In the late 1940’s, following the first use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Americans were ecstatic about the potential benefits of nuclear energy. Utopic imaginations painted pictures of a world with limitless energy, utilizing nuclear power for everything from powering cars to creating radioactive crops that would produce twice their normal yield. These hopes quickly turned to fears as black rain started pouring on Hiroshima and nuclear tests had unexpected and disastrous consequences. Despite these fears, nuclear power can still be considered a “green” technology because it produces energy without creating carbon emissions. Today, nuclear power plants provide about 20 percent of the United States’ electricity, and nuclear power is the third largest producer of electricity in the country. If framed as a solution to climate change, and if plants are given the proper funding and maintenance to increase safety, nuclear power could provide emission-free electricity on a wider scale. Continue reading “Embracing Nuclear Power as a Solution to Climate Change”
On July 4, car giant Volvo announced its plan to suspend all production of non-electric or hybrid cars by the year 2019. This means that Volvo will not produce any new diesel or gasoline-powered cars in only two years. In reaction to this announcement, France’s new cabinet released an ambitious plan to ban all diesel and petroleum-fueled car sales by 2040. Though France is not the only country to take this approach to clean energy transition, regulating the sale of petroleum-fueled cars is still very rare. France’s ecology minister stated that the new standard was “a way to fight against air pollution.” Though this move is being applauded by many environmentalists, is the French government’s regulation of petroleum fueled cars really better for the environment? And how will this new regulation influence socioeconomic inequality?