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Looking back at Monbiot's now infamous article in The Guardian:  Japan nuclear crisis should not carry weight in atomic energy debate
Before I go any further, and I'm misinterpreted for the thousandth time, let me spell out once again what my position is. I have not gone nuclear. But, as long as the following four conditions are met, I will no longer oppose atomic energy.

1. Its total emissions - from mine to dump - are taken into account, and demonstrate that it is a genuinely low-carbon option

2. We know exactly how and where the waste is to be buried

3. We know how much this will cost and who will pay

4. There is a legal guarantee that no civil nuclear materials will be diverted for military purposes

To these I'll belatedly add a fifth, which should have been there all along: no plants should be built in fault zones, on tsunami-prone coasts, on eroding seashores or those likely to be inundated before the plant has been decommissioned or any other places which are geologically unsafe. This should have been so obvious that it didn't need spelling out. But we discover, yet again, that the blindingly obvious is no guarantee that a policy won't be adopted.

What is noteworthy in connection with the debate with Helen Caldicott is that Monbiot's "emissions" concers are entirely about CO2. He's assuming that "no radiation is released" if all the other conditions are met.

Giambrone quotes

When directed to the New York Academy of Sciences compendium of 5,000 of these translated studies on Chernobyl, George Monbiot simply dismisses these numerous studies as "cherry picking."

"Well, we have to use the best available science, not cherry-pick our sources..."

He uses this buzzword at least three times, as he also uses the "climate change deniers" smear again and again. This is Monbiot's style of so-called "debate."

So here we have a single-issue global warming advocate (Monbiot) accusing (or so Giambrone implies) a single-issue radiation contamination advocate (Caldicott) of being a climate change denier and coal advocate. I suppose then Monbiot can be accused of being an anthropogenic background radiation exacerbation denier.

Are we having fun yet?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 05:13:27 AM EST
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The problem with Monbiots proposition is the false dilemma: its only nuclear or coal. Plus, he implies that only total solutions are acceptable - so he mentions renewables asif only for politeness.

There are other alternatives, often complimentary. One clear unspoken alternative is to start consuming energy more prudently. It is a little dirty secret that energy supply is peaking now: peak oil is basically acknowledged; nuclear energy would not be growing much even without Fukushima (otherwise they would not be running old horses unduly long); renewables would not compensate enough. And this is in the world accustomed to continuous growth of energy supplies. If the world economy cannot live without that much energy - too bad for the economy. Trying to preserve the energy status quo is becoming a serious gamble for this civilization. If radiation is healthy in some doses, so must be a naked pressure to waste less energy. Otherwise this pressure comes out in awful political ways.

For example, today's political economy stands on the implicit promise of "sustained" some 3.5% economic growth in near future again. That's 100% in 20 years. In other words, we are supposed to buy twice as many TVs and go to a dentist twice as often in 20 years - or compensate with other "consumption" somewhere 4-8 times or more. In the latest growth decade the most consistently growing industry was financial, right? So now we have indebted nations and populations, and a few sort of revolutions around the Mediterranean. What will we have in 20 years?

by das monde on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 06:14:50 AM EST
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A false dilemma? Not to the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, Indonesians, South Africans, Russians, Koreans, hell, even the Americans!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 04:54:11 PM EST
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Migeru:
So here we have a single-issue global warming advocate (Monbiot) accusing (or so Giambrone implies) a single-issue radiation contamination advocate (Caldicott) of being a climate change denier and coal advocate. I suppose then Monbiot can be accused of being an anthropogenic background radiation exacerbation denier.

Are we having fun yet?

And indeed, the knives are out among the greens:

The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott. Dr Caldicott is the world's foremost anti-nuclear campaigner. She has received 21 honorary degrees and scores of awards, and was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Like other greens, I was in awe of her. In the debate she made some striking statements about the dangers of radiation. So I did what anyone faced with questionable scientific claims should do: I asked for the sources. Caldicott's response has profoundly shaken me.
(h/t Colman)

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 06:36:43 AM EST
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New rule of thumb: single issue campaigners are dead wrong.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 06:43:23 AM EST
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But how can you campaign effectively unless it's single-issue?

(a question for the professionals such as Sven)

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 06:44:44 AM EST
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Oh, you probably can't. We're fucked.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 06:51:07 AM EST
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That we are.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 06:52:28 AM EST
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Depends on the audience: what they already know, where they are prepared to go (what are they ready to listen to), what will make them active in some way.

If you step back far enough, any bunch of issues can be made into a single issue. You have to step back far enough for a graspable gestalt to appear. Typical framed gestalty issues would include justice, fairness, equality, survival etc. These gestalts tend to be the content of editorials.

But while 'single issue' is easier to create, the fundamental change in communication over the last 20 years has been the growing awareness that everything is connected to everything else. It is getting harder and harder to do 'single issue'.

I don't know how we will handle this problem. It is cropping up for me quite regularly now.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 07:57:33 AM EST
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Why do political pollsters keep asking people what they think the biggest problem is?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:24:22 AM EST
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so they can look good to the most voters, rather than dealing with the problem in a way that might not be popular?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:30:23 AM EST
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"Solved problems aren't news. Tell the press a story in two halves - the problem first and the solution later. Then they get a disaster story one day and triumph story the next."

- Humphrey, Yes Minister

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:41:16 AM EST
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Sven Triloqvist:

the growing awareness that everything is connected to everything else. It is getting harder and harder to do 'single issue'.

I don't know how we will handle this problem. It is cropping up for me quite regularly now.

there are so many 'single issues' vying for prioritisation, though right now the global reality of 400+ potential fukushimas all depending on us keeping them chilled for millenia in a post fossil fuel, diminishing water reality is focussing a lot of minds, ditto exporting 'democracy *beta' to the oppressed (by 'our guys' bastards).

trying to keep two eyes on many balls in the air at once.

it's like in one's personal life, there's so much to do, each thing important, but none makes sense without the context of the others. if one gets too far ahead of the others, the kilter goes out.

the earth, our relationship to it, whether we use our knowledge to further befriend it, or to use it as a cheap goods depo/waste dump, how can anything trump that? without that we are a million more times more fucked than if the banks fail, or oil runs out and we have to remember how to stretch a bit more without some of the conveniences we have become used to.
the sins of the fathers... we have inherited the work of mad ancestors, as well as the genius.

to preserve the way of life of a privileged few we've hocked the future, gambled ecological balance for quick returns, and now we're up shit creek.

the are so many ways to be useful, so many examples to follow and reset. no need for many more new dots, more the need to connect the ones we have.

the privilege of living on this beautiful planet has a high price of knowledge to make it sustainable, today you may write something insightful, tonight you may dance, tomorrow you're studying your local watershed.

the only danger is the dilution of diffusion, becoming overwhelmed by the plethora of problems till you worry all the time and your spark feels too damped down to fire.

some will run with one issue, some (like most here) take a more polymath approach, so not to go so far out on one branch that they can't see the trunk any more.

humanity is like a diseased tree, still producing fresh, healthy growth, but with a blight eating away at its core.

some branches won't last long, others will. the game as i see it is to choose between them.

thanks to the discourse here, prioritisation becomes easier, if never easy.

managed decline never is, i guess.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:55:30 AM EST
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Optimist!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 6th, 2011 at 12:56:12 AM EST
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doomer!
;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 10th, 2011 at 04:02:43 AM EST
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