Nuclear Energy Goes Green

Policymakers and environmentalists are reconsidering the nuclear option. Plus Big Thinker Lawrence Lessig.

Ever since the Chernobyl disaster and the Three Mile Island scare, the idea of nuclear power in America has been marred by visions of radioactive meltdowns. But now that more and more people accept that the imminent threat of climate change is fueled by coal-burning power plants, scientists and policymakers are reconsidering the nuclear option. Inspired by skyrocketing energy prices and generous federal subsidies, utility companies want to build more than two dozen reactors over the next decade. At last, the environmental movement, after fighting new plants for decades, has warmed up to the idea.BIG THINKER:

Lawrence Lessig

Every government faces hard policy questions-storing nuclear waste, controlling teen drug addiction, improving education. What is striking about our government is how often the easy questions become impossibly hard. Think of how long it took (and has it happened yet?) for the government to acknowledge that global warming is real; or the FDA pushing sugar as an essential part of a daily diet; or Congress extending the term of existing copyrights, benefiting the tiny proportion of near-century-old work that continues to have a commercial life.What unites these cases is money: vast amounts on the wrong side, queering the ability of government to get even the easy cases right. A corruption of government, not from quid pro quo bribes, but from an economy of influence, too often hides what policymakers should see. Our system of campaign finance can't help but exaggerate the influence of some, regardless of any public sense in the views they privately push.This corruption, of course, is nothing new. What is new is recognition that it's critical to solve the corruption. A government that can't get global warming right can't be trusted. But not trusting the entity that is spending close to 40 percent of our GDP each year is not really practical.This year will see the birth of a movement to restore this trust. Not tied to any particular party, and not focused on any single election, this movement will begin a long campaign to leverage the power that digital technology has reallocated, to refocus the influence that makes the government run. No doubt an impossibly difficult movement, with almost no hope of succeeding, but precisely the sort of movement that new centuries need, and that we need right now.Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Stanford Law School.

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Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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