Do tsunamis affect global warming? Well, the 2004 Indian Ocean catastrophe probably indirectly decreased the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere by destroying the lives of 200,000 victims and the livelihoods of probably 250,000 more. Of course, it also negatively affected coral reefs, mangroves and other wetlands, forests, and plant diversity. However, the tsunami-induced failure of the Fukushima Daiichi plant this March may increase the emission of carbon dioxide on the other side of the world. In response to the Japanese accident (and also Chernobyl, which is much closer), Germany has decided to halt not only nuclear construction, but to phase out nuclear power altogether by 2022. If they carry through, this will increase the emission of carbon dioxide because the only practical replacement for base-load power is natural gas. Governments everywhere have to decide what to do about nuclear power and the decision needs the kind of dispassionate analysis that Federation of American Scientists President Charles Ferguson provides in this new book on the subject. Although the Japanese problem continues to evolve, "Nuclear Energy" includes a clear description of what happened there, as well as a history and analysis of the problems of safety, nuclear security, waste management, and the relationships between nuclear power and climate change. Buy a copy for your Congressman. Maybe somebody on his staff will read it for him.
Charles D. Ferguson