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What Will Work makes a rigorous and compelling case that energy efficiencies and renewable energy – and not nuclear fission or "clean coal" – are the most effective, cheapest, and equitable solutions to the pressing problem of climate change.
Kristin Shrader-Frechette, a respected environmental ethicist and scientist, makes a damning case that the only reason that debate about climate change continues is because fossil-fuel interests pay non-experts to confuse the public. She then builds a comprehensive case against the argument made by many that nuclear fission is a viable solution to the problem, arguing that data on the viability of nuclear power has been misrepresented by the nuclear industry and its supporters. In particular she says that they present deeply flawed cases that nuclear produces low greenhouse gas emissions, that it is financially responsible, that it is safe, and that its risks do not fall mainly on the poor and vulnerable. She argues convincingly that these are all completely false assumptions. Shrader-Frechette then shows that energy efficiency and renewable solutions meet all these requirements – in particular affordability, safety, and equitability.
In the end, the cheapest, lowest-carbon, most-sustainable energy solutions also happen to be the most ethical. This urgent book on the most pressing issue of our time will be of interest to anyone involved in environmental and energy policy.
Chapter 1: Why Climate-Change Skeptics Are Wrong
Chapter 2: Trimming the Data on Nuclear Greenhouse Emissions
Chapter 3: Trimming the Data on Nuclear Costs
Chapter 4: Nuclear Safety, Flawed Science, and Accident Cover-Up
Chapter 5: Nuclear Energy and Environmental Justice
Chapter 6: The Solution: Using Renewable Energy, Efficiency, and Conservation to Address Climate Change
Chapter 7: Answering Objections
Chapter 8: Conclusions
Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Ph.D is O'Neill Endowed Professor, Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame. She teaches courses in environmental sciences, quantitative risk assessment, philosophy of science, environmental health, and science and ethics. With degrees in mathematics and in philosophy of science, she has done 3 post-docs: in biology, economics, and hydrogeology. For 26 years, the US National Science Foundation has funded her research. Author of 16 books and 380 professional articles – translated into 13 languages – and energy-environmental-health advisor to many nations and governments, she directs the Notre Dame Center for Environmental Justice and Children's Health. She is also the author of Environmental Justice (2002), and Taking Action, Saving Lives (2007), both published by Oxford University Press.
"Shrader-Frechette takes the reader through the common pro-nuclear arguments and refutes them by relying on scientific evidence, logic and behind-the-scene investigations. Her powerful arguments are well thought through and quite easy to understand [...] the book offers compelling answers and solutions to one of our generation's most pressing issues. Shrader-Frechette's fiery tone is invigorating, and one can only wish for today's leaders to be as conscientious, courageous and honest as she is."
– Global Journal
"An extraordinary achievement by a philosopher-scientist and public intellectual. The book is unmatched in its synthesis of the empirical data, theory and ethics that infuse the climate-change debates. Its overpowering but transparent argument should be mandatory reading for every elected official. Shrader-Frechette takes practical logic and scientific transparency to new heights. The best book written in the last decade on climate change."
– Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University
"Shrader-Frechette's book is outstanding. She makes a thorough review of the scientific evidence on nuclear health risks, and also explains the political and economic forces affecting public policy. Very readable for scientists, policy makers, and the public."
– Joseph J. Mangano, Radiation and Public Health Project, New York
"Fascinating and important! Shrader-Frechette presents the scientific, economic, and ethical evidence for the failure of nuclear power – it is neither carbon-free nor a viable solution to the energy crisis and global warming. While explaining the nuances of the scientific, economic and ethical arguments, the author teaches the reader why solar and wind energy, along with energy efficiency changes, will yield a safe, healthy, reliable and economically efficient energy future for the planet."
– Colleen F. Moore, University of Wisconsin, author of Children and Pollution: Why Scientists Disagree