15 July 2009

Nevermind That Pesky Reality

Allianz, a global insurance company based in Germany, and WWF have teamed up to provide a ranking of G8 members performance on greenhouse gas emissions (here in PDF), which sounds like a useful thing to do. However, WWF doesn't believe in nuclear power as a matter of ideology, and therefore rather bizarrely refuses to acknowledge the presence of nuclear power as a matter of ontology. Here is what the report says about how it accounts for nuclear power in its rankings:
WWF does not consider nuclear power as a viable policy option, due to its costs, radiotoxic emissions, safety and proliferation impacts. In this report focusing on climate policies, a policy approach that favors the use of nuclear power is hence adjusted. The indicators emissions per capita, emissions per GDP and CO2/kWh are adjusted as if the generation of electricity from nuclear power had produced 350 gCO2/kWh (emission factor for natural gas). A country using nuclear energy is therefore rated as a country using gas, the most efficient fossil fuel.
What did I learn from this report? Not much, other than the fact that anyone doing business with Allianz had better read the fine print.

(H/T BP)