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‘Eco-modernist’ Germans pitch Nukes over reliance on Russia

As Renewables Falter, Environmentalists Stand Up For Nuclear

By Michael Shellenberger | Forbes | September 9, 2020

Environmentalists have long promoted renewable energy sources as better for nature.

But a new study suggests that the expansion of mining for the materials to make solar panels and wind turbines may pose a greater threat than climate change to endangered species.

“Most mining areas (82%) target materials needed for renewable energy production,” note the authors in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications. And, they add, “these new threats to biodiversity may surpass those averted by climate change mitigation.”

The study comes at a moment when the expansion of solar and wind energy is increasing local oppositionraising electricity prices, and contributing to electricity shortages.

Recent electricity outages in California forced the state’s governor to acknowledge the dangers posed by attempting to rely on unreliable sources of renewable energy.

“We cannot sacrifice reliability,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said on August 17. “We have to sober up to the reality that… we’re going to have to do more, and be much more mindful, in terms of our capacity to provide backup and insurance.”

The problem with relying on solar panels is that the sun sets during peak demand, which is between 5 pm and 10 pm, requiring a massive ramping up of natural gas power plants. And the same lack of wind behind the heatwaves has also meant a lack of electricity from industrial wind turbines.

Meanwhile, environmental resistance is blocking and slowing the expansion of industrial wind and solar energy projects.

In Britain, Greenpeace has opposed a massive new solar farm, “arguing that ‘vast continuous fields of panels on agricultural land” are not “the best way to go solar.’” New York environmentalists, meanwhile, “say large-scale solar installations will spoil beautiful farmland,” reported Financial Times.

As renewables have faltered, pro-nuclear environmentalists have become increasingly vocal, even in Germany, the world’s most anti-nuclear nation.

Europeans Protest Greenpeace

Last Saturday pro-nuclear activists organized by the German pro-nuclear organization Nuklearia dropped a banner in front of Greenpeace’s Germany headquarters. It read, “Climate Crisis? Nuclear energy!”

Pro-nuclear activists similarly protested in front of Greenpeace’s Paris headquarters in late June, denouncing the NGO’s role in replacing nuclear plants with fossil fuels.

“Several dozen protesters — wearing face masks — carried banners in front of the Greenpeace headquarters in Paris, with slogans such as ‘Less nuclear means more coal,’” reported Reuters.

“In the following weeks, there will be similar rallies,” reported the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) last week, “where the five other German nuclear power plants that are still running but whose operating licenses will soon expire.”

Over the next six weeks, there will be over forty pro-nuclear demonstrations around the world organized by the Nuclear Pride Coalition. (My nonprofit organization, Environmental Progress, is a member of the coalition, but did not organize the demonstrations in Germany, France, or other nations.)

The chairman of Nuklearia is Rainer Klute, a computer scientist and eco-modernist. That’s someone who, according to FAZ, ”wants to save the world by relying on modern technology, not on using jute bags.” FAZ noted that Klute is finding allies “among those who oppose wind turbines out of concern for noise and the landscape.”

It wasn’t the first pro-nuclear demonstration in Germany. In December 2019, 120 people from Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic rallied near the Philippsburg nuclear power plant, forty-five minutes from the French border, which the German government had forced to close prematurely.

While Klute emphasizes the need for nuclear to combat climate change, Peters stresses the need for nuclear energy to avoid over-dependence on imported natural gas from Russia. … Full article

September 11, 2020 - Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | ,

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