Germany’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have gone up over the past few years, in spite of its full support of the Kyoto Treaty and participation in the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). It demands that America, the world’s largest consumer of fossil fuels and largest emitter of GHGs, join Kyoto.
And yet Germany opposes nuclear power. Nuclear, as I have argued in this blog, is by far the best way to provide utility scale emission-free electricity.
America, on the other hand, supports civilian nuclear power. Moreover, it has proposed a roadmap for recycling nuclear fuel (the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, or GNEP). If successful, the GNEP would extend the usefulness of nuclear fuel while strengthening global efforts against weapons proliferation.
Kyoto’s aims are admirable. However, its adherents have allowed it to degenerate into a politically correct pissing match, where lip service has become more important than actual emission reductions. Germany’s pious anti-nuclear position is a perfect example of this.
Insisting that the entire western world move in lock-step on climate change, while opposing the most promising emission-reduction technology, is simply unrealistic. Bush, for all his faults, is at least demonstrating sound leadership in resisting inane conformity. Canada doesn’t need to outright refuse Kyoto as Bush has done. But we should borrow some of his measures to expand civilian nuclear power (see article).
Nuclear weapons proliferation and climate change are the two biggest dangers facing humanity. Kyoto addresses only one. The GNEP addresses both.