Senator Lamar Alexander was President of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville when I was a grad student there. He served as Governor of the State of Tennessee 1979-1991 and as the U.S. Secretary of Education 1991-1993. In 2001 he was named the Roy M. and Barbara Goodman Family Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Service at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. With such an august background, one might expect the Senator to be fairly literate about the facts of nuclear power in the U.S. and abroad.
In an email to me dated January 17, 2014, he pointed out that “wasteful wind subsidies” by the federal government to promote wind power as an alternative to fossil fuel in Tennessee does not produce sufficient return in Tennessee with its relatively low wind resource to justify the subsidy. He went on to claim that “Furthermore, windmills are destroying the environment in the name of saving the environment. For example, you can see their flashing lights for 20 miles, and you would have to stretch wind turbines the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia, to equal the power produced by eight nuclear plants on one square mile each – and you would still need the nuclear plants or some other form of power generation for when the wind doesn’t blow.” Continue reading
Fox News Channel and the Wall Street Journal Opinion pages are overwhelmingly misleading when it comes to climate science. Not surprised? When Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed references to climate science in those two news outlets, they found it was even worse than they thought. The news was reported by Jean Sideris, the Outreach Coordinatorfor the UCS Climate & Energy Program.
UCS’s snapshot analysis shows that “over a six-month period at Fox News Channel, 93 percent of the references to climate science were misleading. In one year on the Wall Street Journal Opinion pages, 81 percent of the references were misleading.”
Such mis-information in the media is certainly not helpful. It adds to the uncertainty about proven, sound science concerning the state of our life-support system and what we are doing to it. We must have good information if we are properly to reverse the worst trends and improve the chances for human sustainability before it gets too late.
Last month, UCS released the findings of their snapshot analysis at a series of events held in New York City, “finishing the day by delivering nearly 20,000 comments from UCS supporters to the headquarters of News Corporation, which owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, asking them to stop failing science and improve how they represent climate science.”
UCS captured a video showing UCS climate scientist Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel correcting the climate science inaccuracies on a six-foot tall Wall Street Journal op-ed in Bryant Park. The video can be viewed here. It also shows Dr. Ekwurzel and other UCS staff being joined by dozens of UCS supporters who stamped the op-ed “Not Science” and filled out postcards to News Corp. More information about the UCS “Sound Science” program to improve science accuracy in the media and elsewhere can be found at this link.