Brad Shamla, the vice president of U.S. operations for Enbridge, which transports natural gas and tar sand crude from one of the largest polluters in North America, asserted in his March 27 op-ed in the News Tribune that, “The world needs energy in all forms.” He was right about that (In Response: “Line 3 needed during transition to renewables”).
However, wind and solar should be limited to remote areas where access to the grid is not financially practical.
Unfortunately, most of Shamla’s commentary seemed designed to increase Enbridge’s profits by talking nice about the environment. However, to view Enbridge’s disgraceful record of spills and violations is easily found online.
Shamla claimed that, ”Enbridge takes emissions reduction seriously.” If this were true, why isn’t Enbridge investing in carbon dioxide-free, 90%-efficient, resource-sipping, lightly subsidized, long-lived (60 years) nuclear power — by far the safest way to generate electricity?
Instead, Enbridge, BP, Exxon, Shell, and others promote wind and solar, with Enbridge investing “$8 billion in renewables to date,” as Shamla wrote, which doesn’t protect the environment but enhances Enbridge’s profits.
Carbon-reliant, 33%-efficient, resource-gobbling, heavily subsidized, short-lived (20 years), difficult-to-recycle windmills primarily rely on carbon-burning power plants to generate the 67% of the rated power they fail to provide. And those “green” windmills are killing 1 million birds and 1 million bats per year in the U.S. alone. How “green” is that?
Solar is worse. Carbon-reliant, 20%-reliant, resource-gobbling, heavily subsidized, short-lived (20 years.), difficult-to-recycle (hazardous waste) solar farms shove all wildlife aside and require the destruction of carbon dioxide-consuming, oxygen-producing brush and forest. Furthermore, solar’s dark blue panels can get 30 to 40 degrees hotter than their surroundings, which increases global warming.
If Enbridge and friends are concerned about global warming, why do they promote solar panels with low efficiencies that degrade .5% to 1% per year — panels manufactured with nitrogen trifluoride, which is 8,000 times worse than carbon dioxide? I suspect it’s because carbon sellers profit from renewables’ inefficiencies, and because they know that the alternative — 90% efficient, carbon-free nuclear power — will kill their profits. (In Australia, the carbon industry is more honest, even running ads that warn, “Nuclear power will kill the coal industry.”)
Yes, climate change is real, but promoting inefficient, environment-damaging renewables for profit (of course) displaces the energy source that should be the basis of a truly “green new deal:” highly efficient nuclear power plants with modern reactors that cannot melt down and can even consume 90% of our spent fuel that science-deficient greens and carbon companies wrongly call “waste.”
The carbon companies like to talk green, but if you do the science, you’ll see that the green they treasure isn’t chlorophyll.
Few nations share our addiction to renewables and our foolish resistance to expanding nuclear power. South Korea, Sweden, India, and Russia are expanding nuclear power, with South Korea and Russia even exporting reactors. Now add China, which, in addition to its 27 current nuclear plants, has 29 ultra-modern plants under construction with plans to build 57 more. And in 2019, GE, France, and India signed contracts to build a massive, 6-reactor, 9.9-gigawatt nuclear power plant in India.
Climate change is the direct result of our adding 2.1 trillion tons of Industrial-Age carbon dioxide to our atmosphere. But instead of expanding carbon dioxide-free nuclear power, we are adding 30 billion tons per year by burning coal, oil, and natural gas, with much of it burned to back up inefficient renewables. (Leakage from our natural gas distribution system is canceling the gains we’ve made by cutting back on coal.)
One third of that 2.1 trillion tons has been absorbed by our oceans, making them more acidic. As the remaining 1.4 trillion tons are absorbed, the oceans that provide 20% of our protein and 50% of our oxygen will become increasingly damaged and hostile to life.
We must downgrade intermittent, carbon-reliant wind and solar and replace the carbon burners at every power plant with modern reactors because, as we electrify our transportation industries, we will need the real green energy that only safe, 24/7 nuclear power can provide.
George Erickson of Eveleth is a former vice president of the American Humanist Association and is a member of the National Center for Science Education. He can be reached at email@example.com or 218-744-2003. A pdf of his book, “Unintended Consequences: The Lie That Killed Millions and Accelerated Climate Change,” can be downloaded free at tundracub.com.