Monbiot backs science against superstition on nuclear power

December 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm (climate change, environment, Green Party, Guardian, Jim D, nuclear power, science)

“Anti-nuclear campaigners have generated as much mumbo jumbo as creationists, anti-vaccine scaremongers, homeopaths and climate change deniers. In all cases, the scientific process has been thrown into reverse: people have begun with their conclusions, then frantically sought evidence to support them” – George Monbiot, The Guardian 6 Dec 20112

The outspoken environmentalist George Monbiot, in his regular Graun columns and elsewhere, has for some time now, been writing a lot of sense about nuclear power. Unlike most Greens (including the British Green Party and its overrated leader Ms Lucas) he is willing to examine the evidence and not fall back upon anti-nuclear superstition. In fact, he starts his column today with a startling admission:

“It’s a devastating admission to have to make, especially during the climate talks in Durban. But there would be no point in writing this column if I were not prepared to confront harsh truths. This year, the environmental movement to which I belong has done more harm to the planet’s living systems than climate change deniers have ever achieved.

“As a result of shutting down its nuclear programme in response to green demands, Germany will produce an extra 300m tonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2020. That’s almost as much as all the European savings resulting from the energy efficiency directive. Other countries are now heading the same way. These decisions are the result of an almost medievel misrepresentation of science and technology. For while the greens are right about most things, our views on nuclear power have been shaped by weapons-grade woo.”

His comments about the potential of integral fast reactors (IFRs) are particularly important and must be taken very seriously by all rational people.

Read the full article here ; The ignorant, hysterical comments that follow on CiF and Monbiot’s replies are also most instructive.

Another voice of reason: Les Hearn at Workers Liberty.


  1. skidmarx said,

    Control of the nuclear cycle in the hands of Western capitalists is something we can all trust.
    Mad Mullahs in Tehran, though…

    • Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

      idiot. cuntfuck as well

  2. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    i could not care wot monbiot has to say about anything. wot monbiot has to say is not a werld shattering event nor is it werthers original. his form and content of concepts within political and philosophical ideas, is disconnected from the actuality of class struggle. He sees everything through an idealistic prism, and then synthesises it all through cultural references. The relevance of the actual struggle of ordinary peoples’ lives is lost in the wordcount. so why do you focus on what cunt commentariat have to say? Fuck them all.

  3. dz bodenberg said,

    As a result of shutting down its nuclear programme in response to green demands, Germany will produce an extra 300m tonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2020.

    I disagree. Firstly, the “shutting down” (it remains to be seen what will actually happen, the Schröder government first “closed down” nuclear power, before Merkel “reopened” it again) is not due to “green demands”, if by that the “green movement” is meant, but due to a general hegemonic feeling across the entire political spectrum and society in general, and, if you like, the opportunistic policies of the current broadly-conservative government.

    And this “shutting down” itself will not produce any extra carbon dioxide.

    The German government is willing to attack the (mainly private) power monopolists on one hand, by shutting down their – (rationally considered) dangerous – nuclear plants and taking away their guaranteed profits and subsidies, yet at the same time, it has removed a tax on nuclear power previously introduced when it first “reopened” nuclear power for business, abandoning Schröder’s “future closure” plan.

    It is also allowing the same multinational companies to open new coal and gas power stations, which the same companies have lobbied for, for years, nuclear power or no nuclear power. They will also be able to “shill” and may be able to store their carbon dioxide underground, should they so wish (laws are currently being written on the matter).

    At the same time, they are cutting subsidies and grants to the renewable sector. Germany does not even have a national grid. It’s electricity structures are old and outdated, based around the needs of an industrial economy which does not exist any more in a way that it did when the power lines were planned and built (admittedly there is more industry here still than in Britain, but that’s not very difficult). A more modern system of distributing electricity from wind, solar and wave power could be developed, which can deal with fluctuations caused by differing weather conditions. But the government isn’t interested.

    They’re interested in helping their friends who run dirty coal power stations and are flooding large areas in eastern Germany (in *windy* eastern Germany) to mine that coal.

    That’s why CO2 production will rise.

    Incidentally: I am also for looking at the facts and then making decisions and then coming to an informed opinion, on all matters. The anti-science of a lot of the ‘green movement’ is something I find bemusing and worrying. But at the same time, I have never had much time for Monbiot – especially after his “Road to Damascus” experience after Fukushima, which I find bizarre.

  4. charliethechulo said,

    “Mad Mullahs in Tehran, though…”
    …supported by Skidiot and his anti-working class, gynaphobic ilk, no doubt.

  5. representingthemambo said,

    I’m sure that many of the comments that followed Monbiot’s article were mad and hysterical, but there is a perfectly reasonable argument against nuclear power.

    I haven’t got time right this second, but I will come back to this with a fuller response. Suffice it to say George Monbiot, some of whose columns have been nothing short of magnificent in recent weeks, is badly mistaken over this.

    I’ll return anon. You have been warned.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    We await with baited breath, Rep…

  7. Steve said,

    I fail to see how this is set up as Science v Superstition. The ties between ‘science’ and the fuel industries is nortorious and the evidence behind the downside of Nuclear power is not based upon what some god said 3000 years ago or whatever.

    It is pathetic to compare work exploring the negative side of Nuclear to Voodoo. Really pathetic.

    And Monbiot was anti Nuclear not that long ago, he has simply given up hope of capitalism finding a solution to the energy problem.

  8. Monbiot, the Mambo and a Mea Culpa « Representing the Mambo said,

    […] recently indicated my disapproval of George Monbiot’s faith in nuclear power on the Shiraz Socialist comment pages, and had promised to write a brilliant point by point demolition job of his thesis. After […]

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