Why renewables can’t save the planet | Michael Shellenberger | TEDxDanubia


Translator: Amanda Zhu
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven
Thank you very much.
When I was a boy,
my parents would sometimes
take me camping in California.
We would camp in the beaches,
in the forests, in the deserts.
Some people think the deserts
are empty of life,
but my parents taught me
to see the wildlife all around us,
the hawks, the eagles, the tortoises.
One time when we were setting up camp,
we found a baby scorpion
with its stinger out,
and I remember thinking how cool it was
that something could be
both so cute and also so dangerous.
After college, I moved to California,
and I started working
on a number of environmental campaigns.
I got involved in helping to save
the state’s last ancient redwood forest
and blocking a proposed
radioactive waste repository
set for the desert.
Shortly after I turned 30,
I decided I wanted to dedicate
a significant amount of my life
to solving climate change.
I was worried that global warming
would end up destroying
many of the natural environments
that people had worked so hard to protect.
I thought the technical solutions
were pretty straightforward –
solar panels on every roof,
electric car in the driveway –
that the main obstacles were political.
And so I helped to organize a coalition
of the country’s biggest labor unions
and biggest environmental groups.
Our proposal was for a 300-billion-dollar
investment in renewables.
And the idea was not only
would we prevent climate change,
but we would also create
millions of new jobs
in a very fast-growing high-tech sector.
Our efforts really paid off in 2007,
when then-presidential candidate
Barack Obama embraced our vision.
And between 2009 and 2015,
the US invested 150 billion dollars
in renewables and other
kinds of clean tech.
But right away, we started
to encounter some problems.
So first of all, the electricity
from solar rooftops
ends up costing about twice as much
as the electricity from solar farms.
And both solar farms and wind farms
require covering a pretty
significant amount of land
with solar panels and wind turbines
and also building
very big transmission lines
to bring all that electricity
from the countryside into the city.
Both of those things were often very
strongly resisted by local communities,
as well as by conservation biologists
who were concerned about the impacts
on wild-bird species and other animals.
Now, there was a lot of other people
working on technical
solutions at the time.
One of the big challenges, of course,
is the intermittency of solar and wind.
They only generate electricity
about 10 to 30 percent of the time
during most of year.
But some of the solutions being proposed
were to convert hydroelectric dams
into gigantic batteries.
The idea was that when the sun
was shining and the wind was blowing,
you would pump the water uphill,
store it for later,
and then when you needed electricity,
run it over the turbines.
In terms of wildlife,
some of these problems
just didn’t seem like
a significant concern.
So when I learned that house cats
kill billions of birds every year,
it put into perspective the hundreds
of thousands of birds
that are killed by wind turbines.
It basically seemed to me at the time
that most, if not all, of the problems
of scaling up solar and wind
could be solved through more
technological innovation.
But as the years went by,
these problems persisted
and, in many cases, grew worse.
So California is a state that’s really
committed to renewable energy,
but we still haven’t converted
many of our hydroelectric dams
into big batteries.
Some of the problems are just geographic;
it’s just you have to have
a very particular kind of formation
to be able to do that,
and even in those cases,
it’s quite expensive
to make those conversions.
Other challenges are just
that there’s other uses for water,
like irrigation,
and maybe the most significant problem
is just that in California
the water in our rivers and reservoirs
is growing increasingly
scarce and unreliable
due to climate change.
In terms of this issue of reliability,
as a consequence of it,
we’ve actually had to stop the electricity
coming from the solar
farms into the cities
because there’s just been
too much of it at times.
Or we’ve been starting to pay
our neighboring states, like Arizona,
to take that solar electricity.
The alternative is to suffer
from blowouts of the grid.
And it turns out that
when it comes to birds and cats –
cats don’t kill eagles; eagles kill cats.
What cats kill are the small common
sparrows and jay’s and robins,
birds that are not endangered
and not at risk of going extinct.
What do kill eagles and other big birds,
like this kite as well as owls and condors
and other threatened
and endangered species,
are wind turbines;
in fact, they’re one
of the most significant threats
to those big bird species that we have.
We just haven’t been introducing
the airspace with many other objects
like we have wind turbines
over the last several years.
And in terms of solar,
you know, building a solar farm is a lot
like building any other kind of farm:
you have to clear
the whole area of wildlife.
So this is a picture of one third of one
of the biggest solar farms in California,
called Ivanpah.
In order to build this,
they had to clear
the whole area of desert tortoises,
literally pulling desert tortoises
and their babies out of burrows,
putting them on the back of pickup trucks,
and transporting them to captivity,
where many of them ended up dying.
And the current estimates are that
about 6,000 birds are killed every year,
actually catching on fire
above the solar farm
and plunging to their deaths.
Over time, it gradually struck me
that there was really no amount
of technological innovation
that was going to make
the sun shine more regularly
or wind blow more reliably;
in fact, you could make
solar panels cheaper,
and you could make
wind turbines bigger,
but sunlight and wind
are just really dilute fuels,
and in order to produce
significant amounts of electricity,
you just have to cover
a very large land mass with them.
In other words, all of the major problems
with renewables aren’t technical,
they’re natural.
Well, dealing with
all of this unreliability
and the big environmental impacts
obviously comes at a
pretty high economic cost.
We’ve been hearing a lot
about how solar panels and wind turbines
have come down in cost in recent years,
but that cost has been
significantly outweighed
by just the challenges of integrating all
of that unreliable power onto the grid.
Just take, for instance,
what’s happened in California.
At the period in which solar panels
have come down in price
very significantly, same with wind,
we’ve seen our electricity prices go up
five times more
than the rest of the country.
And it’s not unique to us.
You can see the same phenomenon
happened in Germany,
which is really the world’s leader
in solar, wind and other
renewable technologies.
Their prices increased 50 percent
during their big renewable-energy push.
Now you might think, well,
dealing with climate change
is just going to require
that we all pay more for energy.
That’s what I used to think.
But consider the case of France.
France actually gets
twice as much of its electricity
from clean zero-emission sources
than does Germany,
and yet France pays almost half
as much for its electricity.
How can that be?
You might have already
anticipated the answer.
France gets most of its electricity
from nuclear power, about 75% in total.
And nuclear just ends up
being a lot more reliable,
generating power 24 hours a day,
seven days a week,
for about 90% of the year.
We see this phenomenon
show up at a global level.
So, for example, there’s been
a natural experiment
over the last 40 years,
even more than that,
in terms of the deployment of nuclear
and the deployment of solar.
You can see that
at a little bit higher cost,
we got about half as much electricity
from solar and wind
than we did from nuclear.
Well, what does all this mean
for going forward?
I think one of the most significant
findings to date is this one.
Had Germany spent 580 billion dollars
on nuclear instead of renewables,
it would already be getting
a hundred percent of its electricity
from clean energy sources,
and all of its transportation energy.
Now I think you might be wondering,
and it’s quite reasonable to ask:
Is nuclear power safe?
And what do you do with the waste?
Well, those are very reasonable questions.
Turns out that there’s been
scientific studies on this
going over 40 years.
This is just the most recent study,
that was done by the prestigious
British Medical Journal Lancet,
finds that nuclear power is the safest.
It’s easy to understand why.
According to the WHO,
about 7 million people die
annually from air pollution.
And nuclear plants don’t emit that.
As a result, the climate scientist
James Hansen looked at it.
He calculated that nuclear power
has already saved
almost two million lives to date.
It turns out that even wind energy
is more deadly than nuclear.
This is a photograph taken
of two maintenance workers
in the Netherlands,
shortly before one of them
fell to his death to avoid the fire,
and the other one was engulfed in flames.
Now, what about environmental impact?
I think a really easy way
to think about it
is that uranium fuel, which is
what we used to power nuclear plants,
is just really energy dense.
About the same amount
of uranium as this Rubik’s Cube
can power all of the energy
you need in your entire life.
As a consequence,
you just don’t need that much land
in order to produce
a significant amount of electricity.
Here you can compare the solar farm
I just described, Ivanpah,
to California’s last nuclear plant,
Diablo Canyon.
It takes 450 times more land
to generate the same amount of electricity
as it does from nuclear.
You would need 17
more solar farms like Ivanpah
in order to generate
the same output as Diablo Canyon,
and of course,
it would then be unreliable.
Well, what about the mining and the waste
and the material throughput.
This has been studied
pretty closely as well,
and it just turns out
that solar panels require 17 times
more materials than nuclear plants do,
in the form of cement,
glass, concrete, steel –
and that includes all the fuel
used for those nuclear plants.
The consequence is that what comes out
at the end, since its material throughput,
is just not a lot of waste from nuclear.
All of the waste from the Swiss
nuclear program fits into this room.
Nuclear waste is actually the only waste
from electricity production
that’s safely contained and internalized.
Every other way of making electricity
emits that waste
into the natural environment,
either as pollution or as material waste.
We tend to think of solar panels as clean,
but the truth is that there is no plan
to deal with solar panels
at the end of their 20 or 25-year life.
A lot of experts are actually
very concerned that solar panels
are just going to be shipped
to poor countries in Africa or Asia,
with the rest of our
electronic-waste stream,
to be disassembled,
often exposing people
to really high level of toxic elements,
including lead, cadmium and chromium,
elements that because they’re elements,
their toxicity never declines over time.
I think we have an intuitive sense
that nuclear is a really powerful
strong energy source
and that sunlight is really dilute
and diffuse and weak,
which is why you have to spread
solar collectors or wind collectors
over such a large amount of land.
Maybe that’s why nobody was surprised
when in the recent science-fiction
remake of Blade Runner,
the film opens with a very
dark dystopian scene
where California’s deserts have been
entirely paved with solar farms.
All of which, I think, raises
a really uncomfortable question:
In the effort to try to save the climate,
are we destroying the environment?
The interesting thing is
that over the last several hundred years,
human beings have actually
been trying to move away
from what you would consider
matter-dense fuels
towards energy-dense ones.
That means, really, from wood and dung
towards coal, oil, natural gas, uranium.
This is a phenomenon
that’s been going on for a long time.
Poor countries around the world
are in the process still
of moving away from wood
and dung as primary energies.
And for the most part,
this is a positive thing.
As you stop using wood
as your major source of fuel,
it allows the forests to grow back
and the wildlife to return.
As you stop burning wood in your home,
you no longer need to breath
that toxic smoke.
And as you go from coal
to natural gas and uranium
as your main sources of energy,
it holds out the possibility of basically
eliminating air pollution altogether.
There’s just this problem with nuclear –
While it’s been pretty popular to move
from dirtier to cleaner energy sources,
from energy-diffuse
to energy-dense sources,
nuclear is just really unpopular
for a bunch of historical reasons.
And as a consequence, in the past,
I and I think a lot of others
have sort of said,
“In order to deal with climate change,
we’re just going to need all the different
kinds of clean energy that we have.”
The problem is that it just
turns out not to be true.
You remember, I discussed
France a little bit ago.
France gets most of its
electricity from nuclear.
If France were to try to significantly
scale up solar and wind,
it would also have to significantly reduce
how much electricity it gets from nuclear.
That’s because in order to handle the huge
variability of solar and wind on the grid,
they would need to burn more natural gas.
Think of it this way,
it’s just really hard to ramp
up and down a nuclear plant
whereas I think we’re all pretty
familiar with turning natural gas
up and down on our stove.
A similar process works
in managing the grid.
Of course, it goes without saying
that oil and gas companies
understand this pretty well,
which is why we’ve seen them invest
millions of dollars in recent years
in promoting solar and wind.
This just raises, I think,
another challenging question,
which is that in places
that are using a lot of nuclear –
half of their grids that are
mostly nuclear and hydro –
going towards solar and wind
and other renewables
would actually increase carbon emissions.
I think a better alternative
is just to tell the truth.
That’s what a number
of scientists have been doing.
I mentioned earlier
that hundreds of thousands of birds
are killed every year by wind turbines;
what I didn’t mention
is that a million bats, at a minimum,
are killed every year by wind.
The consequence has been
that bat scientists
have been speaking out about this.
This particular bat species,
the hoary bat,
which is a migratory bat species,
is literally at risk
of going extinct right now
because of the significant
expansion of wind.
It’s not just wind, it’s also on solar.
The scientists who were involved
in creating the Ivanpah solar farm,
who were involved in clearing
that land, have been speaking out.
One of them wrote,
“Everybody knows that translocation
of desert tortoises doesn’t work.
When you’re walking
in front of a bulldozer,
crying and moving animals
and cacti out of the way,
it’s hard to think
that the project is a good idea.”
And now we can see these phenomena
at work at an international level.
In my home state of California,
we’ve been stuffing a lot of natural gas
into the side of a mountain
in order to handle all that
intermittent solar and wind.
It’s sprung a leak.
It was equivalent to putting
500,000 cars on the road.
And currently in Germany,
there’s protesters trying to block
a new coal mining project
that would involve destroying
the ancient Han back forest
in order to get to the coal underneath,
all in an effort to phase out nuclear
and expand solar and wind.
The good news is that I think
that people still care about nature enough
for these facts to matter.
We saw last year in South Korea
a citizen’s jury deliberated
for several months
weighing these different issues.
They had to decide whether they were
going to phase out nuclear
or keep it and expand it.
They started out 40%
in favor of expanding nuclear,
but after several months
and considering these issues,
they ended up voting 60%
to expand nuclear.
A similar phenomenon
just happened last week in Arizona.
The voters had a ballot initiative
to vote on whether or not
to continue with nuclear
or to phase it out and try to replace it
with natural gas and solar.
They ended up rejecting at 70 to 30.
And even here in Europe,
we saw the Netherlands is one of the first
countries in recent memory
to actually announce,
as they did last week,
that they’re going to start to increase
their reliance on nuclear power
in recognition that there’s just no way
they could generate significant amounts
of energy enough from solar and wind
to meet their climate targets.
I think it’s natural
that those of us that became
very concerned about climate change,
such a big environmental issue,
would gravitate towards
really romantic solutions
like harmonizing human civilization
with the natural world
using renewable energies.
But I think it’s also understandable
that as the facts have come in,
many of us have started to question
our prior beliefs and change our minds.
For me the question now is,
Now that we know that renewables
can’t save the planet,
are we going to keep
letting them destroy it?
Thank you very much.
(Applause)

94 Replies to “Why renewables can’t save the planet | Michael Shellenberger | TEDxDanubia”

  1. Finally, someone got enough courage to tell people the truth…. Although this is not something's by new, all these was already known some 50-60-70 years ago and this is why some countries kept developing nuclear plants and did not fall for renewables … France is one of such countries but there are more …

  2. We sould do campaign and save the environment and mitigate climate change impact ,,,from Nepal,,,,country of himalayan

  3. House cats DO NOT kill “billions of birds every year.” Cats do, but that includes outdoor cats , feral cats and wild cats (including large cats). The vast vast majority of birds killed by cats are eaten. Qualify your statements and don’t lie to make a point. I loved this talk but the whole thing is tinged with the stain of an obvious lie.

  4. I don't know if Schellenberger is a schill for the nuclear so much as the uranium mining industry.

    If we greatly increase nuclear fission to offset global warming we won't have the time much less the political motivation to try thorium gen if or any of the experimental designs.

    Schellenbers plan would basically mean a vast standardized mass production of status quo once through light water reactors from the 1970s.

    Once through light water uses only a tiny fraction of fissionable energy from uranium, generates huge amounts of waste and without breeders or reprocessing, the rest of the fuel now waste is hopefully buried somewhere.

    This would greatly greatly increase the waste problem, and once through uranium fuel is limited in supply. As is we could be running short in less than a century. Going 4 or 6 or 8 times current nuclear output with status quo nuclear means peak uranium in a mere generation or two.

  5. Windfarm enthusiasts probably need to read the following slowly and carefully. It is one major realization from about 13 years of R&D into "wind energy".
    Size MATTERS !

    1)
    "Wind turbines" as they are called, are in fact a wind Turbine turning an Alternator !! A Turbine-Alternator Device. A "TAD". This may seem to be being pedantic, but in fact it is not – because Turbines have Opposite "Economy of Size" to that of Alternators.
    Viz –
    A turbine of Twice the diameter, replaces 4 previous, but costs 8 times as much for materials (Area becomes 2 squared, Volume, 2 cubed x what it was).
    The One Alternator, however, (to replace the 4) costs only about Twice as much as any one of them. So the A-bill halves if we double the diameter of the "TAD"s, and use 1/4 as many, i.e.same size "farm", whilst the T-bill Doubles.
    The Total cost, of T+A, can be seen to be minimum for sizes where the T and the A cost about the same. Now by some remarkable piece of Cosmic serendipity ?, that size is neither a mile across – nor an inch across – but just happens to be a very convenient, man handleable, 0.5 to 1.5? m across. It is hard to justify building them much outside of this range, on economic grounds.

  6. Wow! People fall off of wind turbines? I wonder if people ever fall off cooling towers or if they ever die from mining radioactive materials. And why doesn't anyone ever discuss reducing energy consumption and becoming more efficient. And why is the cost difference between rooftop solar and solar farms never examined? Overall… I found this talk to be quite questionable.

  7. This guy is just a shill for the nuclear industry who loves to fudge facts and downplay risks that the are inherent with nuclear power.

  8. Fossil fuels are treated as a problem, and not as a solution. Fossil fuels have quite literally made our modern world possible. On every level, in every way. They are a highly concentrated form of highly portable energy, readily reducible to any number of uses and forms. Replacing them is thus extremely difficult. And ill-considered half-baked ideas which are economically non-viable won’t fix anything. It’ll make them much worse.

  9. Really? Yeah taking down forests for oil is fine. Don’t worry about the creatures that oil kills. Sounds like you ran into issues and then just said “ hmm oh well guess we can’t do anything”

  10. He neglects to include that in the same study on birds deaths in the US: nuclear – 327,000, fossil – 14.5million, wind 7,000! But even these numbers are dwarfed by the millions killed by power lines, buildings and cats (around 156 million). Even agricultural mowing kills significantly more birds. PV from the 1970s is still producing energy i.e. it has more than a 25 year lifespan. The reason why we need a large area is not as he says, because the sun provides little energy, it's because PV is still not efficient but that is improving rapidly. If we can unlock the quantum effects in photosynthesis then photon to electricity will be almost 100% efficient. PV farms have been shown to significantly increase biodiversity in an area when compared to monoculture e.g. when put into meadows. In other words it decreases habitat and species loss. Nuclear is heavily subsidised by governments in orders of magnitude above PV and wind. The subsidies come out of our taxes rather than through our electricity bills and so we don't see it every month i.e. what you pay through tax to nuclear plant owners is far greater than what you might pay in subsidies to PV and wind. He glosses over other issues and manipulates statistics as well. Most people do this to get others to believe them and so it pays to try and get a balanced view on what people use as reason in their arguments.

  11. This guy is only talking within the current paradigm of having big power stations / generating sites (of whatever kind renewable energy or nuclear) and having a national distribution grid that needs to be balanced out. We need to change this paradigm… having more local energy generation with solar PV on houses (so deserts do not need to be cleared) that is stored locally using battery storage, or compressed gas, that is used locally to recharge electric bikes and cars. We need to accept that we can't consume as much energy as we like and have a massive energy reduction and energy efficiency drive. We need to accept that we can't consume energy when we like so, for example, planning ahead to run things which aren't so time critical, like a washing machine, at times when power is available.

  12. It is very good to have open discussion with open mindset, to see what our possibilities really are. Feeling good and doing good are not always te same. We know we need the output to be zero emission by 2050, but we need people like Michael to really critically look what technologies we should use and which we should not use. I am not a fan of nucleair powerplants, mainly because of the risk of big disasters for example by terrorists. The other possibility is to use much less energy per person. But frankly I don't think that is realistic outcome in our democratic system. Nobody will vote for no cars and no flighttickets. At the same tame, earths population is growing and big countries like Chine have an enourmes economical growth which is causing more CO2 output in the next decades then Europe and the US combined.

  13. How can TED let this guy talk and spread this rubbish? Wind more dangerous than nuclear? WIND?! Come on…!

  14. This talk was awesome. This knowledge has been around forever but scientist are not always good at articulating and explaining. Nuclear power will power our future until we develop something better.

  15. I'm a pilot and fly over SoCal and Nevada desert frequently. The massive swaths of solar, both PV and other stuff like the Ivanpah complex are truly mind-boggling. No environmentalist would tolerate that much land consumed by landfills or really anything else, but because solar is on the "good" list it gets a pass.

  16. the current proposed Nuclear technologies use the Nuclear Waste! It is a terrific way to get rid of all of our planet's nuclear waste! WIN WIN scenario!

  17. This guy is a stoolie. Does he not know a sun simulator is being used?? Nuclear plants were created to leak and help radiate the atmosphere and land. Dr Steven Greer, tells how free electricity can be taken from the atmosphere, with this info being held back from us all. With all the cell towers intended for going up, there won't be any room for wind towers.

    If politicians stopped using private jets, that would help the atmosphere more than ridding humans from the face of the earth. Also, we know that Al Gore invented Global Warming and has back tracked many times when info on our going into a mini ice age, comes up.
    Their idea for global warming, is eliminating us from breathing out, and to stop cows passing wind, with money taxed given to Al Gore, etc.,

    And…. California is finished, like Seattle and San Fransico. Germany is almost lost. The best people are getting out and the worst people, those who caused the destruction, remain behind big walls.

  18. I would be more supportive if someone just really quit the sugar coat and gave us the choose your poison options.

    You can go with nuclear, and yes there will be lots of waste and contamination, and yes there will be a meltdown somewhere every few years , and a major Chernobyl scale catastrophie every decade or two, and yes there will be more proliferation risks and yes maybe a terrorist nuke blowing up a city per decade. Many tenns of thousands of direct or mostly indirect deaths from decarbonization to fission.
    Or you can forgo nuclear, and accept incredible mass migrations, millions dying from famines and disease, trillions in climate damage, and greatly increased risk of global nuclear war.

    I think nuclear energy really sucks, but maybe a little scary realism on why it might be the only realistic option might be more persuasive.

  19. 2:20 The big bladed wind turbines have been done away with. There is a new way of designing wind turbines that makes then harmless to all birds. They are called "wingless vortex", and "vertical axis" turbines, and are long overdue. Those big bladed monstrosities should nave have been built!

  20. Renewable energy will save the planet through decentralization! The government is corrupt and the source of pollution everywhere! Forget global warming. The government has ruined the environment EVERYWHERE.

  21. The claim that in Germany had started building nuclear power plants when they started investing in green energies all of their energy (including transport) would now be green is quite something. The UK first proposed Hinkley as the site of a new nuclear power plant in 2010. It's expected to be finished in 2025 (so realistically won't be finished till several years after that). So more than 15 years. Hinkley is considered very risky by EDF and the French government.

    Flamannville the new French nuclear power plant was proposed in 2005, it's not online yet and won't be till 2020 at the earliest. The French haven't bought a nuclear power station on line in 20 years.

    To replace all of the power in Germany with nuclear power would require ~21 Hinkley plants. Where is expertise to build 21 of them coming from? When were they meant to have start building them?

    Also how did all their transport magically become electric…

  22. Renewable's cost more, Im on a low income so I couldnt afford to heat my house if the cost went up much more. Im disabled and I live in a remote part of Scotland so I need a car or Id be totally cut off, I cant afford an electric car and my food shopping is delivered by a petrol van as is my post each day. In winter I need the heating on or I get very ill, the point Im trying to make is that saving the planet is great when you have plenty of time and money to throw into the issue. Not all of us do and its good to hear this guy telling the truth and shinning a light on this issue. Im fed up of greenies telling me Im the problem, I need a car, I need cheap heating.

  23. I'm surprised this guy didn't talk about solar panels and technology being more efficient and better overtime. Yes, solar is not the only solution and nuclear can provide more energy, but if we increase efficiency of the solar panels or create transparent solar cells that can be placed above forest while still allowing photosynthesis, wouldn't that be important to underline? They have already started to develop this technology.

  24. Oh dear (Oh Dear!). I felt highly uncomfortable watching this man take us through the 'facts'… of his long-journey from young, hopeful, idealist-envrinmentalist to embracing nuclearas the solution! No, it is not the solution as many people have argued.
    The thing is we all do NOT share your 'intuition. So many parts I baulked at his reasoning.
    I do believe technology itself – of COURSE (something he denied), will be able to find a way to stop having birds die in the 'wind turbines' -he called them wind near the latter parts fo the talk; but how do they cause harm to the environment apart from that.
    And an over-abundance of electricity generated is NOT a problem: Denmark sold its surplus to the UK, a win-win situation

  25. And yet not one single conservative party in the western world has latched onto this as a counter to the left-wing "green economy" nonsense.

  26. Why the dishonesty? If nuclear is the way to go then it should stand on it own merits. No need to lie about Natural Gas storage leaks being caused by solar and wind… Rooftop solar may be more expensive than commercial solar but that is the only argument you made against it before disregarding it for the rest of your lecture. You implied that solar and wind are the reason California energy prices have increased (not true). Again, why taint a good argument with falsehoods?

  27. So the birds are just collateral damage ..wind turbines solar panels hydro energy old tec with serious issues…put your money in what France and Britain are trying to achieve …fusion…there plant in northern France is close to completion…if it does happen then they can stick the above were the sun don't shine..but co 2 and methane will continue to be produced in enormous quantities from the Arctic tundra….try stopping that

  28. If the scientists keep ignoring overpopulation, population denial, it's all over no matter what else is done.

  29. Our govt is taken hostage by delusional gurus mostly from areas where realistically it's not meant to support large populations .For instance cities like Los Angeles Las Vegas and even San Diego that try to incorporate all this basically will reach the point that migrations are going to end up leaving or dying. The West naturally cannot sustain itself on the long run because of lack of water. And being a seismic zone the actual framework of the United States will eventually separate itself geologically and politically.We already see it happening and the loss of farmland I would say soon the United States will not support it's standard of living and even the population will become a third world country again.

  30. global climate change has gotten the water cycle out of balance [ too much liquid] seas rise added surface area with the increase in sunlight [ ozone depletion ] makes storms stronger with inordinate amounts of rainfall …the added weight of this water is aggravating the tectonic plates around the pacific ring of fire leading to seismic activity that will awaken volcanos Earthwide also the added pressure will cause the need to vent and im sure the volcanoes will be more than happy to do this…causing a nuclear ( volcanic winter [ Yellowstone alone] …it is irreversible…sorry …please read revelation 11:18 the latter part of this verse says " and the time came for God to destroy those destroying the earth" can any of you people see any time man has put into motion something that could possibly threaten our existence? think, you.

  31. We don't want Iran going nuclear because they could use their oil as means to manipulate the economies of Europe and sell the electricity from nuclear to take advantage of the whole region. This would definitely destabilize the nation's bringing nuclear war. Actually it's in our interests to stop Iran and take out their nuclear facilities in fact their military whole nine yards. So I say us staying nuclear is a deterrent and at same time we can harness that energy . And stop playing the old fashioned oil bs game

  32. Michael Shellenberger forgot to check how many deaths were caused by nuclear generation. How many people in Europe have problems with thyroid including myself. Iodine tablets in each home is not a solution. Anyway…we still do not have a backup for coal phasing out. It has to be a large mix of different technologies. PV seems to be more reliable than wind. Maybe someday we will see 50% of panel efficiency.

  33. Everyone should watch the documentary “future by design” and realize that we’ve messed up so much that we would have to change how we do almost everything instead of trying to change a few things to work in harmony with the millions of other bad things we do.

  34. They should create gym machines that allow the user to have resistance while also powering a machine that creates energy that is dispensed into the city.

    Or even machines you can have for your own home where you can do something as simple as walking to provide electricity for their home.
    You’ll have more physical health in the community and teach people to work for what they want.

    Idk I’m no scientist but I bet it’s possible. It could also employ a lot of people

  35. Nuclear is great, just remember Chernobyl, thousands squarekilometers became wasteland, 59.000 human affected radioactivity. In Hungary in 2003 was also an accidental, only fortune saved them. It made by german engineers…

  36. NOTHING can "save" the planet, as "the planet" has already undergone MUCH worse before there were even humans on the earth.

  37. The video rants on and on about birds that are killed by solar and wind and not really any suggestions of some obvious ways to prevent that from happening. We know how to set up laser systems and net screens to prevent birds from entering fruit orchards but somehow we can't do that with renewable energy so we just have to go back to a power source that actually is more expensive (yeah, nuclear today is more expensive than solar).

    There are plenty of ways to store energy, he mentions water dams but does not expand on why it shouldn't work. Further more we don't need 100% energy storage capacity, we just need the intermittency factor. We don't use as much electricity during night as during day and it is not night all over the world at the same time.

  38. My biggest issue with the recent climate hysteria is, that sooo many people act if they know the only solution(s). Renewable energy could end up being a "bringing cats to Australia to get rid of the rats" scenario. In order to pull our heads out of this leash we'll need a lot of clever people who are able to think several steps ahead like chess-master.

  39. There is only one way to reduce the impact of humans on the planet. Reduce the number of humans impacting the planet.

  40. Instead of questioning how we can produce more (clean) energy, the question should be “how can we use less (renuables) ?”

  41. This is a very good video. As for Germany, Germany has spent almost 1000b euros on renewables and has, effectively, not reduced its CO2 emissions. This is mainly because they could not close any coal power plants in the west part of the country and had to import power from Poland, which uses lignite to generate power. In summary, Germany may have a lot of renewables, but it has not solved the original problem, which was the reduction of CO2. When they phase out nuclear it will be a disaster.
    Focusing on just increasing renewables as your metric makes no sense, the metric should be, what we do to reduce CO2. If we do something which does not affect CO2, stop doing it and work out what you should do. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is commonly referred to as the definition of insanity.

  42. Show this speach in the german parliament please!!! We desperately need this, because those people from the green party keep destroying our environment in order to save it… and all because they are UNEDUCATED!!! They don't know what they are doing!!!

  43. Interesting talk, but he doesnt adress the fact that Uranium is a finite resource, and that enriching it requires a huge amount of energy so it is not carbon neutral. I'd like to hear him about that.

  44. The planet is doing just fine, the planet is taking care of itself like it always has, the planet will still be here and doing fine, long after we are gone.

  45. Regardless of which side of this debate each of us come from we need to be having this type of honest discussion and follow facts and data.

  46. He missed some really important points but overall it was a good and thought-provoking talk. Probably the main points he missed are:
    1. it is only a matter of time before nuclear plants or waste facilities are targeted by terrorists or simply become casualties of war
    2. the placement of these power generation sources matters a lot. You will only kill bats with windmills if the windmills are in certain locations, and not at sea, for example.
    3. deserts still have life, of course, but the environmental impact of clearing a square mile of desert doesn't begin to compare with clearing a square mile of rain forest (both in terms of numbers and diversity of lifeforms affected)

  47. Getting rid of existing nuclear is a mistake, but the concerns listed above about solar are mostly off-base. Ivanpah is a solar thermal plant, not a solar PV plant. PV panels do not burn up birds in flight. Solar thermal was pushed as a possible solution to the intermittency problem, but this approach has largely been abandoned in favor of battery storage. There is also interest in using solar to produce hydrogen or other fuels to provide for longer term load matching. PV panels are showing up on ranches, where they provide shade for lifestock and grasses, and actually increase productivity (reduce land use). Tearing up large desert areas is a mistake, and not a requirement for solar. The talk notes that solar panels are more material intensive than nuclear on a per energy basis, but this is a generalization. There is an interest in solar panels designed as roofing panels, in which case the net material use approaches zero. The talk claims solar panels contain lead, chromium, and cadmium. Lead can be found in soldered connections, but if California's DTSC can be believed, this is only true of older panels, as non-lead solders are available. Cadmium is found is found in Cd/Te panels, but not in the more common silicon panels. DTSC doesn't even list chromium as a problem. Inverters are considered to be electronic waste, and are required to be recycled as such. The cost examples are apples versus oranges. California and Germany are paying for the replacement of existing nuclear with new renewables. The French electric costs are not inflated by replacement costs. In the U.S. installed solar now averages $3/watt before tax credits. The estimated degradation rates of panels appears to be approaching about 0.4% per year. Inverters are now available with 25 year warranties. The kwh/watt of panel varies with location. I am getting about 1.5kwh/watt in a mediocre location (morning shade and fog, and a non-optimal slant). As a rough guide this gives 36 kwh/watt over the 25 year life of the inverter. This works out to 8.3¢/kwh, which is less than half the cost of energy from PG&E in California. The cost drops to about 5.5¢/kwh if a new inverter at about 70¢/watt is installed at the 25 year point (0% discount rate). The extra cost from PG&E pays for the grid connection, storage, administration, maintenance, profit, and the accountants know what else. The EIA's current estimate for new nuclear power is about 9¢/kwh, so the cost of solar is comparable and maybe even favorable compared to nuclear at this time. Only time will tell how this shakes out economically in the future.
    Conclusion: solar need not be an environmental or economic disaster.

  48. "I was totally wrong about the solution to man-made Climate Change, but keep believing me when I tell you it's a big problem."

  49. I'm already set on nuclear being the solution. now all we need is to find a way to artificially make uranium. Later we would need a place to put the waste but still its the best oportunity

  50. I listened to this guys talk because i thought it might bring an alternate view to the debate on the balance of energy production and the environment. But ultimately his view was just as biased as the petro-capitalists. He makes the very valid point that alternative energy production (as it currently stands) has serious logistical, technical and enviromental shortcomings, but he then goes on to make a case for the alternative; nuclear. He trots out all the benefits while hardly even mentioning the waste issue and the danger of a nuclear economy that turbo charges the arms race. Its myopic, disingenuous and deceitful. All the while cluelessly wearing a T shirt of marie curie..a woman who died of radiation exposure.

  51. Fusion Reaktors are the future! Like non radioactivity and no chance of an nuclear outbreack at an failture. Cant wait to see this technology getting from development into the usual working progress and providing high amount of energy every day.

  52. Good grief we just need to have an energy break through. One thing that we can use that is clean and doesn't destroy the land and animals. 🤔

  53. The left's mania about renewable energy has nothing to do with saving the planet from an imminent global warming Apocalypse.  No, it has everything to do with government control major sectors of the ecoonomy, in particular energy production, energy intensive manufacturing and ultimately of the entire economy.  One need only look at the Green New Deal to understand this is a pure government control power play.

  54. I can‘t believe that so little of you realise how wrong he is. This guy doesn’t think ahead! Every nuclear reactor is a threat as we saw in Fukushima and Tschernobyl! Not even mentioning how he ignores that „people are concerned about nuclear waste“
    He basically says: „nothing really happened yet so let‘s go on“
    That‘s similar to standing in front of a ticking bomb like „Don‘t worry guys nothing happened yet“
    We have to find better solutions -true! In how to store energy more efficiently, for instance!
    Or implanting solar cells into various things, maybe. We need to keep trying.

    Or create fusion reactors-that‘d be cool!

  55. "Modern" nuclear tech uses the existing nuclear waste as fuel …
    therefore
    zero nuclear refinement or new waste creation! WIN WIN scenario.

    Check out Bill Gate's Terra Power, for example.

  56. Switch the world to all nuclear energy. And the answer to what to do with the waste, is simple. Launch it all into space

  57. everything absorb heat and nuklear produces heat that melts the icereserve and when the icereserve is gone earths thermostat is dead – the end

  58. Save yourselves 17:33 minutes of your life.
    Environmentalists are self loving idiots. Renewable energy is destroying the planet.
    Nuclear power is the only rational solution.

  59. What this talk fails to talk about is cost. Nuclear power costs much more than wind power and now even solar power because costs have come down. The costs of nuclear power seems to have gone up, with the most recent nuclear plants built in Georgia costing 15 cents per KwH. Could we use nuclear power if they got that cost down, sure. But states are having to subsidize nuclear plants that are already built to keep them running. We need to get away from carbon fuels and the best way to do that is to tax carbon fuels instead of other taxes, like sales taxes on non energy products, property taxes or income taxes.

  60. WRONF Answer. You go from a rubik cube of uranium to the land covered by the different plants, ignoring the question of how much ore do you have to mine to get a rubiks cube worth or uranium. It just no longer exists in that kind of density or you would still have low grade nuclear chain reactions in the veins of ore.
    I live near two reactors. One, Three Mile Island, has already had an accident, the other Peach Bottom had a secuirity issue which was resolved by the operator firiing the security contractor and starting their own secuirity division. However, the whiistle blower was not hired for the new security division which rases questions about how serious the operator is about secruity. We were told in the 50s qnd 60s that nuclear power was safe and so cheap and plentiful it would not be worth metering. Yeah. about that, where is my free energy?
    One of the issues is that he is clearly thinking of solar as a utility driven effort of big plants, when it is actually also an energy freedom issue doing away with the large plants. I think California already has a company renting warehouse roofs to install panels on unused space. There should not be a public school building without an array on the roof (most energy use in a school is during the day) and likewise privae homes should be installiing solar, with tax subsidies going to homes instead of big energy companies. And there is not mention, significant for California, of wind and tidal energy. But for me and a liifetime of false prommises. nuclear is an "only whenabsolutely necessary " solutiion, in no way a first choice.

  61. 10:45 in and he's really downplaying the Nuclear Waste issue. His statement of having the capabilities of storing Nuclear Waste long term have already been disproved. There are many sites with leaking barrels of radioactive waste that are still trying to make a Nuclear Waste container that lasts the amount of time these container's would have to (1,000+ year's) They still haven't built the "Long Term Storage" area, with any state that is told they may have this area in their state fighting hard to keep it out. I'd rather deal with cement and building waste that's not radioactive then to deal with a smaller amount of Nuclear Waste that could cause enormous and irreversible damage to our environment for 1,000's of year's!! Having said all of that, Nuclear Energy is less costly and relatively cleaner in the short term to produce. I just wish they would stop building them right on a Coastline, Seismic Fault Zone or on top of an Aquifer (or any combination thereof). Yes I know they need a large, steady intake of water to run a Nuclear plant, and hopefully they'll find better sources of water. 1 idea, have them build a large water reservoir that would be primarily filled by "wasted" rain and runoff. Even doing that there would be a trade off. That water was being used by something to grow/live. Just no easy answer to how we are going to provide enough environmentally safe energy at an affordable price for future generations and the projected population growth.

  62. The planet will never be saved as long as selfish people keep dividing us. They call it discrimination. But they just point out stuff because they want power over you and the situation.

  63. Problems:
    1. not all countries have nuclear tech
    2. poor countries would end up like Chernobyl due to lower standards
    3. even developed ones like Japan would end up with places like Fukushima.
    4. Those are just facts
    5. Nuclear is like 5% of the worlds energy consumption so go ahead multiply Chernobyl and Fukushima 20 times and you know what? Multiply it 2 more time because poor countries would most likely have more accidents. So good luck with that world pal with 40 Chernobyls and 40 Fukishimas. 100% energy from nuclear is simply a disaster. Better walk around with a face mask because of coal smoke instead of full body suit because of glowing birds around you.

  64. He doesn't discuss the potential for nuclear disasters when using nuclear energy in certain areas of the world prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Look at what happened in Japan with an earthquake recently. Not to mention the potential for human error such as 3 mile island and Chernobyl.

  65. So use an engery source which pollutes for 1000s of years with one output or one with short term impact and many applications? If all the resouses put into solar and wind were directed at clean energy from fossil we would have a better fuel source.

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