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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Jane Fonda caused global warming

From the NY Times: Jane Fonda's 1979 movie The China Syndrome, the opening of which was eerily followed twelve days later by the accident at Three Mile Island (T.M.I), caused a nationwide panic which effectively halted the growth of nuclear power in the US. The result: a huge increase in coal-fired electrical generating capacity, which now accounts for 40% of the energy-related CO2 emissions in the US:

The T.M.I. accident was, according to a 1979 President’s Commission report, “initiated by mechanical malfunctions in the plant and made much worse by a combination of human errors.” Although some radiation was released, there was no meltdown through to the other side of the Earth — no “China syndrome” — nor, in fact, did the T.M.I. accident produce any deaths, injuries or significant damage except to the plant itself.

What it did produce, stoked by “The China Syndrome,” was a widespread panic. The nuclear industry, already foundering as a result of economic, regulatory and public pressures, halted plans for further expansion. And so, instead of becoming a nation with clean and cheap nuclear energy, as once seemed inevitable, the United States kept building power plants that burned coal and other fossil fuels. Today such plants account for 40 percent of the country’s energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions.

Anyone hunting for a global-warming villain can’t help blaming those power plants — and can’t help wondering too about the unintended consequences of Jane Fonda.

(ht: Ann Althouse )

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