Sunday, November 07, 2004

Environmental Extremism: The French Are Correct

Arrghh! The French???

First let's narrow the subject a bit... I want to address the issue of environmental extremism and the impact on our economy and the environment.

On October 23, I wrote about fear and how it prevents us from making rational decisions. I pointed out that the fear of another Chernobyl disaster is used to convince people that nuclear power is not a viable alternative to generate electricity. And I also pointed out that the very same environmental "protectors" find excuses to avoid having large-scale wind turbines installed near them (too unsightly?).

The French now supply nearly 80% of their electricity needs from nuclear power. Omighad! Those dumb French... don't they know that they will destroy Europe with radiation poisoning or fallout from the meltdown? Well, actually, they don't know that at all. In fact, they know the exact opposite... that modern technology and design makes nuclear power virtually the safest source of energy.

For those who think that nuclear power plants are inherently dangerous, I would like to point out that the U.S. or France has never used Chernobyl-based designs. Modern nuclear plant designs are inherently safe.

Well, what about the waste? The environmentalists want us to believe that burial of wastes in hundreds... thousands... of feet of rock leaves us in danger. Sorry, that's simply not true (147 page pdf file from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Risk Insights Baseline Report - April, 2004). Now there are those who say that the Yucca Mountain nuclear burial site cannot guarantee, absolutely, 100%, that no radiation will escape into the biosphere. That's correct. There are no absolute guarantees of anything. The question is: does the very minimal risk of a minimal amount of radiation in the atmosphere sometime in the next 10,000 years outweigh the risks of continuing to burn fossil fuels at an increasing rate over the next century?

Besides, future alternatives (my speculation) may well include disposal by rocket directly to the sun where it will be incinerated... absorbed, if you will by the large nuclear furnace of the sun.


  1. Nuclear power is safe, reliable and readily available
  2. Nuclear power can free us from dependency on oil or other polluting sources of energy
  3. Nuclear power is a viable technology for growth, whereas wind and solar power are too conditional... the right weather conditions are needed for them to be effective... and they require a storage medium... batteries... to make sure that the power does not constantly spike and then fade.
But the biggest reason for nuclear power is that it would enable alternative fuel technologies... such as hydrogen powered vehicles... to make sense. If you read the link on my November 4 posting regarding Environmental Extremism, you understand that hydrogen is a storage medium for energy, not an energy source. Nuclear energy... fossil-free energy... makes perfect sense and is perfectly capable of allowing us to create fossil-free fuel.

Nuclear energy provides a clean, reliable source of electricity needed to convert chemically combined hydrogen... such as di-hydrogen monoxide... water... into hydrogen gas which could be our fuel of the future.

So, organizations like Greenpeace are doing a significant disservice to our environment by opposing the expansion of nuclear energy and, ultimately, the replacement of fossil fuels by clean, environmental-friendly sources of power. Their basic argument is that while there isn't any official information about nuclear contamination, it is everywhere and there are massive cover-ups by government and industry so that we don't learn that we are being poisoned and getting cancer... nonsense... from these nuclear facilities... fear, fear, fear.

Oh, one other minor benefit. Nuclear power could utimately break the economic dependency of the U.S. on OPEC... not a bad side-effect.

The stupid, effete French are correct... and we should follow their lead.

Can"t Find It?

Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

Blog Archive

Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map

CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

My photo
Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)