Monday, July 24th, 2006
The co-founder of Greenpeace gets behind nuclear energy -
The 600-plus coal-fired plants emit nearly 2 billion tons of CO2 annually — the equivalent of the exhaust from about 300 million automobiles. In addition, the Clean Air Council reports that coal plants are responsible for 64 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, 26 percent of nitrous oxides and 33 percent of mercury emissions. These pollutants are eroding the health of our environment, producing acid rain, smog, respiratory illness and mercury contamination.
Meanwhile, the 103 nuclear plants operating in the United States effectively avoid the release of 700 million tons of CO2 emissions annually — the equivalent of the exhaust from more than 100 million automobiles. Imagine if the ratio of coal to nuclear were reversed so that only 20 percent of our electricity was generated from coal and 60 percent from nuclear. This would go a long way toward cleaning the air and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Every responsible environmentalist should support a move in that direction.
Personally I’m all for nuclear power. There was a big paranoid stink back in the 70s that basically killed the development of new nuclear power plants. Maybe it’s time we revisit the idea now that global warming is reaching center stage and the paranoia over nuclear power plants has subsided. People had less faith in science back then, hopefully this has changed.