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Re: [cdn-nucl-l] RE: [Rad_Sci_Health] Climate Change and Nuclear Energy: A View from MIT's Kerry Emanuel
I can relate to what you say, and I share your
confusion. Please take a look at Figure 2 ("Sources of
Greenhouse Gases," halfway into the document), in the heavily
referenced paper at
(this is a link that Brian Reily sent to Radsafe the other day).
The point of that pie chart seems to be that the total
human contribution to atmospheric greenhouse effect is a mere 0.28%, with
less than half of that due to CO2. I wonder if I'm interpreting it
correctly, because if so, and if the underlying data are reasonably
correct, it's a mystery to me how anyone could think for a moment that
anything we humans could do by way of CO2 mitigation would have a
meaningful effect on the global temperature. (That probably means
either that the figure is wrong or I'm misinterpreting it or that
I'm missing some other crucial considerations.)
I would love to be able to use global warming as an
honest argument for expanding nuclear power (along with all the other
compelling reasons), but, taken at face value, that figure alone would
seem to cast doubt on the practical relevance of the whole CO2
controversy. Since climatology is not my field, I'll be grateful to
anyone who can enlighten me as to whether that pie chart is correct, and,
if it is, whether there is a valid technical reason to think that
diddling around at the tenth-of-a-percent level could make a significant
Reactor Physicist, Retired
Argonne National Laboratory
At 12:25 AM 3/21/2007, Randal Leavitt wrote:
Ruth Sponsler wrote:
The communication problem stems
from the extreme
positions taken on the two sides and the implications
of those extremes.
I notice very little room nor patience for positions
in the middle of the extremes.
If I may, I'd like to point out that I find this discussion
I hold the opinion that climate change is happening rapidly, that it is
caused by humans, and that I don't have enough hard data to convince
someone else about this. Therefore, I find it very helpful to hear
positions stated about climate change not being caused by humans.
It gives me something to push against and helps me to understand the
whole area better. I value reading such comments on this
There are many dimensions in this discussion. The anti and pro
technology is one way of organizing it. However, I tend to see it
differently. I am often caught up by the ethical problems
associated with energy. I think humans treat animals badly, and the
use of nuclear power will reduce this bad behaviour. This argument
appeals to me in a large way. I have not met anyone else who agrees
with me in seeing this as the main reason for liking nuclear power.
Oh well, I still think I am right, and I value hearing from others who
think I am wrong.
I may even change my mind in some of these areas based on hearing counter
arguments, and that will make me better as a human seeking the
truth. So I don't seek out discussions where conformity is valued
above data and logic and new information.
I have also developed a cynical streak that makes me dislike things that
everyone else likes. If everyone is for it, I am against it.
This feeling is causing me problems with the human caused climate change
issue. Even if we accept that humans are causing climate change,
how can we be so sure about what we have to do to mitigate it? Will
reducing our carbon dioxide emissions really make things better? I
propose that creating white clouds will be more effective, and will allow
developing nations a better chance to modernize. In fact, I worry
that reducing carbon dioxide may be taken too far if it does work at all,
and cause deep freezing. How do we know? The global dimming
paradox seems all too possible to me.
And even though I am a proponent of nuclear power, I really don't like
today's version of it. The new plants that we are about to
construct in Ontario are so much less than they could be. I want to
have fast reactors, air cooled, underground, and in the middle of
cities. So I am opposed to what we are doing today, and even what
we are going to do tomorrow, while wanting this technology to be the base
for our future.
What dimension does this leave me on?
Randal Leavitt - another Ubuntu user
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