Ex-Energy Chief: Nuclear Is Global Warming Answer

Saturday, 02 Oct 2010 04:27 PM


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Former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham says building more nuclear power plants is the most sensible and effective response the United States can make against the threat of climate change – a strategy that makes sense even if global warming is not happening.

“The challenge you have about global warming “is that you’re never going to have enough research to have conclusive answers,” the former Republican senator from Michigan told a New York City gathering sponsored by the Manhattan Institute on Thursday evening.

During Abraham’s tenure as energy secretary under former President George W. Bush, “what we thought made sense was to try to work on new technologies that would reduce emissions – technological solutions – as opposed to trying to impose a dramatic regulatory framework on the entire economy of the country.”

Abraham said that continues to be his preference, adding that “part of that answer is to build more nuclear power plants, which don’t emit carbon. I’m for deploying more renewable energy, but today after all the public subsidies and incentives to build renewable – wind, solar, geo-thermal, bio-mass – the combined contribution to our power generation is still only about 3 percent. So other than nuclear plants there is not a comparable alternative going forward.”

President Barack Obama has made a point of declaring himself in favor of more nuclear energy. In his State of the Union address to Congress in January, he said, “to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.” Two days later, Obama was reported to have proposed tripling federal guarantees for new nuclear reactors to in excess of $45 billion.

But pro-nuclear skeptics claim the White House is conducting a flim-flam game. Writing in the American Thinker shortly after the president’s speech, for example, San Francisco talk radio host Brian Sussman, author of “Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam,” questioned Obama’s nuclear power commitment.

“During the presidential primaries,” Sussman charged, “Obama recklessly spilled the contents of his heart, telling the editorial board of New Hampshire’s Keene Sentinel, ‘I don’t think there is anything we inevitably dislike about nuclear power. We just dislike the fact that it might blow up and irradiate us and kill us! That's the problem.’”

Sussman also noted that Obama’s first budget as president cut off funding for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site in Nevada, in effect wasting $10 billion spent since 1983 readying the site.

Abraham recently co-authored “Lights Out: Ten Myths About (and Real Solutions to) America’s Energy Crisis,” with veteran economics journalist William Tucker. Two years ago, Tucker authored “Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Energy Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America’s Energy Odyssey.”

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