Over the past two decades, US nuclear power plants have achieved increasingly higher capacity factors with the same or greater levels of safety. Image credit:Nuclear Energy Institute
HSBC Bank is reporting higher cumulative global revenues from "low-carbon" businesses than for the combined 'jets, rockets, and bombs' sector. While HSBC's inclusion of nuclear power in the low-carbon "sector" likely overlooks the energy inputs needed to extract and process uranium, it directs attention to the fact that the nuclear industry has consistently raised productivity (as indicated by US data, above) with low rates of new nuclear plant construction. Revenue growth was especially strong for renewables in 2008. Cumulative result: revenues from the total "low-carbon" sector rose very strongly during 2008, surpassing aerospace and defense, in spite of the recession, and in spite of the fact that government also supports the A&D; sector. See selected data below.Fiona Harvey reported this in the Financial Times story, Low-carbon industries come of age
Listed companies in the climate change sector - including renewable-power generators, nuclear, energy management, water and waste companies - reached a global turnover of $534bn in 2008, according to HSBC. The aerospace and defence sector was worth $530bn, the international bank said.Revenues are different than stock performance but hopefully a profitability gain will follow. For the time being we (financiers and tree huggers alike) should be grateful that capital is flowing to where it is wanted - climate action.
Productivity of the nuclear industry currently does not reflect that real costs of waste management and ultimate decommissioning. Truth be told, we don't know what those will be for the renewable sectors either.
My point stands: money is flowing where it needs to be to avert a climate disaster. All to the good. In Copenhagen this fall, they will try to flow more money that direction. Financiers can be tree huggers too: we just have to learn (as does everyone else) how better to hold them accountable for their own performance!
Additional posts on low carbon sector.
Debunking The French - US Nuclear Power Comparison
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Securing Long Term Nuclear Waste Storage "Not an Urgent Problem ...
Wind vs. Nuclear Energy: Wind Power Deemed Far More Dangerous
Climate Stage Right: Enter The French Nuclear Empire