Christopher Mims

Christopher Mims's dystopian non-fiction is sought after by an ever-growing roster of publications.

Nervous China to break up with nuclear, run back to coal

China is suspending its development of nuclear power plants amid rising public anxiety. As the country’s economy develops rapidly, nuclear power had been seen as key to answering the need for rapid growth in production of electricity. Some 28 reactors – or 40 per cent of the world’s total under construction – are being built in China. The country’s current capacity is 10.8 gigawatts, though analysts expected a target of up to 80GW in the coutnry’s new five-year plan due at the end of this month. Meanwhile, a Peabody energy executive says coal will benefit from the move away from …

the kids are all right

Actor/activist Mark Ruffalo will follow you on Twitter if you donate to Japan relief

Last seen agitating for a ban on fracking, actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo is now using Twitter as a platform to raise money for relief efforts in Japan. Dude is following and retweeting the sh*t out of anyone with good news about the island nation, and/or anyone who pledges to donate. Go Mark go!

not in my subaru outback

Liberal NIMBYism: the most despicable form of hypocrisy?

Prospect Park’s new bike lane is worse than airborne weaponized AIDSPhoto: shannonvsimmsIn staunchly liberal enclaves all over the country, citizens who profess to progressive environmentalism in the abstract are thwarting local efforts to increase the sustainability of their immediate environment. Whether it’s suing over bike lanes in Park Slope, Brooklyn, or blocking a bus rapid transit system in Berkeley, Calif., the children of the summer of love appear to have grown up, grown old, and grown immune to the needs of their descendants. Ryan Avent, online economics editor for The Economist, says that there is something even more damaging to the environment …

the day after tomorrow happens to be today

Con: Nuclear power is expensive, risky, and some of its proponents are kind of annoying

Today, many outlets report that it’s very likely that the #2 reactor at Daiichi is in full meltdown. There is a strong possibility that rising radiation levels from other sources (such as a pool of spent nuclear fuel rods that is heating up) will force the 50 remaining workers at the plant to evacuate. That would lead to full meltdown of the three previously operational reactors. Pro-nuclear bon vivant William Tucker is suddenly quite popular on the print version of the lecture circuit, and he argues that Japan does not face another Chernobyl. His thesis hinges on the fact that …

nuclear renaissance men

Pro: Japan’s terrible disaster is no reason to stop building nuclear power

Japan is now facing a worst-case scenario for its Daiichi nuclear power plant. But that’s no reason to stop building new nuclear power plants, say a bevy of pundits. Their reasons are myriad. Some, like one Wall Street Journal editor, make the economic argument that all human endeavors are fraught with risk, so this one eensy weensy catastrophe is no reason to continue to unfairly burden nuclear power plants with “artificial obstacles and delay.” Others, like Kevin Bullis at Technology Review, point out that Japan’s Daiichi plant is a “Generation II” type plant, which means it relies on pumps to …

electricity too lethal to meter

So much for all that new nuclear energy we were going to build

Photo: Joost J. Bakker The possibly-impending meltdown of three very shaky nuclear reactor cores at the Daiichi plant in Fukushima, Japan, isn’t doing much for the public image of nuclear power, a source of energy about which fans of planet Earth are divided. Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones‘ enviro reporter on the Hill, speculates on Twitter that the biggest Senate proponents of new nuclear power are kind of freaking out right about now: I wonder if it’s telling that the office of every strongly pro-nuclear senator appears to be in a full-staff meeting right now. Nuclear used to be the only …