Energy experts are at war over a radical assertion that by mid-century the United States will be able to meet all its energy needs with wind, solar and hydro power.The claim was made in 2015 by four academic researchers, led by Mark Z. Jacobson, for the continental United States, and it asserts that those renewables will replace not just the coal and natural gas used to make electricity, but also the gasoline and diesel that run cars and trucks, and the gas used in home heating. The paper is regularly cited by environmentalists who claim that the current fleet of U.S. nuclear reactors could close without any consequences to grid reliability.But last week, a group of prominent researchers, some from Stanford and UC-Berkeley, and others from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Carnegie Mellon and other mainstream organizations, published a second paper that said that while they support the expanded use of renewables, Professor Jacobson et al. were dreaming.One of the authors of the second paper said that it was dangerous to rely on such a narrow strategy. “I had largely ignored the papers arguing that doing all with renewables was possible at negative costs because they struck me as obviously incorrect,” David Victor of the University of California, San Diego, told The New York Times. But, he said, “when policy makers started using this paper for scientific support, I thought, ‘this paper is dangerous.’”The dangers, critics say, is that we could step away from other technologies that are essential to reducing air pollution. We have one in mind in particular: nuclear energy.After the publication of the skeptical assessment, some non-academic behavior followed. Prof. Jacobson said that the new critique had deliberate falsehoods, and that it was “dangerous because virtually every sentence in it is inaccurate.” The essential problem for

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