Prominent Canadian environmentalist admits nuclear power is emission-free: green is really blue

John Bennett of 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.

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Randal Leavitt
16 years ago

Well, based on a quick review of the web site I must say that I don’t find Mr. Bennett’s ideas about the environment very solid. The web site is just the same old same old, repeating the tired propaganda of the standard green fanatic. The green fanatics hate the idea of people living in a modern and comfortable manner. They want everyone in North America to suffer for the sin of being scientifically successful. This total hatred of progress is a deep faith position that cannot be changed with logic or reasoned discussion. And for these people the end justifies the means, so they feel free to repeat untruths about their enemies, as is clearly evident in Mr. Bennett’s remarks about nuclear power. Mr. Bennett appears to me to be just another cult follower. Anyone willing to really look at the numbers will immediately see that nuclear power in Canada is a sophisticated and effective basis for improving out lot in the world. I think the time has come for people who want their grand children to live well to start taking fanatics like Mr. Bennett to task, forcing them to be truthful in their public statements. It is important. The only thing that can prevent a very dark future is a large scale public acceptance of responsibility for the integrity of science. The price of scientific progress is the work required to educate ourselves and then review the output of others to prevent errors.

Steve Aplin
16 years ago

Thanks Randal. I was referring to Bennett’s support for electric cars like the Zenn. That’s what I meant when I said “most of Bennett’s other environmental ideas are pretty solid.” A taxi fleet made up of Zenns would be perfect for downtown Ottawa or Toronto or any other city.

I agree with your point about the greens’ hostility to industrial progress. They seem to equate it with environmental destruction. They get all whipped up when they see Christmas lights, or feel AC-cooled air pouring out of open tavern windows in the summer. To me, if the tavern owner paid for his power then as long as it’s legal he can do whatever the hell he wants with it. And if the system is strained in the summer, then the long term solution is to add more generating capacity, not draw the line and say “no more power for you.”