Palisades Open House & Bill McKibben on Climate Change

  • The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant near South Haven, MI. (Photo courtesy of Entergy Corporation)

The Palisades nuclear power plant is hosting an open house tonight in South Haven. Lindsey Smith reports it’s a rare opportunity for people to ask detailed questions about the plant:

Because of security reasons, it’s impractical to host the open house at the plant. Instead it’ll take place at the same conference center where the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has held a number of public hearings this year about the plant’s poor safety rating. In fact, the NRC will host a public meeting next week at the same place to discuss those safety concerns in detail.

Palisades spokesman Mark Savage says the open house tonight will be informal… kind of like a science fair.

“We’ll have tabletop discussions about the variety of things that historically get brought up at these public meetings and so general public is invited round the area here to come and see our wares.”

This is first time Palisades has hosted an open house since Entergy Corporation bought the plant from Consumers Energy back in 2007.

The Palisades open house will be held from 6 – 8pm tonight at the Beach Haven Event Center: 10420 M-140 Highway, South Haven

(music bump)

This is the Environment Report.

More than 28,000 high temperature records have been broken or tied so far this year in the U.S. 

And… the National Snow and Ice Data Center recently reported the amount of sea ice in the Arctic has fallen to the lowest level in the satellite record.  The scientists say the decline in summer sea ice over the last ten years is a strong signal of long-term climate warming.

Bill McKibben has been writing about climate change for the past two decades, and he’s the founder of It’s a grassroots organization that has chapters around the world to urge governments to do something about climate change.  

Bill, thanks for joining me.  You wrote an article recently in Rolling Stone magazine, and in it, you say we are losing the fight to slow manmade warming of the climate.  Why did you say that?

Bill McKibben: “Well, we can tell we’re losing just by looking around us. The Arctic is melting away with enormous speed. We’re seeing exactly the kind of weather phenomenon that scientists told us we could expect. This summer across the U.S. is a pretty good sort of trailer of coming attractions for the global warming movie. This is what it feels like in its earliest stages and it doesn’t feel good.”

RW: So, the vast majority of publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is real, it’s happening now, and it’s mostly human-caused. But there’s a disconnect between the scientific community and our political leaders. Most politicians are not talking about climate change.

McKibben: “Mitt Romney talked about it; he made a big joke about it at the Republican convention. It was his big laugh line of his speech, that he was not going to be trying to heal the planet – instead he was going to be working on behalf of people’s families. But since most families I know live on this planet, that’s kind of an empty boast.”

RW: But you know, a few years ago, we were hearing more serious discussion about climate change in Congress. What’s changed?

McKibben:  “Well, I think what’s changed is a very well organized and heavily funded effort by the fossil fuel industry to keep this issue at bay. So they’ve now managed to persuade a huge, basically one of our parties to say there’s no such thing as climate change. And that’s a big problem. It’s an overcome-able problem if we build a movement large enough and vocal enough to really insist on change.”

RW: Bill, thank you so much.

McKibben: “Well, thanks for talking with me, Rebecca. You have a good day.”

RW: Bill McKibben is an author and the founder of That’s the Environment Report. I’m Rebecca Williams.

Bill McKibben will be speaking at Rackham Auditorium at the University of Michigan on Friday, September 14th at 4:30 pm. The talk will be followed by a book signing.  His talk is titled: “350, the most important number in the English language.”