Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Old Playbook

"Don't let them scare you about global warming. Shutting down Vermont Yankee won't make any difference to global warming."

Deborah Katz of Citizens Awareness Network said this in Putney on Saturday night. She was speaking to a group of dedicated anti-nuclear activist and a few members of the public (me and Howard). The talk was open to the public.

A question arises: who are "they" who are going to "scare you" about global warming? In general, people who are concerned with global warming are liberals, and people who are not as concerned are conservatives. So are the liberals are going to scare you about global warming and ask you to keep nuclear plants open?

Liberals are not supporting nuclear in Vermont, where all the Democratic candidates for governor have spontaneously and unanimously come out in favor of shutting the plant down. On the other hand, Vermont Tiger points out points out that unions have endorsed Vermont Yankee. Unions are usually a Democratic constituency. Meanwhile, the current governor of Vermont, Douglas, is a Republican. Douglas is strongly in favor of relicensing.

The common ground between Douglas and the unions is jobs and job creation.

So where does this leave us? Who are They who are trying to scare you about climate change? For that matter, who are you who should resist being scared? And are jobs a liberal issue, a conservative issue, or everyone's issue?

This leaves us with the fact that the anti-Yankee forces are using a very old playbook. Their playbook comes from the days before anyone was worried about global warming. Their playbook comes from when days when people felt quite comfortable with the idea that middle-class jobs were available and secure. That was then, and this is now.

Recently, there have been two terrific posts about the use of the Old Playbook. I intend to post about this also, but right now, I have to go to an Anti-Vermont Yankee walkers meeting, this one in my own town of Hartford, Vermont. Oddly, I am not going there to argue, but as a part of the town Energy Committee. The group is meeting about Vermont Yankee AND about energy conservation. I hope to report back to the Committee about how the conservation part of the meeting turns out.

In the meantime, I urge you to read both posts:
Rod Adams posting about the Shoreham bag of tricks, including heating oil companies providing financial support for anti-nuclear activism.
Steve Aplin posting with a Canadian perspective, including Copenhagen.

1 comment:

dave said...

This liberal will "scare" you about global warming and the necessity to keep every nuclear plant that's open today open as long as possible, and to construct a whole lot more of them, too, starting 20 years ago.

In a carbon-constrained world - we are quite limited as to the energy options that we have. We cannot continue to use carbon generating energy sources on the scale that we do now. Thus, we have to use alternative, non-carbon forms of energy. The ones with cachet - solar PV and wind - don't work more than 30% of the time - and that's being highly optimistic. Not good enough - since electrical energy can't be stored effectively in city-size quantities but must be used instantaneously.

The ones without cachet, well, they're the ones that work. Geothermal, biomass, along with the classical alternatives: hydroelectric, and yes, last but not least, the titan of alternative energy - nuclear power.

Vermont Yankee is one of those titans. Carbon free power, enough to nearly power an entire state by itself. To shut it down would be madness, as there is no carbon free alternative that works well enough to substitute for it. Hydroelectric doesn't have any places for dams, biomass would require throwing every tree in Vermont into a boiler, and geothermal would require maybe an impossible borehole into the Earth's mantle as Vermont isn't in a tectonically active area. To shut down Vermont Yankee, would thus result in substituting fossil fuels in its place.

You could even say - "If you're against Vermont Yankee, you're for gas, OIL, or COAL."