Eight: Mark Lynas on climate change

A golf-ball sized lump of uranium can deliver more than enough power to cover all your lifetime energy use. To get the same energy from coal, you’d need 3,200 tonnes of the stuff — a mass equivalent to 800 adult elephants, which would go on to produce more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2. That’s about 11,000 tonnes more than the uranium.

Many people aren’t comfortable with the danger posed by nuclear power. But given the climatic stakes, it’s worth asking: Just how much more dangerous is it compared to fossil fuels?

According to today’s guest, Mark Lynas — author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (winner of the prestigious Royal Society Prizes for Science Books) and Nuclear 2.0. — it’s actually much, much safer.

We chose Mark to introduce the problem of climate change.

Full transcript, related links, and summary of this interview

This episode first broadcast on the regular 80,000 Hours Podcast feed on August 20, 2020. 

If you want to hear more about climate change, head to the regular 80,000 Hours Podcast feed and check out our episode with Kelly Wanser. She founded SilverLining — a nonprofit organization that advocates research into climate interventions, such as seeding or brightening clouds, to ensure that we maintain a safe climate.

  • #95 – Kelly Wanser on whether to deliberately intervene in the climate

Series produced by Keiran Harris.

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