An article by the always interesting Peter Huber in the excellent City Journal (Spring 2010) is well worth reading. It is about Stewart Brand, founder and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, the Bible of the Green movement. Huber notes that Brand now admits that the Greens were wrong on a number of major issues. As Brand writes, “Cities are Green. Nuclear energy is Green. Genetic engineering is Green.”
Brand thus joins the list of prominent Greens who have flipped and now support nuclear power. The list includes Gwyneth Cravens, who went from the activist scaremonger who helped kill the Shoreham reactor to the author of “Power to Save the World,” a massive, detailed defense of nuclear power. It also includes James Hansen, the NASA climatologist who has trumpeted global warming more than anyone else, as well as founders and other bigwigs of Green organizations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
But Huber is rightly nervous about whether these Greens who now favor nukes will flip again, if global warming theory comes into disfavor. After all, their thinking seems still to be premised on the eco-faith idea that man’s flourishing (reproducing and growing economically) is inherently sinful (now explained in terms of the production of carbon dioxide, but explainable in any number of other ways should the need arise). I share his anxiety. That is why I think the best case for nuclear power rests on the grounds of economic growth and national security.