What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power

What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power

What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power

What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power


What Will Workmakes a rigorous and compelling case that energy efficiencies and renewable energy-and not nuclear fission or "clean coal"-are the most effective, cheapest, and equitable solutions to the pressing problem of climate change.

Kristin Shrader-Frechette, a respected environmental ethicist and scientist, makes a damning case that the only reason that debate about climate change continues is because fossil-fuel interests pay non-experts to confuse the public. She then builds a comprehensive case against the argument made by many that nuclear fission is a viable solution to the problem, arguing that data on the viability of nuclear power has been misrepresented by the nuclear industry and its supporters. In particular she says that they present deeply flawed cases that nuclear produces low greenhouse gas emissions, that it is financially responsible, that it is safe, and that its risks do not fall mainly on the poor and vulnerable. She argues convincingly that these are all completely false assumptions.
Shrader-Frechette then shows that energy efficiency and renewable solutions meet all these requirements - in particular affordability, safety, and equitability. In the end, the cheapest, lowest-carbon, most-sustainable energy solutions also happen to be the most ethical.

This urgent book on the most pressing issue of our time will be of interest to anyone involved in environmental and energy policy.

"An extraordinary achievement by a philosopher-scientist and public intellectual. The book is unmatched in its synthesis of the empirical data, theory and ethics that infuse the climate-change debates. Its overpowering but transparent argument should be mandatory reading for every elected official. Shrader-Frechette takes practical logic and scientific transparency to new heights. The best book written in the last decade on climate change." - Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University

"Shrader-Frechette's book is outstanding. She makes a thorough review of the scientific evidence on nuclear health risks, and also explains the political and economic forces affecting public policy. Very readable for scientists, policy makers, and the public." - Joseph J. Mangano, Radiation and Public Health Project, New York

"Fascinating and important! Shrader-Frechette presents the scientific, economic, and ethical evidence for the failure of nuclear power -- it is neither carbon-free nor a viable solution to the energy crisis and global warming. While explaining the nuances of the scientific, economic and ethical arguments, the author teaches the reader why solar and wind energy, along with energy efficiency changes, will yield a safe, healthy, reliable and economically efficient energy future for the planet." - Colleen F. Moore, University of Wisconsin, author of Children and Pollution: Why Scientists Disagree


On January 14, 2010, the board members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, including 19 Nobel Prize winners, voted to move the minute hand of their famous “Doomsday Clock” to 6 minutes before midnight. They say the clock indicates how close society is to midnight, to the 2 catastrophes that could destroy civilization – climate change or nuclear war. In 2007, Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, likewise warned that climate-change impacts could be equal to those of nuclear war. Yet increasing the use of atomic energy for electricity, as a way to address climate change, means increasing the risks of weapons proliferation, therefore the threats of nuclear war. Can society avoid both climate change and nuclear war? Or does society face a dilemma, either to expand atomic fission technology, or to endure global climate change?

A Tale of Two Threats:
Commercial Nuclear Fission and Climate Change

This apparent dilemma has caused some people to re-think their opposition to atomic energy. During one week in 2009, 3 leading environmentalists claimed nuclear power is needed to help address climate change, in part because they claim reactors release few greenhouse gases. Stephen Tindale, a former Greenpeace director; Chris Smith, the chair of the UK Environment Agency; and Chris Goodall, a Green Party activist, all changed their positions to support fission. Physician James Lovelock, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, former Friends of the Earth board-member Hugh Montefiore, Whole Earth Catalogue founder Stewart Brand, and others say expanded nuclear power is necessary to avoid climate change.

Physicist Amory Lovins and most environmentalists disagree. He claims that no major “green” groups have accepted atomic energy, that only industry “front groups” and a few self-proclaimed, individual “environmentalists” accept nuclear fission.

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