Nuclear power can often inspire thoughts of wanton destruction. I know it did for me. My grandparents, who lived through World War II, used to tell me stories about the devastation at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I considered nuclear weapons to be humanity’s worst invention, a characterization I carried over to nuclear power. Because I had such a bad image of nuclear weapons, nuclear power, to me, was the most dangerous energy source on the planet. But all that has started to change recently as I have begun to read my supervisor James Hansen’s papers.
Energy has always been a hot topic and with good reason. Historically, access and production of energy has been vital for economic development. But with the increasing threat of climate change, our relationship with energy has been changing. It is important that we focus on our relationship with energy and the symbolic value we have placed on certain types of energy in order to move forward.
Renewable energy in the U.S. has been growing rapidly as a source of electricity, but, nonetheless, the U.S. still has a long way to go before it catches up with other developed nations.
Not all environmental policies are good. Indeed, some are worse than others including some policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that can have undesirable side effects.