Monday, November 01, 2021

How To Turn The GOP Green, an essay by Andrew Sullivan

by Rod Williams - Andrew Sullivan is sometimes described as a "neocon."  That term once actually meant something before it became a pejorative to denounce George Bush. Sullivan is a British-American author, editor, and blogger and the former editor of The New Republic, and the author or editor of a bunch of books.  He describes his political philosophy as "liberal conservatism."  He has insights and while I am more socially conservative than he, I think Sullivan is a smart guy with astute insights. 

Recently Sullivan wrote an essay,  How to Turn the Republican Party Green, in which he says we need both parties engaged to prevent environmental catastrophe. The way we do it says Sullivan is, "framing things with the following triad: “nuclear power, economic nationalism, and owning the libs.” 

Sullivan wants to “give Republicans cultural permission to save the world. Which means, in part, not saying we are going to ‘save the world,’ and keeping Al Gore and Prince Charles out of it.” 

Sullivan says that as the Climateers move further to the left and take apocalyptic, irrational, cult-like, policy positions, it has given an opening for those who take a more sensible approach.  "Nuclear is the key," he says.  Below are excerpts:

Nuclear is the key. Lefties hate it. They really do. And it is completely irrational to both hate nuclear power and believe that climate change is an urgent, existential threat.

When you hear that humans just need to find a reliable, plentiful energy source that doesn’t blacken our lungs and burn the planet to a crisp, remember that we have already found one.

 In America, in the mid-20th century — and just in time! Once again, our American technological ingenuity saved our asses. Nuclear power provides energy as effectively as fossil fuels but does not add anything to carbon emissions. It provides consistent energy in a very compact space, especially compared with wind and solar. It is not dependent on the weather. But for some reason, in the early-21st century, we decided to back away from nuclear.

Worse: leaders like Angela Merkel actually vowed to completely close down nuclear power — massively increasing Germany’s energy costs, giving Putin huge leverage, and now helping to cause a huge spike in electricity across the continent.

Compare Germany’s energy plight with France’s, whose energy supplies are more than 70 percent nuclear. France spends about half of what Germany does on electricity — and produces just one tenth of the carbon emissions. That’s why Macron is busy re-booting nuclear power; why Boris’ Tories are rushing to entrench the UK’s relatively low-carbon economy with more nuclear plants; and why several EU states are now petitioning the EU to designate nuclear a sustainable source of energy. For good measure, the new Japanese prime minister just announced, “It’s crucial that we re-start nuclear power plants.”

And yet the United States, the country that invented this technology, is racing in the opposite direction. In one projection from late 2016, “the Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas has estimated that up to 40 percent of all U.S. nuclear capacity could be closed over the next decade or so.” New York shuttered a major plant this year — and fossil fuel emissions immediately jumped. California is following the path of Germany toward abolition with just one plant left. Only two new reactors have been activated nationwide in the past quarter-century. Biden’s BBB plan has half a trillion in it for moving away from carbon. But try to find any funding for new nuclear. That’s a policy that will make climate change much much worse. It’s a policy that is already causing an uptick in carbon emissions. But the environmental movement and the Green New Dealers back it.

 It doesn’t have to be that way. Imagine if the Democrats had unveiled a big new building program for nuclear plants alongside investing in renewables. It would have immediately transformed the debate. There’s already GOP support. Money quote from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine: “If we are worried about carbon emissions, as we should be, you cannot get any type of attainment without using nuclear energy. You take away nuclear energy in the state of Ohio, we’re never going to reach any ability to have clean air.” Nuclear counts for 52 percent of our non-carbon energy. And we want to reverse it? Are we nuts?

It is time that adults step up and do what needs to be done to combat climate change.  It is clear to me that we will never make progress on combating climate change as long as the climateers are the ones making policy.  It is time for rational people to take the issue away from the quasi-religious romantics who now dominate the climate debate.  I cannot help but feel climateers are more interested in owning the issue rather than solving the issue, and that their policies actually make the problem worse. The only hope for actually doing something about climate change is if Republicans engage. 

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