In the October 2011 issue of PHYSICS TODAY, Steve Sherwood and, in a separate article, Richard Somerville and Susan Joy Hassol decry the reluctance of the general public to accept that anthropogenic release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is the primary driver of current global warming. Yet neither article even mentions nuclear power as potentially the major vehicle for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

If the reduction of annual carbon dioxide emissions to near zero by midcentury is necessary, as Somerville and Hassol show in their figure 5, then development of nuclear power at the fastest imaginable rate would seem to be the only measure remotely equal to the task. People have appreciated by now that the limited and unsteady power generation afforded by windmills and solar panels cannot cope with a job of that magnitude any time in the near future.

It seems quixotic to me that physicists, of all people, should fail to point out, at every available opportunity, that nuclear power is the only feasible and potentially effective resolution to the challenge posed by global warming. While calling attention to the motes in others’ eyes, it would be useful for scientists to contemplate the motes in their own and become champions of nuclear power before it is too late.