Opposition To Nuclear Led To More CO2

Published on Friday, 19 November 2010 16:05
Posted by Scott Buckler

Green opposition to nuclear energy has led to one billion extra tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) being pumped into the atmosphere, according to environmentalists......who have changed their minds over nuclear power.


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

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

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.

“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 me as I visit Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, and discover 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.”

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, 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.

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