More science, please


As a reader and contributor since the 1980s, I’ve noticed a trend in the reporting. HCN used to be a paper about the Rocky Mountains, public lands and related issues. Now I see the paper becoming a periodical largely about social justice. The ultimate environmental issue — climate change — is presented as “climate justice” with the focus on people affected by global heating rather than on science or the environment. This change will appeal to some readers but maybe not others.

I appreciated the piece on nuclear power ( Waste not, want not,” January 2020). In it, you look at Palo Verde in Arizona, the largest nuclear plant in the U.S., which was built in 1976. This old technology is a dinosaur compared to new plant designs coming out of Europe and Oregon, which are smaller, use far fewer resources and produce a fraction of the waste. People need to know that nuclear technology is evolving fast; given the extremely urgent nature of the climate crisis, we may need to keep an open mind to this technology if we are to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Time is getting short.

—Tom Ribe, via email

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