Want to ‘save the earth’? Focus on fracking, nuclear power

Editors at the Washington Examiner explain why one idea associated with the Green New Deal is particularly ill-informed.

[I]n the process of making all U.S. electrical generation carbon-neutral, the Green New Deal not only ruled out the creation of new nuclear generation capacity, but also called for dismantling the nuclear capacity that exists.

Science has established the consumption of fossil fuels is affecting global temperatures. And there is only one form of electricity generation that is both feasible on a large scale and completely carbon free. That is nuclear power, which accounts for the largest share of carbon-free power generation in the U.S. No one could possibly dismantle 20% of U.S. generation capacity — and 60% of carbon-free generation capacity — and still hold forth any hope whatsoever of decarbonizing domestic power generation in the long run.

We strongly oppose the efforts by President Trump and various business lobbies to subsidize nuclear power, and also coal, on the pretext that the market does not already reward its grid reliability. However, if the top priority is to save the planet and reduce carbon emissions, then Trump’s plan, at least with respect to nuclear, is the best possible thing he or anyone else could do.

Nuclear technology is advancing quickly. If global warming is the big problem, then there would be no excuse for the U.S. not to adopt it on a grand scale. …

… In the meantime, cheap, natural gas, made available by fracking, has already made the U.S. the world leader in carbon emissions reduction. By allowing gas to displace coal as the leading fuel for domestic power generation, fracking has already done more to reduce emissions than the combined activity of all the environmental activists in human history.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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