First problem is that our energy discussion is biased. What I noticed was that for certain forms of energy, namely solar and wind, all I ever heard were positives. With others, especially nuclear, all I ever heard were negatives. But when I researched the different production processes, for example, I found that it’s actually far more dangerous to mine for the raw materials in wind turbines — rare earth metals — than for coal. That doesn’t mean that coal is better than wind, but it does mean that we’re not looking at negatives of one and we are looking (only) at negatives of another. If we’re doing that, we are not going to make the right decisions.
The second problem is that our energy discussion is sloppy. Let’s take the issue of CO2 levels. There’s a concern that because CO2 is a warming agent of sorts, when we increase the level of CO2 in the atmosphere we might expect it to have a warming impact. What I found was that when people were talking about CO2 levels, they talked about it very sloppily, saying things like, “Do you believe that climate change is real?”
That question is too vague. I believe that CO2 has some impact, but not a significant impact and definitely not a catastrophic impact. That does not make me a climate change denier?
The third thing, which I think is the most important, is that our discussion of energy is anti-human. It doesn’t truly value human life. Take the climate issue — you have people say, “Oh, I care about CO2 because it’s harmful to human life,” and yet often oppose the two best forms of energy that don’t emit CO2, nuclear power and hydropower. If we rank energy technologies from most safe to least safe, which is the safest technology ever invented? Nuclear power by a long shot.
What’s going on is that the standard that we’re using in our energy discussion is not human life. It’s “being green.” North Korea is a much greener country than South Korea when you look at it in terms of human impact. Where would you prefer to live?