IPCCs Climate Change Proposals Include Nuclear Power

IPCCs Climate Change Proposals Include Nuclear Power

Contact: Nick Berning, 202-222-0748

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report early this morning in Bangkok, Thailand, warning that major policy changes are needed if increasing global warming is to be curtailed.

Many of the panel’s proposed changes, including increased efficiency standards and using more clean energy, were welcomed by the environmental community, but Friends of the Earth found some proposals disappointing. Particularly troubling was a recommendation to expand the use of nuclear power.

“The report looks like a compromise rather than a serious plan. It offers something for everyone without making the tough choices,” Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder said. “Some of these recommendations make a lot of sense, but unfortunately, some of them — especially the push for nuclear power — move us in the wrong direction. Nuclear power threatens humans and the environment. It is not necessary to combat climate change.”

Nuclear power has come under criticism from a variety of fronts because of the difficulty of disposing with radioactive waste, the extremely high cost of construction and operation, and because of security threats posed by the risk of weapons proliferation and the susceptibility of power plants to terrorist attack. Even the IPCC report acknowledged these as potential drawbacks of nuclear power usage.

“The IPCC got a number of things right,” Blackwelder said. “Increasing energy efficiency and using clean energy sources such as wind power are steps that can be taken right now to reduce global warming — without damaging other parts of the environment. Let’s focus on those measures, and not nuclear power, which has such harmful side effects.”

The report released this morning was the third focusing on climate change produced by the IPCC this year. While the previous reports focused primarily on the evidence that climate change is caused by humans and the likely consequences of such change, this report is the first to go into detail about measures that can be taken to address the problem.