August 8, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tim Judson, NIRS
+1 212-729-1169 (mobile)
Peer de Rijk, WISE-International
+ 31 20 6126368
+ 31 20 6126368
Gedelitz, Germany – An international coalition lead by organizations from nine countries launched a new campaign today–“Don’t Nuke the Climate”–to ensure nuclear power and other false climate solutions do not derail global efforts to reduce the extent of global warming. The coalition is mobilizing for the COP 23 global climate conference in November, where the nations of the world are meeting to make critical decisions on how to solve the problem of climate change. Specifically, the fate of $100 billion per year of investment is at stake the Green Climate Fund. Nuclear power companies are attempting to gain access to the fund to finance uneconomic power projects, which their own governments and the private sector will not or cannot fund.
The coalition’s website and petition can be found on the website: http://www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org
The Paris Climate Agreement, signed by 195 countries, established a global consensus for the goal of limiting global warming to at most 2.0 C (3.8 F), with an ambition to go no higher than 1.5 C (2.7 F). The Paris Agreement’s targets are not arbitrary: a global average temperature rise of 1.5-2.0 C will still have enormous human, economic, and environmental impacts: sea-level rise, severe storms, drought and food shortages, resource conflicts, refugee crises, etc. Achieving these goals is literally a matter of life and death, but there is much uncertainty about the global community’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to meet those goals.
The Don’t Nuke the Climate coalition is mobilizing for Bonn with the simple message: we can and must meet the goals of Paris–real, viable climate solutions are at hand–but not if we waste time and money on false solutions like nuclear power. The coalition mobilized in 2015 for the COP 21 climate conference in Paris, and grew to a total of 500 organizations worldwide supporting the “Don’t Nuke the Climate” call.
“We urgently need to tackle climate change. But we have to do this in a just way,” said Peer de Rijk, director of WISE-International. “This means we must actively exclude false solutions like nuclear power, as we otherwise will be thrown back in time and increase the environmental crisis.”
“Nuclear power is a serial human rights violator and its promotion will worsen the very climate justice problems the Green Climate Fund is supposed to solve,” said Tim Judson, executive director the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, based in the U.S.A. “Nuclear corporations target First Nations and Global South countries are for radioactive contamination and resource destruction, radiation has a disparate impact on women and girls, and these persistent pollutants are hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years, creating indiscriminate impacts on future generations. The Green Climate Fund must never be used to finance such violations of human rights and principles of climate justice,” Judson concluded.
The coalition is opposing intensified efforts by the nuclear power industry to gain access to financing for nuclear power projects through the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF was founded through global climate talks in 2009, and the 2015 Global Climate Agreement set a target of $100 billion per year in financing to Global South countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (labeled “mitigation” measures) and infrastructure to withstand the impacts of climate change (labeled “adaptation” measures).
“South-Africa is in urgent need for robust climate action,” said Makoma Lekalakala That means money for adaptation but also clean, affordable, safe new energy for everyone. A choice for nuclear would only increase the financial burden put upon millions of South-Africans.”
“The Indian state often blocks international negotiations on climate citing the needs of its poor,” said Kumar Sundaram, director of Dianuke in India. “But that in reality is nothing more than the Indian elite and industries demanding for the right to be equally irresponsible with the climate. Domestically, the government policies are only widening the energy access gap and imposing nuclear, coal and big dam projects that threaten to destroy fragile ecologies and most vulnerable communities. It’s unfortunate that the Indian government’s climate policy reinforces the myth of nuclear power being safe and clean. India is standing on the wrong side of history in the post-Fukushima world – setting up world’s biggest, costliest and most unsafe imported nuclear plants by undermining safety and environmental clearance norms and brutalizing massive but peaceful grassroots. India cannot be allowed to be a liability-free market where the declining global nuclear lobby rehabilitates itself.”
Nuclear power’s economic failures are worsening, with major firms such as Westinghouse and Areva going bankrupt, reactors being shut down, and new reactors canceled due to excessive costs, chronic construction delays, and aging infrastructure. Without access to massive amounts of public dollars such as the GCF, the industry faces inevitable decline, and cannot compete against true climate solutions, such as solar, wind, and energy efficiency and conservation.
As a result of, the industry has intensified its lobbying effort since Paris, and now includes industry trade associations, such as Foratom; the International Atomic Energy Agency; major nuclear corporations, including Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear corporation, which is targeting developing nations for nuclear development; and nuclear professional organizations and front groups, including the World Nuclear Society and Nuclear for Climate.
“Nuclear is dying – without taxpayer subsidies,” said Reinhard Uhrig, Head of Campaigns for Global 2000, the Austrian affiliate of Friends of the Earth International. “It now promotes itself as ‘green’, carbon-free electricity (which it is not) to get at public money such as in the climate funds established to combat global warming in particular in the global south. We cannot let the nuclear lobby get away with this – no subsidies for nuclear!”
“Nuclear is too expensive and takes too long to build, and we need real climate solutions today,” said Vladimir Sliviak, executive director of Ecodefense, based in Russia. “The effective approach is developing renewable energy and energy efficiency. We don’t have money or time to spend on false solutions.”
The coalition is urging nations participating in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to prohibit the use of the Green Climate Fund on technologies that make the societal and environmental impacts of climate change worse, like nuclear power, so-called “clean” coal, large-scale hydro-power, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil, food- and forest-based biomass, and REDD+ — which are broadly considered false solutions and frequently entail human rights violations.
“There is no acceptable solution worldwide for high level radioactive waste, the only consequence is to stop nuclear power right now,” said Kerstin Rudek from Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg, based in Germany.
“It’s a shame that Germany failed to include the uranium enrichment facility in Gronau and the fuel element factory in Lingen in its nuclear phaseout policy. Both facilities export to nuclear power plant in Belgium and in France. Germany needs a complete nuclear phaseout and has to start immediately with phasing out coal as well.”
Organizations leading the “Don’t Nuke the Climate” coalition represent nine nations spanning four continents:
World Information Service on Energy – International
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Earthlife (South Africa)
KFEM (South Korea)
Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg (Germany)
Global 2000 (Friends of the Earth – Austria)
Nuclear Information and Resource Service (U.S.A.)
No Climate Money for Nuclear Power - NIRS