Nuclear energy then is all of the things we need.
It is renewable (or at least it will last for centuries), 100% clean, safe, stable, and consumes very little land. Nuclear power is also cheaper than electricity produced by burning coal. Cheaper energy will stimulate the economy. Cheaper electricity will also attract large computer businesses (like google) to build their data centers in the US, thus creating jobs.
All we have to do is make the decision to only give out building permits for nuclear power plants.
Then we only renew operating permits on plants that are modern nuclear plants. Operating permits are for 20 to 40 years, so within about 30 years 100% of our electricity production will be 100% clean. Since electricity production accounts for around 35% of all greenhouse gas emissions, this would cut our emissions by that amount, while setting the stage for further reductions.
The second stage of my plan is to leverage nuclear power to clean up transportation.
Transportation accounts for another 25% of green house emissions. Once all electricity is 100% clean we can also convert a large part of our transportation needs to electricity. Electric cars and electric trolleys or light rail for public mass transit will leverage our clean energy source.
Rather than spending tons of money trying to convince people to buy electric cars, we can simply pay for the R&D.
Once we develop good designs for electric vehicles the government can give those designs away for free to any auto company that wants to use them. Patent reform would also help in this aspect, but I'll go into that some other day, as patent reform is a complex and lengthy subject with implications in health care reform as well.
One of the reasons that electric vehicles are so expensive, is that it takes just as much money to design it, but then you only sell a few cars, so the up front design costs have to be split over fewer cars, thus inflating the individual cost. By having free designs that a company can just put their own logo on, the cars would be cheaper. By purchasing electric patents from competing companies and putting those technologies into a common pool for everyone to use, the quality will also go up, making electric cars more competitive with gasoline cars. I've read that at least one electric car design was killed because they could not get approval to use a patent owned by another company.
The third stage is to get industry to convert their industrial heating needs to use electric.
If electricity is cheap, this should not be hard, and will further reduce emissions.
The fourth stage is housing. I would have all new housing built using some form of electric heating.
The most efficient electric heating is the heat pump. There are several nice ones on the market today, with impressive efficiency ratings. These heating systems can be very cheap to run even at today's electricity prices. A heat pump will also work as an air conditioner in the summer, so its quite a cost effective installation. If electricity cost were to go down to half what it is today they would be even cheaper to run. Lower monthly heating and air conditioning bills lets people spend more money on other things, thus improving the economy. Water heaters and stoves can also be converted to electric. There are even heat pump water heaters with very impressive efficiency ratings. The government can offer to pay part of the cost of converting to electric heating to convince people to upgrade if we want to spend tax money to speed up the process.
The money to pay for the electric car designs would come from canceling our current programs.
Payments to wind, solar and bio fuel companies is in the range of 100 billion a year. These payments are costing us a ton of money and doing very little or nothing for the environment. The money would be better spent upgrading housing and paying for electric car designs. We would even have money left over to go toward reducing the deficit, since designing a car is much cheaper than what we are currently spending on infective programs.