Wednesday, 16 December 2009

NGO Demonstrators: No to Coal, No to Oil, No to Nuclear

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COPENHAGEN — Fossil fuels may be the main targeted villains at the United Nation's Climate Conference, but the activist non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the summit have let it be known that nuclear power is just as unacceptable to them as coal or oil.

While some environmentalists, in the interests of reducing the CO2 emissions associated with burning carbon-based fuels, have switched from anti- to pro-nuclear power in recent years, it is clear that many — if not most — of the militant environmentalist organizations remain adamantly opposed to the expansion of nuclear power. Many even propose decommissioning and dismantling the existing nuclear power electrical plants.

One of the many NGO demonstrations to greet summit delegates and journalists today inside the Bella Center was put together by Don't Nuke The Climate. Like many of the other groups staging protests, agitprop theater, and official presentations, Don't Nuke The Climate was given a prime position in the Bella Center's busy thoroughfare between the NGO exhibition hall and the Center's main atrium, and right next to the Media Center, to guarantee maximum media coverage.

As can seen from our news video below, Don't Nuke The Climate believes nuclear power is "one of the most dangerous and polluting technologies of all."

Charlotte Mijeon, who presented the group's campaign to the conventioneers, is a spokesperson for Reseau Sortir du Nucleaire France, an alliance of 848 French organizations that bills itself as a "Network phasing out the nuclear age." According to Ms. Mijeon:

Nuclear power has been rightly excluded from the Kyoto Protocol, but now it is trying to make its comeback, and some countries are trying to push it into the new [Copenhagen] agreement. We want to remind you that nuclear power in itself is one of the most dangerous and polluting technologies of all — because of the waste it generates, because of the accident risk, because of proliferation risks, because of the pollution due to uranium mining.

The website for Reseau Sortir du Nucleaire France declares the group "supports actions for phasing out nuclear power, whether local, national or international."

In addition to the hundreds of French organizations that make up the Don't Nuke The Climate coalition, the campaign has enlisted dozens of groups from other nations, as well as international groups. The anti-nuke coalition members include Antinuclear Australia, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Friends of the Earth, the Green Party of Turkey, Global Jains, the Palestine Youth Committee, Greenpeace, and Green Women.

While the Don't Nuke The Climate activists are unalterably opposed to nuclear power, some of the environmentalists who have been cited recently for switching to the pro-nuclear camp have been misrepresented in many media accounts. Perhaps the most prominent example of misreporting in this regard concerns stories about climate-alarmist James Hansen, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

As we noted in The New American this past January, Hansen was erroneously reported as having adopted a pro-nuclear power position. In a letter to President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama, Hansen called for a heavy carbon tax on coal, oil, and gas, to "decarbonizes" the economy. And he proposed that we build more nuclear power plants. But, as The New American reported, Hansen demanded a very high, deal-crushing hurdle:

However, before rejoicing that another militant greenie has embraced nuclear energy (which has been brought to a standstill in the United States, while the rest of the world races ahead with this technology that America developed), it should be noted that Hansen's recommendation comes with a critical caveat. You see, like many supposedly "reasonable environmentalists," he is all for nuclear power — but not with the currently available nuclear power technology. He's in favor of shutting down our current carbon-based economy even before his proposed new "clean" nuclear power plants are available. Under Hansen's plan, billions of tax dollars would be pumped into research and development projects aimed at producing "4th generation nuclear power (4th GNP)" that would be "cleaner" than the current generation.

How do Hansen and the activists from Don’t Nuke The Climate propose to take our societies off energy from nuclear, coal, gas, and oil without causing massive hardship, economic havoc — and even death for large numbers of people? That is a question they never adequately address.