The Nuke-Coal Tradeoff

In principle, you could substitute renewable energy for nuclear power. In practice:

HENRY DERWENT: [Japan’s] plans to meet their Kyoto target will have to be changed because they’re going to be emitting more.

EVE TROEH: Emitting more carbon as they make up for lost nuclear power with coal, gas and oil. Though, given the disaster, Japan could renegotiate its Kyoto goals. Europe is set to emit more as well. Germany has taken nuclear plants offline. Switzerland has suspended future projects. More fossil fuels there, too.

Nothing I’ve seen out of Japan really suggests to me that that this is a wise tradeoff. The main lesson I’m seeing is that getting hit by a 9.0 earthquake is an unimaginably horrible disaster. Fossil fuels are still dirty and dangerous.