Carl Pope is Executive Director of the Sierra Club. Since Pope’s appointment in 1992, Sierra Club has added 150,000 new members, bringing the total membership to 700,000. Pope has a distinguished record of environmental activism and leadership.
Prior to his work with the Sierra Club, Pope served on the Boards of the California League of Conservation Voters, Public Voice, National Clean Air Coalition, California Common Cause and Public Interest Economics, Inc. He is the co-author of Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress, and other books including Hazardous Waste in America and Sahib, an American Misadventure in India. Pope was educated at Harvard University and spent two years in the Peace Corps in India on graduation.
Question: Is nuclear power a good alternative?
Carl Pope: Well nuclear power is a huge distraction. Because the reality is I have a standing offer. I will support anybody who comes to me and says that he wants to build a nuclear power plant with his own money. I’ll be there for him. Nobody’s taken the challenge up. This is not an energy source. It’s a way to hijack the Treasury. When you get a nuclear . . . If you were one of the lucky people . . . I’ve gone around to high schools and said to high school science classes, “I have a great science project for you. Your high school science class right here in Ridgewood, New Jersey should apply for a license to build a nuclear power plant. Because if you’re lucky and you get that license, you get a check from the federal government for $200 million dollars and you don’t even have to build the nuclear power plant. That’s a non-refundable check.” This is a huge rip off. And when you look at the fact that we are theoretically at war with Iraq because they might have had nuclear weapons, we’re rattling absurd sabers in Iran because they are building a plant which is absolutely technically identical to one we’re building in Texas. Exactly the same plant that we’re fighting with Ahmadinejad about is being built in Texas. I guess our assumption is that Texas will always be a friendly country. But if you talk to some Texans that might not always be true.
Recorded on: September 27, 2007.