I would be careful trusting anti-alternative energy types with their assessments of what is and isn't catabolic. Depending on how you do your math, you can call any energy source catabolic, because no energy source or type is 100% efficient. E.g., solar panels can always be categorized as catabolic by hostile parties because they can't be 100% efficient. So, if you count the sun's energy as an "input," they're always catabolic. Which pretty much makes me say, fine, bring on the catabolic solar panels, as soon as we can produce and maintain them profitably; because I don't give a shit that they're always catabolic if you include the sun's input, because that's the whole point of solar energy - harness the sun's energy, all of which would otherwise be lost.
Solar isn't cost-effective now, but it's a matter of time before we advance the technology far enough that it'll be our sole power source for electricity, except for some exotic, frontier applications like frontier mining or energy extraction or whatever.
Until then, nuclear is the obvious choice.
"Oh this is unpopular"/"Oh this is never gonna win"
Appeal to Authority fallacy, IIRC. With the "authority" in this case being popularity. My favorite retort is that flat-Earthism, Earth-centric theories of the planets, the idea that outer space was composed of phlogistons and crystal spheres, etc., etc., etc., were all very popular. Opposing them was a losing issue.
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