Choose Your Poison
Regarding Jamison Colburn’s post on Thursday regarding nuclear power ('Who Can We Blame?' Is Always A Game Played Best From Afar), I think the lesser-of-evils question in energy production is one of the most difficult questions we face. Nuclear power is undeniably a very dangerous way to produce energy. Yet it is also true that not using nukes means we use more fossil fuels, which without question causes death and disease (as well as economic damage) on a tragic scale.
Now that global warming's risks are better known and understood, though, it's possible that the calculus has changed enough to tip the balance. It’s no longer a matter of weighing a statistically certain number of lung- and heart-disease-related deaths every year against a statistically uncertain nuclear catastrophe that could kill millions (or the entire planet). Use of fossil fuels now also at least increases the possibility of the deaths of millions of people living in coastal areas along with the longer-term disruption of entire eco-systems. How to choose between that and possible nuclear Armageddon? Happily, conservation is still an option. What an easy choice!