Posted in #ausvotes by skepdadblog on July 22, 2010
Tags: , ,

So here’s what’s wrong with the Greens.  A major part of their support base – enviroactivists – can’t argue dispassionately or get their message across without being confrontational and sanctimonious.  That makes the Greens look like far-left wing hippies when in fact they have some quite reasonable and well-thought-out policies.

Here’s an example of a short twitter exchange I just had.  I was responding to a GreensMPs post on Formspring, where a Green representative made the following comment:

“…nuclear is still ultimately a non-renewable fossil fuel.”

Er, no.  Ignoring the semantic error, nuclear (read uranium) is not a fossil fuel.  Would have thought the Greens would understand that.  Hence my tweet:

“@greensmps nuclear energy depends on non-renewable “fossil” fuels? Back to the science books for you. #ausvotes”

Well, Moron_Moments decided they’d jump to defend the Greens’ obvious error.

“Moron_Moments Lots of coal electricity used to enrich natural uraniuml @skepdadblog: @greensmps nuclear energy depends on non-renewable “fossil” fuels?”

Yes, lots of coal and oil energy is indeed currently used to extract and enrich uranium.  Similarly, coal and oil energy is used to extract the minerals used in all energy technologies, including wind and solar devices.  Does that make them fossil fuels too?  I felt the need to snark.

“@Moron_Moments no, lots of *energy*, which could be coal or anything else.  It doesn’t make uranium a fossil fuel.”
” @Moron_Moments Lots of fossil fuels burned to mine the minerals for solar panels too.  Or did you think they were made out of rainbows?”

Oh, well didn’t that put the cat amongst the pigeons.

“@skepdadblog: @greensmps 1 GW nuclear requires 140k SWU/yr= 336M kwh all from coal”

If I read this right, that’s 336 million kilowatt hours (or 336 gigawatt hours) of coal energy to enrich enough uranium for 1 gigawatt of nuclear power?  Interesting.  Might fact check that one.  doesn’t make uranium a fossil fuel though.  And sure that energy currently comes from coal, because coal is all we currently have widespread.  It’s just energy, it could come from anywhere.

“@Moron_Moments *currently* all from coal.  Which is far less efficient than nuclear.”

Now the rest of the rhetoric torrent, none of which explains how uranium is a fossil fuel.

“@skepdadblog: Theres a reason why US enrichment  plant at Oak Ridge TN- TVA coal.”
“@skepdadblog: That’s  part of the reason why nuclear is a net negative energy source”
“@skepdadblog Solar comes from silica with no refining. .003 percent of ore is .07% U308-lots of dirt to move; lots of energy to enrich”

Sure, Moron_Moments – silica magically appears from the sky, you put it in a box and bingo, solar power.  Finally, the clincher:

“Moron_Moments Thus nuclear makes no economic or energy sense @skepdadblog: @Moron_Moments all from coal.  Which is far less efficient than nuclear.”

A non-sequitur and a misquote in one tweet.  Sorry – I don’t debate people who misquote me.  More tweets followed, dipping into ad hominem, but I’ve written this particular tweeter off as unable to have an objective debate and won’t re-engage.

Moron_Moments clearly has some knowledge of what they’re talking about.  But they waded in to my perfectly reasonable and scientific assertion that uranium is not a fossil fuel, brandishing all sorts of “facts” and ignoring the very small and logically consistent point that I was making in their eagerness to spread their rhetoric.  Bob would be wise to put a leash on these people.

Oh, and Moron_Moments – I was going to vote Green.  Nice job, hippie.