Nuclear power has a very low carbon footprint, and produces energy efficiently and for considerably long periods of time. Sensible nations, while taking appropriate safety precautions, would invest in an energy infrastructure that mixes both renewable energy sources and nuclear power in order to cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions while satiating their energy needs.
However, the recent Fukushima incident in Japan – which has, to date, killed no one from radiation exposure – has thrown a huge spanner in the works. It was clearly overblown as the main issue with the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and not, as many point out, the nearly 16,000 people who died in the resulting tsunami.
This, sadly, has convinced many that nuclear power is a danger and should not be invested in. Those cautious about nuclear power must reassess the risks. In the entire history of nuclear power plant operation, there have been just 56 deaths related to major catastrophic incidents.
On the other hand, air pollution alone, driven largely by fossil fuel-fired power plants and traffic, kill tens of millions of people every single year. Climate change will lead to more famine, more war, an economic crash, and more destruction via natural disasters, and already, tens of thousands die each year as an indirect consequence of the rising mercury.
Climate change is the problem that makes all other problems worse. Paris is a good start, yes – but it’s nowhere near enough to stop a nightmarish near-future.
Part of the answer lies in renewable energy, but it's not all that needs to be invested in. majeczka/Shutterstock