Monday, July 4, 2011

Mark Lynas regrets throwing that pie in Lomborg's face

Writing in today's Mail, Lynas confesses to switching his views on nuclear power:
It has taken me a long time to reach this conclusion. I used to passionately oppose not only nuclear power but GM crops. I once even threw a pie in the face of a Danish scientist who dared to question the orthodox environmental line. So what changed?
Through research, I found that much of what I believed about environmental issues had little, if any, basis in science. Put simply, though my concerns were right, my solutions were wrong.
The rest of the article is absolutely fascinating. "One of the reasons the Green movement is failing to attract support is that it has too much cultural baggage and is too ideologically rigid," he comments. "Any reconsideration of the orthodox position — even for the sake of the environment — is seen as a betrayal."

Sounds like a call for some loyal opposition.


Ricky said...

Wow, it's definitely a U-turn. But I think we can understand his tough situation under the pressure of government and major media. But his comments on wind and solar power are so obvious. It's really questionable whether he changes his point of view based on his own will.

Unknown said...

Look up on wikipedia the effects of radioactive isotopes of Cesium. Can the argument that low early casualties somehow equate to "not that big of a deal" be appropriate in light of both the anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric cost of the spilling of nuclear waste into an area populated by a diverse ecosystem of humans, other animals, and aquatic life: Human displacement, radioactive contamination of drinking water (note that the iodine tablets don't seem to affect what happens with cesium), cropland destruction (which is at a premium in a place like Japan), and airborne levels of radiation.

We didn't know about the long term effects of radiation in the 40's and 50's, but to act like they are inconsequential and that nuclear power is the answer is tantamount to trying to repeal Murphy's law. I am not anti-nuclear, and many others aren't either. But ignoring risk (not to mention not calculating the economic cost of plant failure or leakage resulting in clean up efforts and human displacement) is ridiculous. Any assertion that a technology is without true risk will be proven wrong in time. I will gladly risk local environment to supply local power, capable with many sun-based and fuel-based systems, but most environmentalists want to lower the stakes of producing power, not raise them.

Power companies of all types have proven that in a capitalist system, they don't hold themselves to standards of public health as much as they might. Some pertinent examples include the Upper Big Branch Mine and Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant. Finding ways to supply power from local resources like wood, manure, desert, water flow, or wind has to be better than risking long term human health with the increase of power plants and the constant threat of deferred liability for spills.

My 2c.