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Reblogged:Why Greens Hate Nuclear

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It's from 2019, but I found a Forbes piece by Michael Shellenberger that deserves wide circulation: Within, Shellenberger nicely explains why so many thought leaders from the fossil fuel elimination movement are hostile to nuclear power -- the one technology that is even close to ready to fill the big shoes of the fossil fuels we need to survive and prosper.

Although he is not as deeply philosophical as Ayn Rand, his piece reminds me of her work in two very important ways: (1) it takes abstract ideas seriously as motivators of human action, and (2) it differentiates between the leaders of a movement and its rank-and-file.

The latter is most important here because a reader who might already favor nuclear power can see that this movement isn't a monolith: There are persuadable individuals who can be reached there. In addition, as a moral and practical matter, Shellenberger is being just: People who oppose nuclear out of, say, mere ignorance, for the most part simply don't deserve the opprobrium the high priests do -- and will be less persuadable if they are on the receiving end of undeserved insults.

The piece takes a brief tour of the intellectual history of the anti-nuclear strand of the anti-fossil fuel movement, pointing along the way to such highlights as (a) the curious failure to praise nuclear France and Sweden which are otherwise held out to us as models, (b) the ignorance (cultivated and exploited by the leaders) of many people of the safety and effectiveness of nuclear power, and (c) the role of the appeal-to-nature fallacy.

This sets the rank-and-file apart and lays the groundwork for the explanation of the motivation of the leadership, who he correctly notes are "motivated by deep beliefs."

While I think Shellenberger could have gone even deeper, I think he is correct in the following assessment:
"Few people know that nuclear is the safest source of electricity." -- Michael Shellenberger (Image by Nicolas Hippert, via Unsplash, license.)
The problem with nuclear is that it doesn't demand the radical re-making of society, like renewables do, and it doesn't require grand fantasies of humankind harmonizing with nature.

Nor does nuclear provide cover for funnelling billions to progressive interest groups in the name of "community-controlled renewable energy, local organic agriculture, or transit systems."

All nuclear does is grow societal wealth, increase wages, and decouple the economy from pollution and environmental destruction.

No wonder they hate it so much. [link omitted]
I recommend reading the whole thing, and not just because it further backs Ayn Rand's contention that, "the collectivists have found -- in ecology -- a new excuse for the creation of more controls, more corruption, more favor-peddling, more harassment of industry by more irresponsible pressure groups." The piece is a source of arguments for -- and an example of the right approach to -- fighting back.

-- CAV

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