk’s minions got hold of the banks, and waa-la: energy for profit.
    KNOW that this conversation is an EXERCISE in futility and play money because:
    FREE ENERGY EXISTS…just a few hundred feet above our heads, in the earth, and in water.
    But lets go with the struggle, strife, lack, scarcity model.

  3. VT Yankee was shown the door because the lefties could not control the operation (The Feds had final say and in fact had approved another 20 years worth of generating at the time the loonies closed it). and the money from the place went out of state. These same reasons are why Hydro Quebec is getting a nose thumbing from the loonies in VT. They have never liked Hydro because of the above….. control and money.
    So are heat pumps the solution??? Not as long as Efficiency VT is involved. We have one unit that is inoperable, and even w/ E V help(Yeah, right) no one will work on it. The biggest mistake we ever made was the heat pump boondoggle. Our goal is to get it up and running and then donate it to E V as a museum piece.

    • There was another darker, more sinister reason for closing VT Yankee. It was in the way of the RE Industries’ plans to sell large scale solar and wind projects. Yankee Vernon could supply a third of VT’s power needs. Two more equivalent nuclear plants could supply the whole state. But, with the help of grass root organization, propaganda, and lobbied politicians, Yankee Vernon was put to sleep, along with the possibility of two more facilities, low electrical rates, and electric independence. What a bunch of dumba$$e$.

  4. You can’t have only nuclear. You need pumped storage to make nuclear plant run efficiently, and you need gas turbine plants to pick up the load quickly when a nuke trips. Nuks are bask load only plants.

    • Not so.

      A part of the French nuclear plants were DESIGNED to be load following thirty years ago.

      France is making a major push for modular nuclear plant.
      5 modules at a site would provide 500 to 800 MW.

      France also has run of river, and storage hydro plants

    • Have you noticed the GWSA and it’s supportive politicos have not mentioned captive pumped water power systems in the past six years? Hmmm. Is it because it doesn’t fit into the RE Industry’s plans? Massachusetts has two units near VT’s border, Bear Swamp, and Northfield Mountain. VT has an old system on Rte 9 East just before Harriman Reservoir. Those are actually open systems because they pull water from rivers to fill their reservoirs.

  5. Umm, I’ll go with nuclear energy as soon as we come up with the 250,000-year plan for safe disposal of the waste.

    • Progress is being made on hydrogen fusion. No waste disposal problem. Globally, there’s an estimated six hundred year supply of fossil fuels. Forget the six hundred – say two hundred. We’ve gone from wooden wheeled horse drawn transportation to mars rovers, burning wood for heat and cooking to efficient gas turbine generators and electric heat/air conditioning in less time than that. Subsidize the research on nuclear generation.

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