Yesterday’s hearing at the House Science and Technology Committee on climate change and emissions caps covered well-trod territory, but a piece of interesting news appears to have slipped out. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, is willing to consider nuclear energy as a source of more power generation.
Part of the response to climate change could be increased use of nuclear power, Pelosi said in response to a question from Representative W. Todd Aiken, a Missouri Republican.
The House speaker said she now has “a more open mind” about increasing nuclear power as part of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We need to compare it to the alternatives … I think it has to be on the table,” Pelosi said, adding that waste disposal “is the big challenge.”
We haven’t found a transcript of the exchange — beware the ambiguity of ellipses! — but from this and other reports, the Speaker’s comments are promising, a tacit recognition that nuclear power must play a role in America’s diversified energy future.
In 2005, Rep. Pelosi voted against the Energy Policy Act, which has since sparked a nuclear renaissance, blasting the measure with populist zeal: “Billions of dollars are going to the oil, gas, and nuclear industries and nothing is going to consumers paying more at the pump.” With the responsibility of power, perhaps populism is giving way to practicality. If so, great. We look forward to bipartisan cooperation in Congress to address America’s energy needs.
P.S. The Environmental News Service story linked above is quite good. It includes laudable comments from one committee member who recognizes the realities of a global economy:
“I’m skeptical that mandatory regulation of greenhouse gases is the best solution to the problem of climate change,” said Representative Ralph Hall, a Texas Republican and ranking member of the committee. “We can’t figure out how to write a cap and trade bill that doesn’t result in an immediate spike in natural gas.”
Increased energy costs will drive businesses and jobs overseas, Hall said, where there “are no pollution controls, inevitably worsening global emissions.”
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