Nuclear power needed to curb global warming, say four climate scientists

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 9:47pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 3:15am


Four of the world's top climate scientists say wind and solar energy will not be enough to head off global warming, and they are asking environmentalists to support the development of nuclear power as one way to cut fossil fuel pollution.

The scientists, who have played a role in alerting the public to the dangers of climate change, sent letters on Sunday to environmental groups and politicians around the world. The letter urges a discussion on the role of nuclear power in fighting climate change.

Environmentalists agree that global warming is a threat to ecosystems and humans, but many oppose nuclear power and believe that new forms of renewable energy will be able to power the world within the next few decades.

That was not realistic, the letter said.

"Those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough" to deliver the power the world needs, and "with the planet warming and carbon dioxide emissions rising faster than ever, we cannot afford to turn away from any technology" that has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases.

The letter is signed by James Hansen, a former Nasa scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide.

Hansen said it was not enough for environmentalists to simply oppose fossil fuels.