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Is Renewable Energy Wrecking the Environment?

Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University seems to think so:
Writ­ing in a schol­arly jour­nal, Jes­se Au­subel, di­rec­tor of the un­ivers­ity’s Pro­gram for the Hu­man En­vi­ron­ment, has now is­sued a scath­ing re­as­sess­ment of the “re­new­able” en­er­gy sources that are sup­posed to save hu­man­ity from pol­lu­tion and glob­al warm­ing.

The cli­mate change is be­lieved to be caused by emis­sions of heat-trapping gas­es from use of tra­di­tional en­er­gy sources.

Meet­ing glob­al en­er­gy de­mands through so-called re­new­able sources—build­ing enough wind farms, dam­ming enough riv­ers, and grow­ing enough bi­o­mass—will wreck the en­vi­ron­ment, Au­su­bel ar­gues. Bi­o­mass con­sists of plants and an­i­mal wastes used as fu­el.

The so­lu­tion? “If we want to min­i­mize new struc­tures and the rape of na­ture, nu­clear en­er­gy is the best op­tion,” Au­su­bel said.
I can hear the howls already.

This story has been impacting all over the Web in a big way all day long. There's a hot discussion over at reddit, and the piece has been picked up by both Instapundit and FuturePundit.

Here are some sources that demonstrate what Ausubel is talking about:

Land Needed by Wind or Solar Energy to Match Annual Nuclear Energy Production InfoGraphic (2006)
U.S. Capacity Factors by Fuel Type (2006)
U.S. Nuclear Industry Capacity Factors (1971 - 2006)
Cumulative Capacity Additions at U.S. Nuclear Facilities (1977 - 2011)
U.S. Nuclear Expected Power Uprates

One of the canards that anti-nuclear advocates like to trot out is to ask just how many nuclear reactors we would have to build in order to generate all of America's electricity. This study is their comeuppance.


Anonymous said…
Who paid for the research in this journal article?
Ian said…

Has anyone "liberated" a PDF yet?
Luke said…
It doesn't matter one bit who supported the research, or what industry ties or whatever they may or may not have.

Scientific research either stands up to peer review, or it doesn't.
Johan Simu said…
a pdf can be found at Jesse H. Ausubel homepage where he lists his publications
Ian said…
thanks simu, I visited one of his publication pages on his personal site, but it had not been updated since 2004.

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