John Bennett of ClimateforChange.ca has acknowledged in a letter to the Ottawa Citizen that nuclear power is emission-free. This is a major departure from the mainstream green position on nuclear, which is to remain silent about the millions of tonnes of emissions it has offset while howling for punitive measures against emitters.
I’m paraphrasing Bennett, of course. Here’s what he actually said in his letter: “the failure of the nuclear plants in Ontario forced the province to use coal plants 24 hours a day instead of a few hours during peak demand.”
This one sentence neatly encapsulates the sheer limpness of anti-nuclear arguments. Everybody knows that during the period to which Bennett refers, 1995 to 2003, Ontario’s nuclear fleet, though mauled by politically motivated layups, still powered more than half the province. With a few more reactors, Ontario could chop power-sector greenhouse gases more than in half. Nuclear’s record in Ontario has been a success, not a failure.
Bennett also claims in his letter that “had the U.S. ratified Kyoto … Ontario could have afforded to switch to natural gas.” Unbelievable. This shows that the true colours of mainstream greens in Ontario are gas-industry blue. Just about every organized mainstream environmentalist in Ontario touts natural gas as the solution to our climate change problems.
Where have the greens been since 2002? The price of natural gas has gone through the roof many times in the past five years. This is precisely why George Bush never ratified Kyoto. He knew that a large-scale shift from coal to gas in the electricity generating sector was the only way America could meet its Kyoto targets, and that this would bankrupt ratepayers across the country. Bush saw through the self-interested gas industry propaganda urging him to sign. But not Canadian greens. They call for caps on emissions while touting gas-fired generation—which would produce not only massive emissions but also long-term markets for the fossil-fuel companies they pretend to hate. Go figure.
It’s a shame, because most of Bennett’s other environmental ideas are pretty solid.