Michael Shellenberger: How fear of nuclear power is hurting the environment
Michael Shellenberger - Climate policy expert
Michael Shellenberger is a global thinker on energy, technology and the environment. Full bio
with new solar panels going up,
half its power from solar,
to building 10 times more solar
making a comeback.
working with engineers,
that are working together
reactor that runs on waste,
than anybody imagined?
to take a deep dive into the data.
energy has been increasing.
sources over the last 20 years.
the percentage of global electricity
from 36 percent to 31 percent.
from clean energy sources,
points of global electricity be?"
California's last nuclear plant,
solar farms in the world,
that fossil fuels are increasing
and dung and charcoal
sources in particular
in absolute terms,
has declined seven percent
making huge strides,
about how it doesn't really matter,
is going to make up the difference.
from solar and wind,
half of the decline from nuclear.
in the United States.
really 2013, 2014 --
four nuclear power plants.
replaced with fossil fuels,
was that we wiped out
electricity that we get from solar.
as a clean energy and climate leader,
than the national average,
been going up since 2009,
who's going to tell you
their climate commitments in 2020.
about 10 to 20 percent of the time,
the sun's not shining,
some really cool improvements lately,
going to be as efficient
into a battery and take it out,
percent of the power.
we've brought online --
of electricity from solar --
and people come home from work
and their TV sets,
into the side of a mountain.
it sprung a leak.
half a million cars on the road.
of our climate commitments for the year.
to really get the right data,
solar, nuclear, the rest --
more serious problems
we don't have all the natural gas.
to 100 gigawatts by 2022.
a closer look at nuclear.
Panel on Climate Change
of all these different fuels,
it's actually lower even than solar.
provides a lot of power --
power 92 percent of the time.
when you look at countries
kinds of clean energies,
with the climate crisis.
a pretty good option,
of people around the world,
of the least popular forms of energy.
edges out coal, the thing is,
in the same way they fear nuclear,
of the plants themselves --
to melt down and cause damage;
and look for technological fixes.
developing advanced reactors.
are working on this problem.
very excited about it.
"How to Make Nuclear Cheap."
shows a lot of promise.
scientist, James Hansen,
advanced nuclear program,
and UC Berkeley engineers.
to do with nuclear
reactors on assembly lines,
and send them around the world.
very exciting and very promising;
that they're working on.
and a bunch of us were excited.
they got to the timeline,
a thorium molten salt reactor
of a climate crisis right now.
polluted, by the way."
about our thorium program,
hasn't been particularly forthcoming
have on testing reactors."
where you're demonstrating that reactor?
to commercializing it.
looked at me and said,
been demonstrated before?"
now, they're starting to sell it.
that's part of the safety,
it's going to ever get cheaper
are really cool ideas, but the truth is,
actually make more waste,
that if you're including
machine a lot more expensive,
of that we're going to do.
about the nuclear program.
before the Paris climate talks
like 30 new nuclear plants.
and interviewed people
they're going to do about five.
especially the rich world,
about building new reactors.
about taking reactors down
its neighbors to do that.
over the next 15 years,
of the emissions reductions
under the Clean Power Plan.
all their nuclear plants offline,
natural gas, oil burning,
online about a third to two-thirds.
China and India bringing online
of being taken offline --
the world is actually at risk
than we lost over the last 10 years.
in a clean energy revolution;
would look for a technical fix
that these are big challenges to do,
a long time to solve,
really going to solve people's fears?
to make nuclear power much safer.
journal that looks at it --
from the British journal, "Lancet,"
journals in the world --
to make reliable power.
finds the same thing:
is caused by people panicking,
because they're afraid.
isn't actually caused by the machines
thing about the waste
we've ever made in the United States,
people or doing something --
there, it's just being monitored.
control from energy production --
seven million people a year,
levels of global warming.
good at using that waste as fuel,
some fuel left over.
people that think it's a big problem
as much to do with the actual waste
is that we can't find any examples
of nuclear weapons
the world rid of nuclear weapons,
a lot more nuclear power.
kind of pulled me aside,
I appreciate your interest
enough global demand.
these machines on assembly lines,
people that want them."
and efficiency and conservation.
of money we're spending on it.
the climate crisis,
of the clean energy crisis
About the speaker:Michael Shellenberger - Climate policy expert
Michael Shellenberger is a global thinker on energy, technology and the environment.
Why you should listen
Michael Shellenberger is co-founder and Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute, where he was president from 2003 to 2015, and a co-author of the Ecomodernist Manifesto.
Over the last decade, Shellenberger and his colleagues have constructed a new paradigm that views prosperity, cheap energy and nuclear power as the keys to environmental progress. A book he co-wrote (with Ted Nordhaus) in 2007, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility, was called by Wired magazine "the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring," while Time magazine called him a "hero of the environment." In the 1990s, he helped protect the last significant groves of old-growth redwoods still in private hands and bring about labor improvements to Nike factories in Asia.
Michael Shellenberger | Speaker | TED.com