Showing posts with label News and Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News and Media. Show all posts

Monday, March 28, 2011

WattHead's Jesse Jenkins on NPR: Nuclear as Usual

WattHead.org Founder and Chief Editor and Breakthrough Institute Director of Climate and Energy Policy Jesse Jenkins was on NPR's Weekend Edition this past Sunday discussing Japan's nuclear crisis and what it means for the future of nuclear power.

The interview touched on many of the issues that were the subject of a recent Atlantic Monthly article co-authored by Jenkins and Breakthrough Institute co-founders Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger.

Here is an excerpt of that article:

[L]ost in the hyperbolic claims of nuclear opponents, the defensive reactions of the nuclear industry, and the carefully calibrated repositioning of politicians and policymakers is the reality that Fukushima is unlikely to much change the basic political economy of nuclear power. Wealthy, developed economies, with relatively flat energy growth and mature energy infrastructure haven't built a lot of nuclear in decades and were unlikely to build much more anytime soon, even before the Fukushima accident. The nuclear renaissance, such as it is, has been occurring in the developing world, where fast growing, modernizing economies need as much new energy generation as possible and where China and India alone have constructed dozens of new plants, with many more on the drawing board.
Absent Fukushima, developed world economies were not going to build much new nuclear power anytime soon. The deliberations in Germany have involved whether to retire old plants or extend their lifetimes, not whether to build new plants. The decade long effort to restart the U.S. nuclear industry may result in the construction of, at most, two new plants over the next decade.

By contrast, even a much more serious accident would have been unlikely to delay the construction of new nuclear plants in the developing world for long. For major emerging economies like China and India, energy is still too scarce and expensive for much of their populations and economies and they will likely continue to build new nuclear plants as fast as they can in the coming decades.

In the end, what it all looks like is business as usual, for nukes specifically and the global energy economy more generally. Despite the claims of proponents, present day renewables remain too expensive and undependable for any economy in the world to rely upon at significant scale. So Germany, despite its vaunted solar feed in tariffs, will rely more heavily upon coal, which it has in abundance, as it retires its aging nuclear fleet. The US, already in the midst of a natural gas boom, will use more gas. And China and India, desperate for every kilowatt of power they can produce, will develop every available energy resource they have as fast as they can, including nuclear.
Jenkins also appeared on MSNBC's The Dylan Ratigan Show at 1:40 PM PST/ 4:40 PM EST today to discuss nuclear power and the situation in Japan. Here's the clip:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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Monday, July 26, 2010

"Climate Bill Set Aside, What's Next for U.S. Energy Policy"

I appeared last Friday on 88.9 KCRW Santa Monica and Public Radio International's nationally-syndicated show "To the Point" to discuss the recent withdrawal by Sen Harry Reid (D-NV) of a compromised Energy bill based on largely on a framework of Cap and Trade.

After more than $100 million in lobbying by green groups and allied industry players, and the bill's eventual watering down to a "utility-only" cap, Majority Leader Reid confessed that there was still no way he or the party would be able to muster the sixty votes necessary for the beleaguered legislation to pass.

This is the fourth time in seven years that this cap and trade strategy has been shot down. This time, with the Democrats just one seat shy of a super-majority and with the White House occupied by a president who came to office promising to make climate change a top priority, perhaps the latest episode in the serial failure of cap and trade indicates that it is time to bury the failed policy and develop an entirely new strategy -- one capable of overcoming the political obstacles that doomed cap and trade while successfully making clean energy cheap enough to sustainable power an energy-hungry planet.

You can listen to the roughly eight-minute discussion below. Just hit play and skip to 45-minute mark for the segment.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Maddow: Chamber of Commerce Punked on Climate

Rachel Maddow and reporter Kate Sheppard of Grist.org Mother Jones discuss the Yes Men prank that punked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today, forcing the Chamber to reiterate its staunch opposition to proposed climate change policy. Check it out (and bravo to Kate for her cable news debut):

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ten Weeks to Copenhagen - Jenkins on KPFA Radio

With just ten weeks until the world's nations meet in Copenhagen this December to try to hammer out a global consensus on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a global clean energy economy, WattHead.org's Jesse Jenkins returned to KPFA radio Monday to discuss the coming climate and energy policy debates in the U.S. Senate and on the international stage. Jenkins joined host Mitch Jeserich and Dan Jacobson of Environment California on this week's segment of "Letters to Washington," which aired Monday on KPFA radio in the Bay Area and was syndicated throughout the country this week.

You can listen to the segment below, which begins at 1:25:25...

Letters to Washington - September 21, 2009 at 10:00am

Click to listen (or download)

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Listen to the Discussion: What Will ACES (Waxman-Markey) Achieve?


The Energy Collective conducted a live, interactive webcast in which energy experts and TEC blogger board members Jesse Jenkins of the Breakthrough Institute and WattHead blog and John C. Whitehead of Appalachian State University dug into the details of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the ACES climate bill, and provided insight into its likely effectiveness in a number of key areas...

Join the Energy Collective and listen to an archive recording of the discussion here.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NPR: A Breakthrough Way to Seize Clean Energy Opportunity

NPR's Morning Edition ran a segment today on the Breakthrough Institute, where I work as Director of Energy and Climate Policy. The segment featured our small think tank's work to re-frame global warming as an economic opportunity and advance a fundamental shift in policy capable of seizing that tremendous opportunity.

You can listen to the NPR segment online here.

If you're new to the Breakthrough Institute and want to get familiar with our work, please head here for a few recommendations of things to read. We love your comments, so please don't hesitate to opine.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Kingston Coal Ash Sludge Spill Over a Billion Gallons: Time to Take a Hard Look at the Coal Industry

Cross-posted from It's Getting Hot in Here - dispatches from the youth climate movement, by Richard Graves, founder of Fired Up Media.

One week ago, Kingston, Tennessee, woke up to find that over one billion gallons of coal ash sludge had surged out of a poorly built and poorly maintained containment pond, one of three at the Kingston Coal Plant, after the dam holding back acres of inky black and toxic coal ash sludge failed. The Tennessee Valley Authority, the federal corporation that operates the Kingston Coal Plant, first reported that 360 millions gallons of coal ash sludge had flooded over 400 acres of local watersheds and river, then the estimate was revised to 540 million gallons, and now the best estimate puts the amount as over 1 billion gallons. This puts the amount spilled as more than 100 times larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster and, in fact, more than every drop of petroleum used in the United States that day. This coal sludge spill is simply unprecedented in size and scale and should become the stunning example of exactly how dirty coal really is.

Numbers aside, as it is impossible to really comprehend the scale of the disaster in words - this is a very dramatic example of how our consumption and reliance on coal is quite literally reshaping our world. Whether by flooding 400 acres of beautiful Tennessee valleys and rivers with six feet of coal ash, or blowing the tops off of literally hundreds of mountains in Appalachia, or changing the global climate itself through massive releases of carbon dioxide - the coal industry has perhaps the greatest impact of any industry in the world - yet we barely know it.
Coal plants intake almost 20% of the United States' freshwater, uses almost half of our freight railroad capacity, and leaves behind scarred landscapes, poor and exploited communities, kills vulnerable people - in fact, the Kingston Coal plant is estimated to cut short the lives of over 149 people a year - and coal is the leading source of global warming pollutants from the United States.

Coal power devours landscapes, poisons the land and water, and yet it remains virtually unregulated in critical areas of impact. Smokestack emissions of sulfur dioxide (SOX), nitrous oxide (NOX), and mercury are regulated - to a certain extent - with SOX regulated through a Cap & Trade system that has been adopted by most large environmental groups as the mechanism to tackle global warming. However, federally mandated scrubbers on coal plants have led to the concentration of pollutants in coal ash, everything from arsenic, lead, mercury, thorium, and uranium. Yet, coal ash is not regulated as toxic waste - although the EPA is 'considering' doing so'.

The Bush Administration has even worked at redefining the word 'fill' to allow the coal industry to be unregulated by the Clean Water Act and allow the destruction of mountains and pushing the rubble into streambeds and valleys. Carbon dioxide is still unregulated, despite efforts to pass a federal climate bill and the Supreme Court ruling that the Executive Branch is obligated to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Unregulated, unaccountable, and corrupt is the way that many coal companies operate. Little surprise then that TVA announced as a safety measure that residents impacted by the coal ash spill should boil their water - thereby concentrating the heavy metal contaminants - instead of providing safe drinking water to residents.

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