Monday, May 24, 2004

Right answer, wrong reason

Back in engineering school it wasn't enough just to get the right answer. The staff went over the supporting work, and if they didn't like it you'd still get marked wrong. It cost me letter grades more than once when I was a little too terse for somebody's taste.

But I wanted to be an engineer. If I were willing to settle for lower standards I would have been a green.

That's not to say that greens can't come up with the right answer sometimes. Looky here:'Only nuclear power can now halt global warming':
Global warming is now advancing so swiftly that only a massive expansion of nuclear power as the world's main energy source can prevent it overwhelming civilisation, the scientist and celebrated Green guru, James Lovelock, says.

His call will cause huge disquiet for the environmental movement. It has long considered the 84-year-old radical thinker among its greatest heroes, and sees climate change as the most important issue facing the world, but it has always regarded opposition to nuclear power as an article of faith. Last night the leaders of both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth rejected his call.

Professor Lovelock, who achieved international fame as the author of the Gaia hypothesis, the theory that the Earth keeps itself fit for life by the actions of living things themselves, was among the first researchers to sound the alarm about the threat from the greenhouse effect.
We've learned a lot since the last generation of nuclear power plants was built. They've performed well in terms of safety and reliability, and the next generation will be even better. And whether you buy Lovelock's beliefs about global warning or not, you have to recognize the correlation between the availability of energy and economic capacity.

So under the circumstances, I'll give Lovelock full credit for getting the right answer.

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