Modern, fourth and fifth-generation nuclear energy was, until the past week, about the only viable option to ease our transition from fossil fuels. The nuclear option was the only one capable of delivering the amounts of energy required within the ever narrowing window for weaning our civilization off oil, gas and coal. Solar, wind, tidal and geothermal technologies simply aren't scaleable as yet. They won't do the job in time.
Japan's ongoing nuclear meltdown has made the nuclear option a non-starter. The criticisms are simplistic, unfair even, but that really doesn't matter. The argument is closed.
So, without the nuclear safety net, we're down to some awfully tough choices. Either we stay with the existing, destructive but cheap fossil fuels or we prepare ourselves to pay a vastly greater portion of our incomes for alternative energies. When many who were once secure in middle classdom now on the ropes, the cost of survival just became an awful lot tougher.
The Japanese fiasco has been music to the ears of Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas, especially as it has the Left taking to the streets with torches and pitchforks demanding an end to the nuclear option.
I don't know how many people, if any, will lose their lives to the Japanese reactor disasters but I know that many millions will lose their lives this century to global warming if we paint ourselves into a corner with the fossil fuel industries. It's a tough choice and, right now, much of the public is indulging itself in an orgy of self-gratifying fear. Somehow I have this feeling that the 21st won't be a pleasant century for the timid and the hesitant.