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Robert Costanza's Posts

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Three ways to make nuclear power compete on the free market

Even in France, nuclear power isn't perfect.Photo: Gretchen MahanThis post is coauthored by Cutler Cleveland, Bruce Cooperstein, and Ida Kubiszewski. It's a condensed version of an article in the April issue of the Solutions journal, based at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. As the Japanese nuclear disaster shows, the cleanup costs after a nuclear meltdown are borne in large part by governments and taxpayers rather than the industry. Paying for cleanup is just one of many hidden costs of nuclear energy that make it difficult to judge the value of nuclear power. Many countries, including the …

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A system to control climate change and reduce poverty

The following is a guest essay. ----- Stabilizing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere at a level that will fulfill the mandate of the UN Framework Concentration on Climate Change to avoid "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" will require drastic departures from business as usual. Here we introduce one attractive response to this challenge that may seem visionary or idealistic today but that could well become realistic once we reach a tipping point regarding climate change that opens a window of opportunity for embracing major changes. No silver bullet exists capable of solving the complex and …

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Scaling back our energy-hungry lifestyles means more of what matters, not less

The work of recent Nobel Peace Prize winners Al Gore and the IPCC, along with a veritable mountain of other evidence, clearly lays out the reality and potential costs of human-induced climate change. Most analyses have concluded that we can and must keep our economies growing while addressing the climate challenge; we need only reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we produce. We can do this, they say, by using more efficient light bulbs, driving more fuel-efficient cars, better insulating our homes, buying windmills and solar panels, etc. While we agree that these things need to …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living