We hear the controversial paper by Andrew Lawrence, Benjamin Sovacool & Andrew Stirling was retracted. Andrew Lawrence takes full blame for the arithmetic errors. I suppose we should all be happy with this, and put our metaphorical daggers to rest? Not me.
Are we unfair, or bitter?
No we're not unfair. Pro-nukes should not be too forgiving.
- The paper was launched with great fanfare. Their press release was echoed by at least 10 green media websites, including The Ecologist. I bet the authors were aiming for a bigger splash. Yet no major media outlet ran with it. Not even the ever so reliably anti-nuclear Guardian newspaper in the UK.
- The article should never have been published. So the retraction does not exonerate any of the parties involved. They should've checked their numbers against other sources. For example: their political allies like Climate Action Network (Europe), CAN show no advantage to pro- nor nuclear phase out countries. E.g. In the CAN approved Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI, see this link), Or see my summary comparing the pro-nuke and nuke-phaseout countries. We can clearly see there is no advantage to one nor the other. CAN include some organizations with explicit anti-nuclear power policies (such as Greenpeace UK, WWF UK, ...); not exactly nuclear industry shills as anti-nuke campaigners would say. The article relied on only one data set to back their view. Other data sets are available, which they should've checked their results against before publication. The journal editors should've used better peers. For example, I saw the data was wrong straight away (as others did). What kind or peer is unfamiliar with greenhouse gas reductions in Europe? None. Everyone has these reductions thrust into our eyes several times a year.
Another blog of mine has a timeline of events, with all links. Many thanks to Nicholas Thompson, Suzanna Hinson, and Stephen Tindale. Unlike other people I know, they are probably more forgiving. So my view is not necessarily theirs'.