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Profile Information

Name: Hunter
Gender: Male
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 37,647

About Me

I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.

Journal Archives

I used to be an anti-nuclear activist, and a radical one at that.

When I first started posting on DU I was a little less radical, but still on the anti-nuclear side of the fence.

I thought renewable energy could save the world.

Alas that experiment has been done and the numbers are in. It's clear that aggressive renewable energy schemes in places like California, Denmark, and Germany have failed. They're not economically viable without substantial fossil fuel inputs, especially natural gas. No amount of hand waving about batteries, hydrogen, pumped hydro, or any other energy storage scheme changes that. It has to do with thermodynamics. Human laws and creative accounting can't change that.

California, for example, already has many gigawatts of solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage schemes. You can subtract fossil fuels out of California's energy mix and model any sort of renewable energy utopia you like. None of them look good, none of them scaled up can support eight billion people.

If we don't quit fossil fuels now billions of humans are going to suffer and die because of global warming.

It's not much better if we switch to fully "renewable" energy sources. Billions of people would suffer and die, mostly for lack of food, clean water, and adequate shelter.

We've worked ourselves into a corner. Eight billion humans are dependent on high density energy sources for food, shelter... our very survival. Most of that energy now comes from fossil fuels.

The only energy resource capable of displacing fossil fuels entirely, which we must do, is nuclear power.

Claiming that renewable energy will save the world is just another flavor of climate change denial.

Many of the arguments I hear from renewable energy enthusiasts remind me of the arguments I hear from Creationists. These arguments somehow make sense to the creationist, but they make no sense to anyone living outside their bubble.

If humans descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

For many of the anti-nuclear activists I used to work with, some of them I'm still in occasional contact with, their activism was essentially a religious belief. Atomic bombs and atomic power were the apple in the garden of Eden that Satan was tempting mankind with.

It might not be coincidence that I first met Helen Caldicott when I was an impressionable (and slightly psychotic teen) in the community room of a Lutheran church. That's how I fell in with an anti-nuclear crowd. They could use a university library researcher and dumpster diver. I loved university libraries and dumpsters.

Like any otherwise sane human I abhor nuclear weapons. I remember as a kid the cold war nuclear drills, diving under our desks when the alarm went off with our butts facing the windows, ready to kiss our asses good-bye. I'm glad my children only knew the fire and earthquake drills. The earthquake drills were similar to the cold war drills, but you got to leave the classroom when the shaking stopped. When I was teaching we had a big earthquake, and we spent most of the rest of the day out on the playground until the buildings had been inspected for serious damage. That wouldn't have been the case if the USSR had dropped a bomb on us. My students and my children didn't worry about "The Bomb" as I had as a kid. There is some sanity in the world, all these years since Fat Man.

As I've said, I've changed my mind about nuclear power. In a world where toxic wastes of every kind imaginable, most with a half life of fucking FOREVER, I'm not going to worry about a little plutonium unaccounted for amidst the horrific death toll of a tsunami. I'm absolutely certain worse shit was spilled in the tsunami, carcinogens and mutagens of all sorts, but it was the kind of familiar shit we ignore in our daily lives.
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