Today's Hot Topic: Climate Change

U.S. Energy Policy: The NYT notes that some of the details from Vice President Dick Cheney's 2001 "super-secret" energy task force have finally been leaked to the press, and argues that what the leak "really does is remind us how and why this administration has squandered six years that should have been devoted to finding innovative answers to the big questions of oil dependency and global warming" ... The LAT writes that although many "respected academics and environmentalists argue that nuclear power must be part of any solution to climate change," the United States should be investing in "cleaner, cheaper, faster alternatives that come with none of the risks." The editors add that the "potential for wind power alone is nearly limitless."

By Rob Anderson |  July 23, 2007; 9:18 AM ET
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LATimes does its readers a disservice.
Six years ago, the Administration should have mounted a new Manhattan Project: 1) commence building Nuclear Reactors on all of the existing Nuclear sites-requiring no new permits; 2) invest billions in an international cooperative research program for disposal of Nuclear waste. Think where we could be today.

Posted by: donovan jacobs | July 23, 2007 11:14 AM

You must vote for the candidate, democrat or republican, that makes this issue their top priority.

Posted by: Blubbalip | July 23, 2007 12:35 PM

I'm glad that the new presidential candidates are making the issues of poverty a larger priority in their platform. Yes, energy is an important economical issue for our country, but poverty has been a longerstanding problem that our country has not addressed properly (or at all truly), which has caused many countries to lose respect for our country. It is not only about self-preservation, it is about helping oneself by helping others. According to the Borgen Project, the poor and impoverished are the largest untapped market in the world. This definitely borders into economical benefit for our country.

Posted by: Erica | July 23, 2007 01:07 PM

Every energy source has its good and bad points. I'm not sure how aware the LA Times was of that when it singled out nuclear. As they note, many respected academics and environmentalists aren't saying no to nuclear. (Many are, of course.)

The paper could write a similar negative report on every power source. Were they aware that wind power is "limitless" but hard to collect in mass quantities, and since electricity is almost impossible to store in any degree, the intermittent nature of wind is a huge drawback? Or that for fossil-fuel plants to continue to be a key provider without adding to CO2 emissions that new, untried CO2 sequestration methods would need to be implemented on a massive scale? And what is the context behind statements like nuclear power is "extremely risky" - how does it compare to the risk of other options (CO2, coal particulate in the air, brownouts during summertime, etc.)?

The first step to choosing the best energy future is understanding the energy present - what the good and bad things actually are. It's not clear at all that this was the case with the LA Times editorial. (Were this done, perhaps nuclear would still lose, but for the right reasons.)

Nuclear power is a very hard subject to understand for the lay person - there is just propaganda on both sides. For an insider's look at nuclear in the form of a thriller novel, see "Rad Decision" at . There is no cost to website readers. Both the good AND the bad of atomic energy are portrayed. "Rad Decision" has also been endorsed by Stewart Brand, the founder of "The Whole Earth Catalog".

Posted by: James Aach | July 23, 2007 01:30 PM

The best energy "solution" is the least talked about which is something called distributed energy resources (DER). Basically, it allows a number of energy sources to provide electricity--let's say you are using solar power to provide electricity and use the grid when the sun isn't shining, when the sun is shining you make too much electricity and if you try to store it in batteries you lose a lot of it--so you sell it to the grid. In the larger picture this would allow innovative people, made inventors etc. to come up with real alternative sources of energy that actually work. We would be able to try thousands of approaches and they would instantly be evaluated based on the amount of energy generate vs. the amount of energy used.

My point is that we ought to be favoring a system that allows for innovation rather than depending on huge investments by governments and corporations in technologies that may or may not be ready for prime-time.

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