Nukes siphon funds from solar and wind –Jill Stein

It’s refreshing to see cogent criticism with a minimum of personal attacks. While I think President Obama’s climate speech was indeed the best by any president ever, that bar is low, and there is substantial room for improvement.

PR from Green Shadow Cabinet yesterday, RELEASE: Obama’s climate proposals fall dangerously short, ignore time-critical opportunity to revive the economy,

Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2012 presidential nominees noted, “You can’t give your child an ‘all of the above diet’ with toxic lead and arsenic, and think that adding some spinach and blueberries is going to make it OK. Likewise, reducing carbon pollution from coal does not make fracking, tar sands oil, deep water and Arctic drilling OK. The climate is spiraling into runaway warming. Obama’s promotion of cheap dirty fossil fuels makes coal regulations just window dressing on a disastrous policy.”

In addition to its broad concerns on fossil fuel use, the Cabinet strongly opposes the Obama administration’s continued push to revitalize the expensive, dangerous, nuclear power industry. The massive subsidies required by the nuclear industry siphon away funds needed to expand renewable energy. Nuclear power still has lethal, unsolvable, long term waste-storage problems. In addition, the White House’s proposed plants could not be built in time to have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

Indeed, Google already got almost as much wind and solar power, on time, and on budget, as both new nukes at Plant Vogtle are supposed to produce, and spend less than the Vogtle cost overruns so far. By the time the Vogle schedule slips again beyond the current 19 months late, Google and many others will have built far more solar and wind power than those nukes would ever produce.

I do think the Green Shadow critique missed that Obama set a standard for the Keystone XL pipeline that will be very difficult to meet:

Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. (Applause.) The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant.

Yes, I know opinions vary about that passage. It would have been interesting to hear the Green Shadow version of it.

And they missed the opportunity provided by Obama’s

“Invest. Divest.”

OK, let’s divest from nuclear vendors! Yes, that’s a little tricky in that the companies actually building the new nukes, such as Southern Company aren’t actually nuke vendors; they’re electric utilities with fingers in many pies. But some of their vendors and contractors are much more specific to nukes.

About China:

[Steve] Breyman added that, “International leadership, a major theme of the President’s speech, is only possible when national policy is at the leading edge. Unfortunately, Obama has yet to match the carbon reduction policies we see in other countries, including China, the world’s other global warming superpower.

While it’s true China is back in the lead as the world’s largest investor in solar and wind, so far China is still only talking about a carbon tax. Which is more than the U.S. is doing. We shall see.

Meanwhile, nuke-building companies like Southern Company and Georgia Power will either find a way to get on with rooftop solar and wind offshore, or they’re going to be left in the dust as the electric utility paradigm shifts out from under them.