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A nuclear plant’s closure was hailed as a green win. Then emissions went up

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The closure of New York’s Indian Point nuclear plant, celebrated by environmentalists, has led to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions as natural gas, rather than renewable sources, filled the gap in power generation
• This shift has worsened New York City’s emissions, making its power grid dirtier than Texas's and the US average

🔭 The context: Indian Point, once contributing a quarter of New York City’s power, faced criticism for environmental and safety concerns 
• Its shutdown in 2021 was part of a broader trend away from nuclear energy, despite the sector’s potential for carbon-free electricity

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The transition from nuclear to gas highlights the complex decisions facing the green movement and policymakers in reducing carbon emissions 
• While renewables are growing, the immediate fallback to gas illustrates the challenges of maintaining a clean energy supply during the transition

⏭️ What's next: Major projects aiming to supply New York with hydropower and renewable energy are underway, with goals to make the state’s grid emissions-free by 2040  
• However, the reliance on gas in the interim raises questions about the best paths to decarbonization and the role of nuclear power in a clean energy future

💬 One quote: “Taking away a big slice of clean energy coming from nuclear can be a self-inflicted wound from a climate change point of view,” (Ben Furnas, climate and energy policy expert at Cornell University)

📈 One stat: Following the plant’s closure, nuclear power's share in New York's electricity generation dropped to 1/5th, down from about 1/3rd, leading to an increase in gas consumption

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