• 6 hours The True Cost Of Opportunity In America
  • 12 hours Why Investors Shouldn't Ignore Gold Stocks
  • 1 day Facebook Scrubs Over 2 Billion Fake Accounts
  • 2 days Dow Scrambles To Avoid Fifth Straight Weekly Loss
  • 2 days Is This The World’s First Truly Democratic Stock Exchange?
  • 2 days India’s Wealthiest Set To Hold $23 Trillion By 2028
  • 3 days First Quarter Profits Slip For World's Top Oil Companies
  • 3 days The Yuan May Be China's Biggest Weakness
  • 3 days Hedge Funds Having A Banner Year
  • 3 days Disney Heiress Asks “Is There Such A Thing As Too Much?”
  • 4 days BHP Turns Bullish On EVs
  • 4 days Investors Turn Bullish On America’s Nuclear Decommissioning Business
  • 4 days The $90M Inflatable Rabbit Redefining Modern Art
  • 4 days Huawei’s Fate In The Air
  • 5 days Tesla Slashes Prices Again
  • 5 days The Modern History Of Financial Entropy
  • 5 days Italy’s Central Bank Embraces Sustainable Investing
  • 5 days Trump Lifts Metals Tariffs To Cool Simmering Trade War
  • 6 days Researchers Push To Limit Space Mining
  • 6 days Could China Start Dumping U.S. Treasury Bonds?
Economists: Higher Oil Prices Here To Stay

Economists: Higher Oil Prices Here To Stay

A group of 31 economists…

The Three Biggest Influences On Oil Markets Right Now

The Three Biggest Influences On Oil Markets Right Now

Oil markets remain in especially…

Oilprice.com

Oilprice.com

Writer, OilPrice.com

Information/Articles and Prices on a wide range of commodities: We have assembled a team of experienced writers to provide you with information on Crude Oil,…

Contact Author

  1. Home
  2. Commodities
  3. Energy

There Is No Catch-All Solution To Climate Change

Catch-All Climate Change

Polling shows that the majority of United States citizens want the Trump administration to honor the country’s Obama-era commitment to the Paris Agreement to combat global climate change. Under the agreement, from which President Trump withdrew in June of 2017, the United States would have to cut its carbon emissions to 26 percent less than their highest documented levels by 2025. Even if the federal government were to pivot on Paris and recommit to the agreement, meeting this target would not be an easy feat.

In order to meet the target set by the Paris Agreement, the United States would have to reduce their carbon footprint by 2.6 percent each year over the next seven years, a lofty goal that the country has never come close to meeting in any semblance of a sustained way. Difficult in no way means impossible, however. Look no further than France, which managed to pull off the impressive feat of cutting their carbon emissions from 1979 to 1988 by an average rate of 2.9 percent annually while still growing their economy. How did they achieve this? The answer is so simple it can be distilled into a word: nuclear.

Nuclear holds a lot of promise for a greener energy future in the United States, and recently pundits on both the right and the left alike have taken up the cause in various public forums, from think pieces by center-right commentator Andrew Sullivan calling for a “massive nuclear energy program” in New York Magazine to Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” Michael Shellenberger urging the green energy community to give up on renewables entirely in favor of far more energy-dense nuclear power.

Despite the ever-increasing number of voices calling for nuclear as a catch-all solution to climate change, however, there are still a lot of drawbacks to nuclear power to consider as well. Building new nuclear plants is extremely expensive, nuclear accidents--while very, very rare--are both expensive and difficult to remediate, and there is still a lot of public mistrust and political adversity when it comes to nuclear. Related: The Kremlin Moves To Control The Internet

As much as we would all love to have a silver bullet solution for climate change, and as much promise as nuclear energy holds, no single solution is so simple. Although nuclear power plants are capable of producing massive quantities of completely carbon-free energy and ramping up the United States’ nuclear capacity would directly lead to a drop in carbon admissions (as in the example of France), nuclear energy simply can’t meet all of the energy demands of the world’s biggest economy.

Nuclear’s potential is stymied by a number of logistical limitations. While nuclear can massively reduce emissions within the power sector, it can’t be used in many industrial sectors. Nuclear won’t work as a green solution for transportation or for emissions-heavy industrial necessities like smelting steel. As executive director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago Sam Ori was quoted in The Atlantic, “the energy system is bigger than just electricity […] While I think nuclear has real potential as a means to decarbonizing electricity, you still have a lot of sectors to worry about.”

Emissions from the U.S. power sector are already on a downward trend, falling 28 percent since 2005. Meanwhile, the industries that would not benefit as directly from nuclear are the ones that need the most help. Since 2005 carbon emissions from transportation, agriculture, and industrial sectors have fallen by just 5 percent.

All this is not to say that the expansion of the United States nuclear energy sector isn’t a worthwhile endeavor. It would undoubtedly make and immediate and considerable positive impact on the nation’s carbon emissions. But it won’t fix all of the other myriad ways that the national economy contributes to climate change. If the U.S. has any hope of meeting that target set by the Paris Agreement, or even coming close, it will require a much more multi-faceted and expansive approach.

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment