Six billion will die without move to nuclear power
James Lovelock was the eminent scientist that convinced Richard Branson of Virgin that climate change was a serious issue and that he needed to start looking for alternatives to power generated by burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Nuclear power however is the "only" viable option in his opinion.
He's not alone. The co-founder of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore envisions and surprisingly supports a nuclear future. His opinion is that the growth of fossil fuels as an energy source is coming to an end. Alternatives such as solar, biofuel, geothermal are all potential solutions but are decades away from replacing our current massive reliance on fossil fuels. Hydro can be used only for a portion of our requirements. The realistic and expandable alternative is nuclear. It produces no greenhouse gases and is now a major active part of the energy solution for the modern economy. It currently represents 80% of the power generated in France but only 20% of the power generated in the US. As nuclear power grows, the increasing waste produced will have to be stored and treated as technologies improve but it's the only current option that produces no additional greenhouse gases.
As the fastest growing economy in the world, China is primarily powered by coal and oil. The country however is rapidly moving towards an environmental catastrophe as the air in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, home of the 2008 Olympics, becomes massively polluted. Their solution is to move towards nuclear power by increasing their capacity by 25 times by 2030. In addition they are developing state-of-the-art mag lev trains that could travel between major cities. Public transit run on electricity powered by nuclear reactors is the vision of the future. No pollution or green house gases, and faster travel times up to 311 mph are now a reality in Shanghai and the Pudong Airport. The grim reality is that there is not enough oil produced in the world to satisfy the future needs of every Chinese family that wanted to power a car using gas.
Plug-in lithium battery powered cars in the US, with some of the electricity generated by nuclear power, is going to be a reality within two years. GM sees battery power as the future as gas prices soar beyond affordabilty for many families. To reduce future greenhouse gases, the U.S. could dramatically expand the number of nuclear power plants and transition consumers towards driving a battery powered car. Presidential candidate John McCain recently recommended a massive increase in the number of US nuclear plants. They are expensive to build but very cost effective to operate.
Besides the increasing cost of oil, many additional countries around the world are now embracing the reality that nuclear power is a valid energy solution as well as a green house gas solution. In the extreme case it be our only hope for a continued existence beyond 2100.