Politico is running a package of energy related articles in their current print edition and also on its Web site. While the articles as a group are a bit lumpy – there are chats with Barbra Streisand and Carole King, two singers whose, um, records we respect – there are also a fair number of policymakers weighing in.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has a run at nuclear energy:
Listen carefully in Washington, and almost everyone agrees that nuclear energy must be a part of our future domestic energy mix, and for good reason: Nuclear energy is the world’s largest source of carbon-free energy, generating over 70 percent of our emission-free electricity here in the U.S.
Mmm, honey. More please:
Not only will nuclear energy give a boost to our economy, it will also produce new jobs. Mark Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, has stated: “We will work closely with the nuclear energy industry to help pursue the adoption of a diverse American energy portfolio that places a high priority on the re-emergence of nuclear power.”
But, despite significant efforts on the part of NRC staff, this process hasn’t unfolded as smoothly as it could. In fact, there appear to be no actual dates when any of the new plant licenses will be issued. The commission must take responsibility for managing the licensing process and set detailed schedules, which are critical to ensuring that the process is safety-focused and efficient.
Regulatory reform, maybe more resources for the NRC, also good.
In fact, Inhofe lays out most of the arguments for a full revival of the nuclear industry that we might make. It almost gets into oversell territory – the suggestion that building a zillion new plants over 20 or 25 years will bring about an energy panacea. It’s not that Inhofe or Sen. Lamar Alexander really think nuclear is the only energy source worth considering, but that it needs the solid push represented by some of their recent statements.We admit we prefer Sen. John McCain’s all-of-the-above energy formulation, as it seems more reflective of the world as it is and could plausibly become. Regardless, Inhofe hits the bell soundly for nuclear energy.
Now, one other point: Sen. Inhofe is likely the Senate’s most vociferous opponent of global warming research – or rather the conclusions thereof. One of the pages on his Web site is entitled: U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: “More Than 700 (Previously 650) International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims.”
The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.
This new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's office of the GOP Ranking Member [that would be Sen. Inhofe] is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition challenging significant aspects of the claims of the UN IPCC and Al Gore.
Skeptical scientists are gaining recognition despite what many say is a bias against them in parts of the scientific community and are facing significant funding disadvantages.
You get the idea. We have no reason to doubt Sen. Inhofe’s sincerity in pursuing this line of inquiry nor can we dogmatically insist he is wrong. We can say warming skepticism currently seems a rearguard action. The importance of global warming as an issue for the public has fallen off in favor of economic worries, but for many it seems a settled, or settled enough, topic.
So the energy bill has pushed forward with global warming as a “settled enough topic,” and Inhofe has realistically put forward an idea that answers to industry, to a weak job market and to climate change skeptics and adherents. That may be squaring the circle a bit forcefully, but it does get the job done.
“Point of order!” Sen. James Inhofe.