5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent on Climate Science. Naive on Remedies,
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This review is from: Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity (Paperback)
Like Censoring Science and the The Rough Guide to Climate Change, this is an outstanding book on climate science, and on policies to prevent catastrophe (levy-dividend versus cap-and-trade). It is naive on tech remedies.
It dismisses energy efficiency and renewables (p191-2) in favour of nuclear. Yet according to the 2010 World Energy Outlook of the International Energy Agency (IEA), nuclear provided 6% of all primary energy in 2008, and is projected to grow to 8% in 2035. Renewables provided 7% in 2008, growing to 14% in 2035. The book's "imperceptibly small" (p208) RENEWABLES ALREADY SURPASS NUCLEAR! And are projected to grow much faster!
p193 implies that solar power is incapable of continuous operation. The Andasol and other solar thermal electric plants collect solar heat, and GENERATE ECONOMICAL ELECTRIC POWER OVERNIGHT from THERMAL STORAGE. See eg Wikipedia, or Nobel Laureate nuclear physicist Carlo Rubbia's paper at the IEA SolarPACES 2006 conference in Seville.
Promotes nuclear breeder reactors - which it erroneously defines as "FOURTH generation" reactors. The FIRST full-scale atomic electric power plant (Shippingport) was a breeder reactor. Earlier, breeder reactors provided plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb, later for weapons in vast nuclear arsenals.
No-one who knows radioactivity (even at secondary school level) equates the half life of reactor radionuclides with the time needed to "babysit" nuclear waste, as the book does (p197). After a half life, half the radioactivity remains. After 2 half lives, one quarter, etc. Even after 10-20 half lives, when the primary radioactivity has decreased by a factor of 1000 to a million), the remainder is lethal.
The book calls for thousands of fast neutron breeder reactors - liquid sodium-cooled FBRs. Many have been built. The biggest - SuperPhenix - was hailed a major breakthrough. Yet the International Atomic Energy Agency says this hugely expensive reactor was effectively operational (load factor) for only 7.8% of its lifetime, and closed due to cost. The SNR300 reactor cost spiralled 14-fold - from 0.25 to 3.6 billion euros - and was never operated.
Breeder reactors have leaked sodium and caught fire. They are highly complex and RUINOUSLY EXPENSIVE - to build and to operate, and pose weapons proliferation risks. Renewables are far more cost-effective.