In a piece for The Independent, four leading environmentalists have come out in favour of nuclear power.
Stephen Tindale, former director of Greenpeace, said:
“My position was necessarily that nuclear power was wrong, partly for the pollution and nuclear waste reasons but primarily because of the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“It was kind of like a religious conversion. Being anti-nuclear was an essential part of being an environmentalist for a long time but now that I’m talking to a number of environmentalists about this, it’s actually quite widespread this view that nuclear power is not ideal but it’s better than climate change.”
“For an environmentalist, it’s a bit like admitting you are gay to your parents because you’re kind of worried about being rejected.
“I’ve been standardly anti-nuclear throughout most of my environmental career. I certainly assumed that the standard mantra about it being dirty, dangerous and unnecessary was correct.
“The thing that initially pushed me was seeing how long and difficult the road to going to 100 per cent renewable economy would be, and realising that if we really are serious about tackling global warming it the next decade or two then we certainly need to consider a new generation of nuclear power stations.
“In retrospect, it [moratoriums on the building of new nuclear power stations] will come to be seen as an enormous mistake for which the earth’s climate is now paying the price. To give an example, the environmentalists stopped a nuclear plant in Austria from being switched on, a colossal waste of money, and instead [Austria] built two coal plants.”
“[The challenges we face] mean we need to get real about energy. At the moment the public discussion is intensely emotional, polarised and mistrustful. This is particularly the case for nuclear power – too often people divide into sharp pro- or anti-nuclear positions, with no middle ground. Every option is strongly opposed: the public seems to be anti-wind, anti-coal, anti-waste-to-energy, anti-tidal-barrage, anti-fuel-duty and anti-nuclear. We can’t be anti-everything, and time is running out.”
Tindale, Lynas, Goodall and Lord Smith join Sir David King, former Chief Science Adviser to the government; Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace; and James Lovelock, the environmentalist who proposed the Gaia Hypothesis and said “I am a Green, and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy.” Oh, and Einstein:
“If you succeed in using the nuclear-physical findings for peaceful purposes, it will open the way to a new paradise.”
- The green movement must learn to love nuclear power by Chris Goodall
- Going nuclear: a Green makes the case by Patrick Moore
- Face It. Nukes Are the Most Climate-Friendly Industrial-Scale Form of Energy by Spencer Reiss.