An Ecomodernist Mom and Nuclear Power in Kenya

Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Ecomodernist Movement

“It wasn’t until I read the Manifesto that I felt I could call myself an environmentalist.” That’s the kind of thing we like to hear, in this case from Amy Levy, author of the brand new

Amy’s website was a surprise -- a happy surprise -- to us, so Michael Shellenberger and I got on the phone with her to learn about her background and perspective. “I wanted to write on Ecomodernism for ordinary people,” she told us. “If the Manifesto is going to catch on, it’s going to have to reach people like me.”

I couldn’t agree more. One of the most exciting things about the last few months has been seeing how different people react to the Manifesto. Just as often as it’s 18 academic advocates of de-growing the economy, it’s passionate non-experts like Amy who have been yearning for a positive vision for technology, nature, and humanity.

We’re looking forward to following Amy’s awesome blog. You should too.

In the Guardian, pro-nuclear environmentalists (and one official Ecomodernist) George Monbiot, Chris Goodall, and Mark Lynas have officially opposed the construction of Hinkely C, the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) power plant planned for the United Kingdom. They argue for scrapping the project, which according to them has far too high a bill for far too complicated a power plant, and spend the saved funds “to accelerate the deployment of other low carbon technologies, both renewable and nuclear.”

Lynas, Monbiot, and Goodall aren’t the only people who I've heard express, in public or in private, that the Hinkley C is something of a doomed boondoggle. It’s a reminder that smart climate policy and progress towards an Ecomodern future are not guaranteed.

With all due respect to the climate scientists who have discovered a great deal about climate sensitivity and impacts...but this study is just really silly:

I truly don’t understand how quantifying expected impacts that are thousands of years away based on events that have zero percent chance of happening is supposed to help understand the climate challenge or motivate action.

I think Roger Pielke summed it up best:

My brother, a high school teacher, brought the article up last weekend and told me he thought it was an Onion headline. Unfortunately, apocalypse porn seems to be beyond parody.


This week, InsideClimate News published a report accusing Exxon of suppressing internal scientific evidence of climate change and funding climate denial. Michael Shellenberger took issue with these claims, noting that Exxon funding for “denial” was minimal and evidence of any impact was lacking. Check out Michael’s Storify on ‘The Exxon Climate Denial Myth’ for more.


In the category of high-energy innovation, this week the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board and the China General Nuclear Power Group announced a partnership on building Kenya’s first nuclear power plants. Talk about leapfrogging.

One observer criticized the plan, claiming Kenya “does not have appropriate security and trained manpower to establish a nuclear plant.” Um, I’m pretty sure that’s why they’re partnering with China. You gotta love someone who argues that a poor nation isn’t ready for advanced technologies so they shouldn’t develop.

Image credit: Wikemedia Commons