PARIS, France, June 17, 2015 (ENS) – Clean energy groups from around the world Tuesday launched an anti-nuclear petition to world leaders in support of a “nuclear-free, carbon-free path” at the United Nations climate summit in Paris in December. There, governments are expected to approve a new universal legally-binding agreement to curb the greenhouse gases blamed for sending the planetary temperature soaring.
The agreement being drafted for approval at the Paris summit, known as COP21, would replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2020. The protocol covered only a few dozen industrialized nations and was never ratified by the United States.
“Under the expiring Kyoto Protocol, nuclear energy is rightly excluded from the possible solutions available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the nuclear industry, in collaboration with certain nations, is lobbying for their dangerous and polluting technology to be sold as a climate-friendly option during the climate COP21 this year,” explains Peer de Rijk of WISE-Amsterdam, a branch of the World Information Service on Energy.
“We are calling on 1,000 civil society organizations to join us for a campaign to block the nuclear industry’s lobby activities at COP21 and instead ensure the world chooses clean energy. It is the only real climate solution,” said de Rijk.
The clean energy campaigners are eager to change the priorities of the French government, which is hosting COP21, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Nuclear power is the primary source of energy in France, generating roughly 75 percent of the country’s electricity, the highest percentage in the world. Électricité de France (EDF), the country’s main electricity generation and distribution company, manages the country’s 59 nuclear reactors.
Earlier this month, the French government announced a series of guidelines to renew the French nuclear industry. It includes a move to invest in the financially troubled French corporation AREVA, which designs and constructs nuclear power plants and aims to build one-third of the world’s new nuclear power capacity.
“AREVA and its governing authorities will work in complete cooperation with EDF on the road7map as it is defined, notably on the terms of an agreement for a global strategic partnership and the conditions for EDF to take a majority stake in the capital of AREVA NP,” the company said in a statement June 3.
Danyel Dubreuil, campaign coordinator of the French antinuclear network Sortir du Nucléaire, said, “As Areva’s financial problems keep increasing and will eventually be paid by French taxpayers, France should instead shift towards renewable energy.”
“But the government keeps extending the lifetime of aging reactors and supporting a dirty, expensive, dangerous and declining nuclear industry and will most probably use the COP to try saving its national nuclear industry while promoting it as clean and climate-friendly,” said Dubreuil.
“We condemn the sponsoring of the COP by polluting companies – and especially by EDF – and will denounce the greenwashing of the nuclear industry in Paris,” Dubreuil declared.
In the United States, the Obama Administration supports nuclear power as part of President Barack Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy. The clean energy campaigners aim to block the U.S. nuclear industry as well.
“Nuclear power is in no way a climate solution,” said Michael Mariotte, president of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, based in the United States. “Nuclear power remains dirty, dangerous and expensive; is not carbon-free; and encourages nuclear proliferation.”
“Clean energy technologies like solar and wind power have plummeted in cost and are viable everywhere, while enhanced energy efficiency measures can be implemented anywhere,” said Mariotte. “As a recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found, increased deployment of nuclear power would steal resources away from those clean technologies, which are faster and cheaper at reducing global carbon emissions and thus more effective at addressing our climate crisis.”
The campaigners blame the nuclear power industry for human rights violations and disproportionate impacts on indigenous peoples, women, children, and future generations.
“Nuclear power is the failing prophet, a self-styled messiah of low carbon that paints itself green in the face of the evidence of failing technology and massive cost, even before something really goes wrong – as at Chernobyl and Fukushima, said Dr. Reinhard Uhrig of Austria’s Global 2000. “Don’t nuke the climate – Abschalten Jetzt!”
Vladimir Sliviak of Ecodefense, based in Moscow, points to the world’ worst nuclear power disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 as a clear reason to move the world away from nuclear power.
“Russia has had a catastrophic experience with nuclear power and nuclear waste management. At the same time, the Russian government is increasing its efforts to sell new reactors across the world as safe and climate friendly. This is cynical and irresponsible and must be stopped,” said Sliviak. “There must be a clear statement made in Paris: no nukes; yes to clean energy.”
“A nuclear future would bring only more Fukushimas and Chernobyls” summed up de Rijk of WISE Amsterdam. “Clean energy is the better way, and it more effectively reduces carbon emissions as well. That’s why we will be in Paris: to ensure that the world does not make the terrible mistake of returning to the failed nuclear path.”
Some of these same groups organized the large nuclear-free, carbon-free contingent at last October’s People’s Climate March in New York City attended by some 400,000 people.
As the initial step in this campaign, the groups released an international petition to world leaders in support of the nuclear-free, carbon-free path.