Monday, January 29, 2007

Silver lining

Despite the latest dire predictions about climate change, I'm squarely in the shrinking sane camp on the subject of global warming. Interestingly, however, this over-hyped myth may bring about an unintended benefit: the rebirth of nuclear power.

Longing for the limelight that his weapon-inspections days brought, Hans Blix called global warming more dangerous than nuclear weapons. I can't even begin to comment on the farcical irrationality of such a statement, but views like his have contributed to plans for the Tennessee Valley Authority to build the first new nuclear reactor in the U.S. since TMI. Meanwhile, socialist Germany is waking up to the fact that they can't simultaneously abide by the restrictive Kyoto Protocol while shutting down all their nuclear reactors.

Nuclear power is critical because we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. There aren't any other viable sources of energy that can cleanly and economically produce the amount of energy that the West requires now, let alone as those energy demands continue to expand in the future. Reducing this dependence has both immediate and long-range strategic consequences, as backwards (but oil rich) nations like Iran will no longer have the wealth to support both a tyrannical, buffoonish government and terrorist organizations like Hizbollah.

Ironic, but delightfully so, that the same precautionary principle that was responsible for the foolish restrictions on nuclear power in this country, will now lead us back in that direction, out of fear for an even greater imagined threat.

Of course, we're 30 years late, and tens of thousands of people have already died as we fight with the oil-rich nations of the Middle East. But at least we avoided any more disasters like TMI, and its staggering death toll of zero. That is the power of reactionary public policy and overreaching legislators - real people die every day to protect us from imagined dangers.


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