Exxon as a climate heretic. Its sin? Saying impeccably true things about climate science: The range of uncertainty is high. Climate models are not the climate, and show themselves to be unreliable guides to future warming. There is a cost-benefit test that policy must pass, and it doesn’t.Green activists, some masquerading as attorneys general of New York and California, want to prosecute
The AG case is a spinoff of “investigative” journalism by the Los Angeles Times and Inside Climate News, which we now learn was directly underwritten by climate activists at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Family Fund.
“It’s about helping the larger public understand the urgencies of finding climate solutions. It’s not really about Exxon,” explained a Rockefeller official about a January meeting to coordinate the legal and journalistic attack.
The journalists involved in this travesty, we’re sorry to say, are of the dumber sort—confused about what science is. But their clottedness comes at a poignant moment.
Honest greens have always said nuclear power is indispensable for achieving big carbon reduction. James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who has been chaining himself to fences since the first Bush administration, was in Illinois last week lobbying against closure of a nuclear plant. Ditto activist Michael Shellenberger. We might also include Bill McKibben, the Bernie Sanders of the climate movement and shouter of Exxon accusations, who told journalist William Tucker four years ago, “If I came out in favor of nuclear, it would split this movement in half.”
Nuclear (unlike solar) is one low-carbon energy technology that has zero chance without strong government support, yet is left out of renewables mandates. It’s the one non-carbon energy source that has actually been shrinking, losing ground to coal and natural gas.
What keeps nuclear costs high? Why do so many opponents misread the Fukushima meltdown, where 18,000 deaths were due to the earthquake and tsunami, none to radiation exposure, and none are expected from radiation exposure? Why has the U.S. experience of spiraling nuclear construction costs not been matched in South Korea, where normal learning has reduced the cost of construction?