It’s good to see a lot of discussion on social media by ordinary citizens about the imperative to create real solutions for climate crisis mitigation and adaptation. However, it’s critical that folks make fully informed demands to our elected officials on this most urgent of situations lest we ignorantly head down a path that will just be a woeful waste of precious resources and time.
One example is the mistaken idea that natural gas is a better, ‘clean’ option. It is not: “The effect of the gas on climate change is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide, pound per pound”. All fossil fuels are destructive: Gas is not clean - not even "relatively". All support for perpetuation of any kind of fossil fuel production and use – whether coal, oil or gas - is suicidal. 100% clean renewables is the only way to go, to have a chance to save humanity.
And don't fall into the trap thinking Nuclear is a safe option either. Fukushima is testimony to that - (and Chernobyl prior to that - ref the ongoing increase in radiation-related disease in parts of northern Europe in particular who are still being affected by Chernobyl's fallout, but the mainstream industrial media complex doesn't cover it); there are multiple other nuclear power plants that are built the same as Fukushima and on, or in close proximity to, coastal areas predicted to be affected by climate crises sea level rise - so expect them to 'fail' at some point spewing more radiation into our environment.
Meanwhile any nuclear power plants 'safely' inland are still connected to the main power grid. And in a country like the US who's admitted for years that their infrastructure is in dire need of serious upgrade and open to multiple risks, it's easy to imagine that one or several climate crisis-driven severe weather events could take down the power grid causing any number of those power plants to fail. Then we're told that Earth is overdue to experience a “Carrington level” solar flare event which wreak havoc with all things electronic (again: which regulate nuclear power plant operations).
Basically, there are any number of reasons why we need to start DECOMMISSIONING nuclear power plants: the process itself costs billions of dollars per plant, each taking decades to complete to ‘acceptable’ levels – which is itself a misnomer, because short of jettisoning the waste off planet Earth (i.e. exporting our pollution to outer space which is, sadly, already full of space junk), there’s really no guaranteed ‘safe’ management of nuclear waste. No, we should re-commit to Aotearoa’s anti-nuclear policy and definitely NOT create more nuclear power plants.
THINK CRITICALLY, TAKE A DEEPER LOOK
The good news is that we live in times where more data than ever is available to help us reach informed opinions. At the same time, so much information can be overwhelming. Yet everyone is still responsible for doing your own research, navigating ‘the noise’ and triangulating your data to the best of your ability to reach an informed opinion. And, through it all, one must hold an open mind and be prepared to change your mind with new compelling data – especially with regard to complex situations like climate crisis which demand more rigorous, intellectually honest, critical thinking. We must commit to solutions that are Life-nurturing and compliant with the laws of nature and human rights, not fake solutions that are Life-destroying and violating the laws of nature and human rights.
[Post-script: Following the release on 8 October 2018 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's most disturbing report yet, Wellington-based journalist Peter Griffin advocates another false option: "We'll probably need more radical schemes to geo-engineer the climate by pumping aerosol particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight back to out to space.[...] At least if we finally take geo-engineering seriously, we can regulate it properly to eliminate the worst side effects." For more on the dangers of geo-engineering, particularly solar radiation management, see my blog post here.
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