TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
OpinionCommentary

How about a nuclear Green New Deal?

The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant is seen

The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant is seen in the early morning hours March 28, 2011 in Middletown, Pennsylvania. Credit: Getty Images/Jeff Fusco

I have an idea: Tell me what catastrophe climate change isn’t responsible for. That’s getting to be the shorter list these days.

Lefties like Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blame global warming for just about everything that ails us. On Wednesday, AOC linked climate change to child asthma sufferers in the Bronx.

Before long, global warming driven by carbon emissions will be blamed for everything from obesity to tooth decay. That’s what happens when you can’t have an open discussion about a topic. You can attach anything you want to it and nobody’s allowed to argue.

Not that we call it “global warming” anymore anyway. Hard to push that point when temperatures in the Northeast are still in the 30s more than a week into spring.

But hold on there. Climate isn’t weather, I’ve been told. So it’s not fair to use colder temperatures to cast doubt on the superheating of the planet. Except that climate does become weather when it can be linked to big hurricanes or titanic rainfalls. Or floods in the Midwest. Or any other darn thing, it seems.

Senate Republicans had a show vote on AOC’s Green New Deal this week. The bill got voted down, with Republicans voting “no,” and Democrats turning their noses up at the whole thing by voting “present.”

The Green New Deal calls for an end to the use of fossil fuels, and increased use of solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal power.

Solar and wind are the renewables most frequently mentioned when we talk about eliminating carbon emissions, but neither is reliable as a consistent power source yet.

The sun doesn’t shine at night. It shines with less intensity during winter months. It can be blocked by clouds. And there goes your power generation.

Wind? Sometimes the wind doesn’t blow at all. And those wind farms take up a lot of space. Surely that land could be put to better use. Those turbines are noisy too. And, speaking of being eco-friendly, the turbines are a threat to wildlife.

And remember: The one-percenters don’t want wind farms built off their pristine shorelines or in the hills around their palatial homes, so guess which neighborhoods would be host to those big propellers?

Do we want our power grid dependent on the vagaries of the weather? Not until battery technology has evolved to the point where the power can be stored efficiently. And while we’re on the topic, how will we dispose of all those batteries once we’re done with them? A question for another day.

Not talked about as much is nuclear power, which has carbon emissions comparable to renewable sources, and which is already part of the U.S. power grid.

Environmentally enlightened France, birthplace of the Paris Agreement climate accord, has been using nuclear power for decades. So have progressive countries like Canada, Sweden and England. Never mind China, Russia and India.

The technology has evolved since the bad, old Chernobyl days, even if it’s certainly not foolproof, and even if the Fukushima disaster led some counties to scale back or eliminate their nuclear power programs.

But if we’re talking about a radical change in energy policy, everything should be on the table. Even if those on the left recoil in horror at the very thought of another Three Mile Island.

And if you want to keep your community from getting drowned by a bad storm, stop paving over every parcel of open space in sight. Give the rain a place to go.

Tom Wrobleski wrote this for the Staten Island Advance.

Columns