Friday, December 09, 2005

Eco-activists shaded view of the world

I wouldn't really call it looking through rose colored glasses. But activists on the envioronment certainly seem to see all issues through filters. This one is arguing that biodiesel is not the answer as the only way to produce enough of it is to burn off tropical areas, dry out tropical peatlands and plant palms as palm oil is the most efficient oil producing crop. This activity will of course realize carbon into the air which means in the short term (at least in Earth's life cycle it is short) more carbon will be released than saved.

Ok, that presupposes that anyone would be silly enough to make such a massive change to plant palms! It also ignores our ability to increase oil production in other crops. Look at the massive increase in soy production through GM seeds, in 2004 the U.S. had it's largest crop in history at 3.14 billion bushels. This while maintaining herbocide use at 1996 levels and switching to a more environmentally friendly herbicide glyphosate.

If the goal is to maximize oil production there is likely to be big gains in oil efficiencies in crops like soy and canola through selective breeding (as we have done throughout history) or through GM which can lead to rapid increases in a more controlled manner.

The same activists will not even consider nuclear energy as it doesn't meet their view of the world. Though a founding member of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is trying to change the public's view on this.


At 12:24 AM , Blogger James Aach said...

Nuclear power is certainly back in the news with increasing frequency these days due to global warming concerns. (Dealing with this issue is one of the reasons Patrick Moore and others are taking a second look at nuclear power.)

While I’m a longtime nuclear energy worker myself, I can’t say that I’m sure what the future of nuclear energy should be. But I am sure we will make better decisions if we understand what nuclear energy is right now. Yet, I’ve come to realize that the real world of nuclear power is unknown to the general public, which has had far more access to the workings of the Starship Enterprise than to the nuke plant down the street.

In response, I’ve written an insider’s account of the American nuclear power industry, called “Rad Decision”. The book is available, at no cost to readers, at

Noted futurist and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand (who also recently called for a reassessment of nuclear power in MIT's Technology Monthly magazine) has endorsed the book, stating: “I’d like to see RAD DECISION widely read.”

Designed for the lay reader, this unique peek beyond the security fence is in the form of a techno-thriller novel. Rad Decision covers nuclear plant operation, events such as Chernobyl and TMI, and ends with how an accident might be handled today. It also includes, for the first time, an insider perspective on the politics and human relations that greatly impact how nuclear units in the U.S. are operated.

At the book is presented as a series of Episodes (15 minutes reading time each) and also provided as a PDF file. This is an independent, non-profit project with no advertising. All sides of the nuclear power debate will find items to like, and dislike, within Rad Decision.

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to take a look at

James Aach

If you enjoy the book, please pass the word.


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