GOOD NEWS MONDAY: NUCLEAR SUMMIT â€“ DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
Almost unnoticed in the Main Stream Media, James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York City, who has been sounding the alarm about global warming since 1988, has signed a letter to President Obama urging a nuclear summit.
The letter was signed by 46 prominent scientists and engineers. It also had the endorsement of eleven Senators, both Republicans and Democrats. The letter urged the President to call a Nuclear Energy Summit to iron out several key issues in moving the country forward in the Nuclear Renaissance. The letter was originated by Rod Adams, blogger on Atomic Insights, also a signatory.
Most of the signers were prominent nuclear scientists and engineers such as Ted Rockwell and Eric Loewen, president-elect of the American Nuclear Society, plus several vocal skeptics of global warming such as S. Fred Singer. The letter from the Senators, delivered in March, was signed by Senators such as Democrat Tom Carper and Republican Lamar Alexander who had already declared their support of nuclear.
The presence of Hansen on the list, however, is a further indication that some of the most vocal advocates of global warming are more comfortably reconciling themselves to the idea that nuclear power must be part of the solution. Prior to this, expressing concern about global warming was almost automatically coupled with a declaration that “renewable energy” is the remedy.
Hansen first achieved prominence when he testified before Congress in 1988 that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would soon be warming the earth’s temperatures. He has been particularly critical of coal, calling for a complete shutdown of coal plants and calling the unit trains that transport thousands of tons of coal each day “death trains.”
In 2005, Hansen claimed on “60 Minutes” that he was being censored by the Bush Administration for his climate views. In 2008 he said that oil company executives should be prosecuted for “high crimes against humanity and nature.” In 2009, he was arrested in a demonstration against mountaintop mining in West Virginia.
Still, although he has expressed private support for “next generation” nuclear plants, this is the first time Hansen has gone on record urging the government to further explore the case for nuclear power.
Said Rod Adams on whether supporting nuclear power now means embracing global warming and vice versa: “Believe it or not, the topic of why we need to work to develop this incredible power source did not even come up in the discussions. I believe that is because all of us believe that the reasons are self-evident. They include the ability of nuclear fission to produce vast quantities of reliable, emission free energy.”