Thursday, November 4, 2010

UK greens in media uproar over nuclear energy

A television program interviews environmental leaders endorsing nuclear energy

Circus Strong Man(NucNet) A group of environmentalists across the world believe that, in order to save the planet, humanity must embrace the very science and technology they once so stridently opposed.

A key group of green leaders has changed their minds about nuclear energy. A fair amount of heavy lifting is taking place pro-and-con.

The group of leading environmentalists says that green opposition to nuclear energy has led to more CO2 emissions. They say green opposition to nuclear energy has led to one billion extra tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) being pumped into the atmosphere.

In a documentary being broadcast on UK television network Channel 4 Nov 4, a number of high-profile activists have spoken out in favor of nuclear energy.

Like other green campaigners including James Lovelock, author of ‘The Gaia Theory’ (Amazon), Mark Lynas said the necessity for a constant supply of clean energy has led him to “come out” as a supporter of nuclear technology. (photo and profile of Lynas at Telegraph UK)

He said in the past the conservationist movement “blindly opposed” nuclear because of the link to nuclear weapons, meaning that the world has continued to rely on dirty fossil fuels.

greenhouse_gases “Green anti-nuclear campaigning has already added to the atmospheric stock of carbon dioxide, probably to the tune of more than a billion tonnes,” he said. “Why? Because nuclear plants, which were opposed by greens in the 1970s and 1980s, were replaced by coal plants.

“In hindsight that was obviously a mistake, but it is one that today’s environmental lobby groups seem determined to repeat.”

Mr Lynas said: the documentary follows him in a visit to Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. He discovers that wildlife in the area is thriving, and that the effects of the radioactive contamination on people are much less serious than previously thought.

“That is what the science says, yet many green groups continue to spread myths about tens of thousands of people dying because of Chernobyl when the actual death toll so far – according to a major UN report published in 2006 – has likely been only around 65.”

He added: “My view, as one of the contributors to the film, is simple: the greens can dish it out, but they can’t take it. This is a real debate and the environment movement needs to tackle it head-on rather than asserting that all challenges must be part of some imagined evil conspiracy.”

Green lobby has failed to address the real issues

Green LobbyIn this film, according to Channel 4, these life-long diehard greens advocate radical solutions to climate change, which include GM crops and nuclear energy. They argue that by clinging to an ideology formed more than 40 years ago, the traditional green lobby has failed in its aims and is ultimately harming its own environmental cause.

As author and environmentalist Mark Lynas says:

'Being an environmentalist was part of my identity and most of my friends were environmentalists. We were involved in the whole movement together. It took me years to actually begin to question those core, cherished beliefs. It was so challenging it was almost like going over to the dark side. It was a like a horrible dark secret you couldn't share with anyone.'

Not taking it lying down

Understandably, Friends of the Earth in the UK is upset with the program. In a video and long rebuttal on its website, Craig Bennett, a spokesman for UK FOE said "A TV documentary about the green movement is pushing tired myths about nuclear and GM crops."

"We're always up for having a debate - but this is just misinformation based largely on the views of lobbyists and journalists with books to sell."

In a video rebuttal, (below) FOE seems more concerned about genetically modified crops than nuclear energy. A debate on Twitter is underway at: #c4green

FOE UK Video rebuttal

According to Channel 4, the main protagonists argue in the film that the advantages to nuclear energy of it being a low-carbon or zero-carbon technology now outweigh the disadvantages.

They say that the risk from nuclear accidents such as Chernobyl have been overstated and that greens should accept nuclear power as part of the UK’s energy mix.

It’s not likely, but you never know.

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1 comment:

Paul Lindsey said...

Anti-nuclear Greens being opposed to currently operating nuclear reactors and future designs because of Chernobyl is like Ralph Nader opposing all automobiles because of the Corvair or the Yugo.