If Pelosi is so Concerned About Climate Change, Why Does She Oppose Yucca Mountain?

According to an article in Politico, Nancy Pelosi called climate change the “existential threat of our time” during her opening address as the new speaker of the House, and said Congress must “put an end to the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future.

If Pelosi believes climate change is an existential threat to human existence, how can she also oppose building a permanent repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain? After all, nuclear power is the only source of electricity we have that is both available 24/7 and emits zero carbon dioxide emissions.

In fact, despite the billions squandered on wind and solar power in Minnesota in recent decades, two good old nuclear power plants built in the 1970’s still accounted for more carbon-dioxide free electricity than wind and solar combined in 2016, the most recent year data are available from the Energy Information Administration.

This trend holds true nationally, as well, as the amount of electricity generated by nuclear power obliterates the combined contributions of wind and solar to our electricity generation. Even hydroelectric power produces more electricity than wind.

This is because renewables are simply not up to the task of providing electricity for an advanced society because their electricity output depends on the weather, and electricity demand does not. This is why when nuclear plants retire, it is coal and natural gas generation that replace them, not wind and solar, as the figure from the Energy Information Administration clearly demonstrates:

The refusal of politicians to take all necessary means to facilitate the adoption of nuclear power makes it difficult to take their claims about an oncoming climate apocalypse seriously. If Pelosi were truly as concerned about the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions as she claims to be, permitting a permanent nuclear waste disposal site would be on the top of her climate agenda. Instead, we get grandstanding about the climate while she actually does little to make meaningful reductions in emissions.

Climate change advocates in Minnesota also have their own problems with inconsistency. Certain groups claim climate change will devastate the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but they have said little about repealing the law that actually forbids the construction of new nuclear plants in our state.

If our lawmakers want to be taken seriously about reducing CO2 emissions, they must legalize new nuclear power plants in Minnesota.