Al Gore does not think the climate change problems are urgent enough to start building more nuclear power or to make any attempt at geoengineering. It is ok to wait for as long as it takes for clean technology and solar and wind to get ramped up. Nuclear energy can clearly help reduce the use of coal energy decades earlier but it is not important to use nuclear to save lives lost to air pollution from coal or to reduce CO2 which is still projected to increase for the next 2 decades at least.
This is my interpretation of Al Gore’s statements in the Guardian UK. It is based on his statements and simple deduction.
Al Gore says climate change could wreck the world by 2100.
However, he does not want to use any geoengineering because we can only put pollution from coal, oil, natural gas and industry into the air. We are not allowed to attempt to put anything else that might counter act those effects.
We must allow the one known to be experiment of 36 billion tons per year of CO2 to be put into the atmosphere to only be turned around by slowly reducing CO2 emissions. No other solution should be attempted.
The problem is not urgent enough for him to support building nuclear power. He only supported nuclear power when he represented Tennessee or in the VP position.
It is a big enough problem for him to make movies and books about it, but not a big enough problem for him to want any other solutions than clean tech and solar and wind power. We are safe to wait for those solutions.
We can spend tens of trillions and decades to build those solutions out. We can only speed up those solutions by giving tens of trillions more to companies that he supports and approves.
Al Gore said on Wednesday it would be “insane, utterly mad and delusional in the extreme” to turn to geo-engineering projects to avoid a climate catastrophe. He fears that geoengineering [putting sulfur into the stratosphere] could lead to an even bigger catastrophe.
He thinks climate change is not a problem that is worth risking reversible or small scale experiments with geoengineering.
Climate Change Problem Gore was also cool on the other quick-fix of nuclear power, advocated by some. Late last year four leading US scientists, including the climatologist James Hansen, wrote an open letter urging environmentalists to rethink their opposition to nuclear power.
Gore’s re-thinking has apparently gone in the other direction. He told the call he had been an enthusiastic supporter of nuclear energy when he was in Congress. He was not opposed to nuclear energy now, he said. But he said the current state of technology in the nuclear energy industry did not yet warrant a big expansion.
“I do believe that it may be possible for scientists and researchers to develop a better and more inherently safer and cheaper form of nuclear reactor, which may yet play a significant role in resolving this crisis,” he told the call. But he added: “It is not available now.”
Climate Change problem not big enough or urgent enough for Al Gore to support nuclear energy build up until 10-15 years of more research for “better” reactors.
Energy Source Mortality Rate (deaths/trillionkWhr) Coal (elect,heat,cook–world avg)100,000 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity) Coal electricity – world avg 60,000 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity) Coal (elect,heat,cook – China) 170,000 Coal electricity- China 90,000 Coal – U.S. 15,000 (44% U.S. electricity) Oil 36,000 (36% of energy, 8% of electricity) Natural Gas 4,000 (20% global electricity) Biofuel/Biomass 24,000 (21% global energy) Solar (rooftop) 440 (0.2% global electricity) Wind 150 (1.6% global electricity) Hydro – global average 1,400 (15% global electricity) Nuclear – global average 90 (17% global electricity w/Chernobyl and Fukashima)
Al Gore also does not care about the air pollution deaths (estimated at 2.1 million per year) enough to want to reduce air pollution using nuclear energy. Al Gore has been studying energy and the environment for a few decades. He knows the numbers about air pollution.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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