Throwing the nuclear baby out with the fossil-fuel bathwater

6 02 2018

Lynas TwitterA really important paper was just published in Science Advances by Elizabeth Anderson & colleagues.

The team’s paper, Fragmentation of Andes-to-Amazon connectivity by hydropower dams, pretty much highlights what many pragmatic environmentalists have been stressing for years — so-called ‘renewable’ technology rolled out at massive scales (to the exclusion of other technologies like nuclear power) can really endanger biodiversity.

As environmental campaigner, Mark Lynas, rightly points out, renewables, with sufficient base-load back-up by technologies like nuclear, are so far ahead of other combinations (particular, regionally specific mix ratios notwithstanding) in terms of what they can potentially achieve for biodiversity, that our society’s blind push for 100% renewable (instead of 0% carbon), is doing far more environmental harm than good.

It is a case of throwing the nuclear baby out with the fossil-fuel bathwater.

Hydropower dams are massively destructive, and not just because they threatened freshwater biota directly; they also carve up pristine forests with roads, villages, and supply routes. As we know from previous work, excessive road building can spell biodiversity doom for places like the Amazon.

So, I want to reiterate just how important the nuclear piece of the sustainable power puzzle is. We need smart solutions that take all technologies seriously, and not just hand-pick what we believe (without evidence) to be the most sustainable for our own future as well as that of our fellow species.

CJA Bradshaw



3 responses

22 02 2018
Offshore Energy & Marine Spatial Planning |

[…] store (anyone who has already edited a book will know what I mean). Being an active researcher in energy and biodiversity (perhaps not so much on the ‘planning’ side per se) certainly helped in my […]

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9 02 2018
We need next-gen nuclear power | The Waterthrush Blog

[…] via Throwing the nuclear baby out with the fossil-fuel bathwater — […]

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6 02 2018
David Jay

Not to mention the devastating impact of hydro on local, especially tribal, communities. Recently read a good article by David Roberts (found on George Monbiot’s twitter) on the uncomfortable logical consequences of prioritising CO2 reduction – – which is quite thought provoking.

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