Sharechat Logo

Forum Archive Index - May 2004

Please note usage of the Forum is subject to the Terms & Conditions.

Messages by Date [ Next by Date Previous by Date ]
Messages by Thread [ Next by Thread Previous by Thread ]
Post to the Forum [ New message Reply to this message ]
Printable version

[sharechat] Nuclear Power (I know, not again...)

From: "Gavin Treadgold" <>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 23:19:05 +1200

Well, I wasn't intending on getting this thread started again, but I've just
come across an interesting article, especially when you consider who is
saying it and what he says...

It's not often you hear a Green, and someone who is admired by other
Green's, saying that nuclear energy now appears to be the only option given
the supposedly dramatic rate that the global climate is changing.

Cheers Gav


'Only nuclear power can now halt global warming'
Leading environmentalist urges radical rethink on climate change
By Michael McCarthy Environment Editor

24 May 2004

Global warming is now advancing so swiftly that only a massive expansion of
nuclear power as the world's main energy source can prevent it overwhelming
civilisation, the scientist and celebrated Green guru, James Lovelock, says.

His call will cause huge disquiet for the environmental movement. It has
long considered the 84-year-old radical thinker among its greatest heroes,
and sees climate change as the most important issue facing the world, but it
has always regarded opposition to nuclear power as an article of faith. Last
night the leaders of both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth rejected his

Professor Lovelock, who achieved international fame as the author of the
Gaia hypothesis, the theory that the Earth keeps itself fit for life by the
actions of living things themselves, was among the first researchers to
sound the alarm about the threat from the greenhouse effect.

He was in a select group of scientists who gave an initial briefing on
climate change to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Cabinet at 10 Downing
Street in April 1989.

He now believes recent climatic events have shown the warming of the
atmosphere is proceeding even more rapidly than the scientists of the UN's
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) thought it would, in their
last report in 2001.

On that basis, he says, there is simply not enough time for renewable
energy, such as wind, wave and solar power - the favoured solution of the
Green movement - to take the place of the coal, gas and oil-fired power
stations whose waste gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), is causing the atmosphere to

He believes only a massive expansion of nuclear power, which produces almost
no CO2, can now check a runaway warming which would raise sea levels
disastrously around the world, cause climatic turbulence and make
agriculture unviable over large areas. He says fears about the safety of
nuclear energy are irrational and exaggerated, and urges the Green movement
to drop its opposition.

In today's Independent, Professor Lovelock says he is concerned by two
climatic events in particular: the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which
will raise global sea levels significantly, and the episode of extreme heat
in western central Europe last August, accepted by many scientists as
unprecedented and a direct result of global warming.

These are ominous warning signs, he says, that climate change is speeding,
but many people are still in ignorance of this. Important among the reasons
is "the denial of climate change in the US, where governments have failed to
give their climate scientists the support they needed".

He compares the situation to that in Europe in 1938, with the Second World
War looming, and nobody knowing what to do. The attachment of the Greens to
renewables is "well-intentioned but misguided", he says, like the Left's
1938 attachment to disarmament when he too was a left-winger.

He writes today: "I am a Green, and I entreat my friends in the movement to
drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy."

His appeal, which in effect is asking the Greens to make a bargain with the
devil, is likely to fall on deaf ears, at least at present.

"Lovelock is right to demand a drastic response to climate change," Stephen
Tindale, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said last night. "He's right
to question previous assumptions.

"But he's wrong to think nuclear power is any part of the answer. Nuclear
creates enormous problems, waste we don't know what to do with; radioactive
emissions; unavoidable risk of accident and terrorist attack."

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "Climate change and
radioactive waste both pose deadly long-term threats, and we have a moral
duty to minimise the effects of both, not to choose between them."

To remove yourself from this list, please use the form at


Messages by Date [ Next by Date: Re: [sharechat] Nuclear Power (I know, not again...) Hans Van der Voorn
Previous by Date: [sharechat] NZ ports Marilyn Munroe ]
Messages by Thread [ Next by Thread: Re: [sharechat] Nuclear Power (I know, not again...) Hans Van der Voorn
Previous by Thread: [sharechat] Do you know what I think? Lazy Haggis ]
Post to the Forum [ New message Reply to this message ]