remember, tuesday is soylent green day (thomas friedman is still a schmuck edition)
Thomas Friedman said we had six months to know whether Soylent Green was really worth it, even though it's made of people!
How A Failed Establishment Opinionmeister Learned to Stop Worrying and Stay Relevant, or, Environmentalism Is Doomed, Doomed I Say If Friedman Is Coming Around (via Counterpunch):
Not long ago, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was America's top op ed cheerleader for George W. Bush's attack on Iraq, portraying it as a "war for democracy."
Now, in a landmark Times Magazine article, he claims naming rights to a "green" movement for nuke power and "clean coal," portraying them as part of the answer to global warming.
This is VERY dangerous stuff.
Normally, a social movement would welcome the embrace of a New York Times columnist. For a major establishment mouthpiece to start spouting ideas for which so many have marched should be a deeply gratifying accomplishment.
But Friedman's sales pitch also sanctifies nukes and coal. In a single horrifying phrase, he writes in the Times Magazine that "to reach the necessary scale of emissions-free energy will require big clean coal or nuclear power stations, wind farms and solar farms."
Thus, in Tom Friedman's new eco-Orwellian "greenspeak," atomic energy and "clean coal" have become the equivalents of solar and wind power.
This is a suicidal double deception.
"Clean coal" is the ultimate atmospheric oxymoron. Fossil fuel corporations justify it with "carbon sequestration," the idea of pumping CO2 emissions into caverns and other underground storage facilities.
In other words: Yucca Mountain for the coal business. The technology is unproven and the gas is certain, sooner or later, to leak out. Continued coal mining---even with a green veneer---will devastate landscapes, kill miners, cause acid rain and prolong the world's dependence on fossil fuel.
Worse is the proven 50-year failure of nuke power. Atomic reactors are pre-deployed weapons of radioactive mass destruction. Nothing can guarantee their safety from a terror attack.
Fifty years ago the Price-Anderson Act gave federal protection to save reactor owners from paying for a major disaster. No private insurer has stepped into the void, not for the past generation of reactors, nor for the future.
Friedman mourns that the melt-down at Three Mile Island caused huge quantities of carbon-emitting coal to be burned for replacement power. But if the $900 million it took to build TMI had been invested in real green energy and efficiency, all those emissions could have been cheaply and safely avoided, then, now and into the future. Take the additional $2 billion required to deal with the seething radioactive mess and we could have had a countryside layered with safe, clean, cheap solar and wind farms.
Friedman never interviews the thousands of central Pennsylvanians who demanded the nuke not be built in the first place. Nor does he mention the 2400 locals who've tried for two decades to get a class action trial on the death and disease caused by the 1979 melt-down's radioactive emissions. To this day, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not know how much fallout escaped from TMI, where it went, who it affected or what harm it did.
Friedman instead talks to TMI's newly greenwashed corporate biggies. More nukes would be a great solution to global warming, they say. But they complain that a new reactor could not come on line for, perhaps, fifteen years. And private investment won't do the trick. Government loan guarantees will be required, they moan, because when it comes to energy, the market "doesn't work."
That's an amazing admission for a free market ideologue like Friedman. What he can't face is that the market DOES work for nuclear power, because nobody in their right mind will invest in it without gargantuan subsidies and insurance protection. Only a Bush-style intervention like the one for "democracy" in Iraq will finance new reactor construction.