Reason for Hope

September 17, 2021

Pope Francis: "We have severely harmed the Earth, our common home. Yet we have reasons for hope. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now."


A Warning from 220 Leading Medical Journals

September 06, 2021

Wall Street Journal: "Editors of 220 leading medical, nursing and public-health journals from around the world called for urgent action on climate change, in a joint editorial published on Sunday.

"The editorial, which appeared in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet, warns that current efforts aren’t enough to address health problems resulting from rising global temperatures caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“'Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world,' the journals’ editors say in the editorial. If unchecked, they say, rising temperatures 'risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse.'”


European Nuclear Demonstrations

September 05, 2021

Politico:  "On September 11, a 'Stand Up for Nuclear' demonstration pitching the atom as a decarbonization solution is scheduled to take place in Brussels."

"This summer, regular tiny demonstrations organized by Nuklearia and Mothers for Nuclear Germany-Austria-Switzerland were held at Germany's six remaining reactors, calling for a reversal of the policy to shut them down by the end of next year. The groups cite opinion polls showing declining, albeit still majority, support for the phaseout."

"'We need both nuclear and renewables in order to phase out fossil fuels — our political message and top priority is to save the six remaining reactors in order to avoid emissions of 70 million tons of CO2 each year,' said Rainer Klute, volunteer chairman of Nuklearia who works in IT and data protection by day."


Most Americans Support Nuclear Energy

August 30, 2021

Business Wire: "Well over half of Americans (56 percent) support existing nuclear energy and recognize that it produces around 20 percent of our electricity, according to ecoAmerica’s third annual American Climate Perspectives Survey.  The survey found that 64 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Democrats support nuclear power.  This support has grown, up from 49 percent in 2018 to 56 percent in 2020, driven by a notable rise in Democrat support (up from 37 percent in 2018)."


For the Central Valley, A Race to the Bottom

August 27, 2021

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The Atlantic: "Angell’s surveys of wells across the Madera sub-basin tell him that the underground water table that sustains 348,000 acres of cropland, cattle ground, and suburbia is bleeding out three feet of water from one harvest to the next.  This amounts to 1 million acre-feet of overdraft each dry year. That’s water taken out of the earth and not returned by rain or snowmelt.  That’s mining. All the houses and businesses of Los Angeles, by comparison, consume 580,000 acre-feet of water each year."


Nuclear Power Much Safer Than Fossil Fuels

August 27, 2021

New York Times: "From a public health perspective, nuclear power is also much safer than fossil fuels, Joshua S. Goldstein, Staffan A. Qvist and Steven Pinker argued in The Times in 2019. According to one study published this year, air pollution from fossil fuels killed a staggering 8.7 million people in 2018. By contrast, Goldstein, Qvist and Pinker noted that in 60 years of nuclear power, only three accidents have raised public alarm, and just one — Chernobyl — directly caused any deaths."

"What about nuclear waste, which can remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years? Compared with climate change, it’s a much easier environmental problem to solve, they wrote. More than 90 percent of spent fuel can be recycled, and that which can’t could be entombed in repositories deep underground, as is done in Finland."

 


Who's Building Reactors?

August 25, 2021

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Colorado River Water Shortage

August 16, 2021

New York Times: "With climate change and long-term drought continuing to take a toll on the Colorado River, the federal government on Monday for the first time declared a water shortage at Lake Mead, one of the river’s main reservoirs."

"The declaration triggers cuts in water supply that, for now, mostly will affect Arizona farmers. Beginning next year they will be cut off from much of the water they have relied on for decades. Much smaller reductions are mandated for Nevada and for Mexico across the southern border."

"But larger cuts, affecting far more of the 40 million people in the West who rely on the river for at least part of their water supply, are likely in coming years as a warming climate continues to reduce how much water flows into the Colorado from rain and melting snow."

 


Steps We Can Implement Now

August 13, 2021

Fareed Zakaria: "We need to reduce emissions sharply, and now. Here’s what we could do right away.

First, stop retiring nuclear power plants and start building new ones. Nuclear power is a zero-emissions fuel that is always on.

Second, we need to get coal — the dirtiest fuel — from 20 percent of our electricity supply down to zero. Where possible, we should replace it with wind, solar or biomass. But the easiest, quickest way will often be to use natural gas, which still produces half the carbon emissions. We should also get the developing world to stop building coal-fired plants, many of them Chinese-sponsored, and instead help them build power plants to run on U.S. natural gas.

Third, electric cars have come of age and can replace internal combustion vehicles, and we should speed this transition by building out thousands of charging stations.

Fourth, industry releases about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and is hard to decarbonize. (Very high heat is often needed, and some chemical processes unavoidably release carbon dioxide.) So we should require the use of currently available carbon-capture technologies, including a massive expansion of the oldest one we know of: trees.


California Desalination Plant Scrapped

August 11, 2021

San Luis Obispo Tribune: "Closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant by 2025 effectively kills a plan for Diablo’s desalination plant to supply water to 4,000 homes in south San Luis Obispo County — a project that was widely hailed as a valuable tool for protecting communities during drought and unreliable state water deliveries."

“'The desal project will have to be scrapped,' said San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill, whose district includes Diablo Canyon. 'I think it has got to be taken out of the equation right now.'”