Some of the world’s top climate scientists have revealed that wind and solar energy will not be enough in the attempts to stay ahead of global warming. Four climate change scientists sent letters to environmental groups and politicians around the world on Sunday, addressing their concerns and strongly advising for a discussion about the role nuclear power can play in fighting climate change.
According to a report from the Guardian newspaper, the letters were composed by former NASA scientist, James Hansen; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Tom Wigley from the University of Adelaide in Australia; and Kerry Emanuel of the MIT. All four scientists have been researching global warming and climate changes for years, and advocating the need for renewable energies and technologies that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases. The letter is one of the strongest public statements made about supporting the development of nuclear power. Environmentalists have traditionally opposed nuclear energy, citing the high cost and risk of catastrophic nuclear disasters.
The scientists’ letter argues that while renewable energies like wind and solar power are viable and valuable to fighting climate change, it is not enough. Solar and wind power will never be able to scale up fast enough to meet the demands of a growing global population.
Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.
Nuclear power is a divisive issue among environmentalists, but experts in the field have suggested that the letter could help better educate the public and show the difficult choices surrounding climate change.