NASA scientist James Hansen -- a pioneer in the science behind global warming -- advocates a three pronged approach to global warming : 1.conservation 2.turning to renewables 3.building third and fourth generation nuclear plants. Since 4th generation nuclear won't be commerically viable before 2030, I'll exclude them from this Broadside but examine the rest.
If you were hoping for a candidate who would preach about conserving to save the earth, I'm afraid I'm not your man. I do everything I can to cut down on my driving. The high cost of gasoline forces that on all of us anyway. But I have no intention of giving up my midsize SUV freedom machine. What's more, I absolutely refuse to be cold in the winter. That puts me in an impossible position to lecture those millions of persons in the emerging economies who are doing their best to achieve American levels of prosperity (and the higher energy consumption that accompanies that prosperity.) So on item number 2.
The renewable technologies are solar, wind, biomass, hydro, and conventional geothermal. At the demonstration stage are wave and tidal power as well as a type of geothermal energy called "Hot Dry Rock." In March 2010 a Duke University research group headed by Duke's former chancellor issued a bombshell of a report. Its conclusion : by using technology available today, wind and solar power, combined with generation from hydroelectric and other renewable sources such as landfill gas, can produce 94% of North Carolina's electricity needs. Only six percent would have to be purchased from outside the system or produced at conventional plants. Ding, Ding, DIng! Dr. Hansen's second proposal is a winner! I believe our utilities must move out of their "comfort zones," away from "pollutables," and toward generation by renewables.
That leaves Dr. Hansen's proposed third generation nuclear plants. This third generation (probably none in service before 2020) is not a whole lot different from the first two generations in that they will create nuclear wastes. These wastes remain radioactive and must be stored away from the environment for thousand of years. Since politics has stood in the way of the planned opening of a storage facility in Nevada (the people of Nevada don't want it), these toxic wastes pile up at nuclear facilities throughout the United States. Licensing and opening plants without a waste disposal system in place makes as much sense as licensing a restaurant that cannot access a sewage system. It makes no sense at all and the practice will be discontinued if I am elected.