Naomi Oreskes (with the assistance of Erik Conway) wrote a science fiction book about the collapse of Western Civilization. Now she’s trying to cause it.
Oreskes is not a scientist. She’s a ‘historian’ of science, one who has not learned the first lesson of history and is thus condemned to repeat its errors. Specifically, she has not learned that social and political activist movements have stumbled, fallen and stopped in their tracks when one flavor of activist began to condemn other flavors for not being flavorful enough. It happened with the Civil Rights movement in the U.S., with feminism in the UK, and with Communism pretty much everywhere.
But she can sound really ‘sciency’ and she writes as one accustomed to authority, as one who considers herself the final arbiter of the Good and the True.
So when James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley called for a realistic assessment of the fuel portfolio the world will need to lower emissions–and specifically included widespread nuclear power among the options to evaluate–Oreskes did what people of her activist ilk have always done.
She called them ‘ climate deniers.’ This of course is nonsense–she’s calling some of the people who have created modern climate science deniers of the science they have created. (She’s in good company, of course. Other idiot activists have used the label for any scientist who doesn’t agree with their policy prescriptions–their knowledge and acceptance of how the climate works is irrelevant to activists.)
She is also functionally innumerate. Regular readers will know that I have been looking at energy consumption rather intensely for the past 5 years. Some of the statistics are so easy to rattle off that it’s beyond belief that Oreskes isn’t familiar with them.
Here’s an example. In 2010 the world used 523 quadrillion British Thermal Units (or ‘quads’ as they are lovingly known).
Of those 523 quads, 52 came from renewable energy.
Of those 52 renewable quads, 50 came from hydro-electric generation of electricity. Biomass, ethanol, wood chips, wind, solar all combined to produce 2 of the 523 quads used by the world that year. It hasn’t improved significantly in the 5 years since then.
Note that nowhere did the 4 real scientists argue against renewables. Nor do I. But looking at the numbers I just showed would convince anyone with a brain that ignoring nuclear power will not lead to a good outcome.
Given that it is very clear that energy consumption will rise dramatically over the coming decades as the developing world develops, it is absurd to eliminate the one non-emissive option that provides reliable baseload power and has been proven to work worldwide.
Stalin sent assassins to murder Trotsky in Mexico City with an axe. If I were Hansen, Caldeira, Emanuel or Wigley, I’d start getting ready to look over my shoulder a bit more frequently. Oreskes has outed herself as an unthinking fanatic. There’s no telling what she’ll do next.