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Another Greenpeace Executive for Nuclear Energy

Greenpeace Environmentalists Nuclear EnergyFirst it was Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore seeing the light about the benefits of nuclear power, now another former director of the international environmental organization has become a convert. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Stephen Tindale, Executive Director of Greeenpeace UK from 2001-2007, describes his road to Calvary Damascus.
“My change of mind wasn’t sudden, but gradual over the past four years. But the key moment when I thought that we needed to be extremely serious was when it was reported that the permafrost in Siberia was melting massively, giving up methane, which is a very serious problem for the world,” he [Tindale] said.

“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,” he added.
For his article, "Nuclear power? Yes please...," The Independent's Science Editor, Steve Connor, also interviewed Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, the chairman of the Environment Agency and Mark Lynas, author of the Royal Society's science book of the year in 2008 (Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet).
None...was in favour of nuclear power a decade ago, but recent scientific evidence of just how severe climate change may become as a result of the burning of oil, gas and coal in conventional power stations has transformed their views.

“The issue that has primarily changed my mind is the absolute imperative of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Fifteen years ago we knew less about climate change. We knew it was likely to happen, we didn’t quite realise how fast,” said Lord Smith, who described himself as a long-time sceptic regarding nuclear power.

“What’s happened is that we’ve woken up to the very serious nature of the climate-change problem, the essential task of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and the need to decarbonise electricity production over the course of the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.

Renewable sources of energy, such as wind, wave and solar power, are still necessary in the fight against global warming, but achieving low-carbon electricity generation is far more difficult without nuclear power, Lord Smith said.

Mark Lynas said that his change of mind was also a gradual affair borne out of the need to do something concrete to counter the growing emissions of carbon dioxide created by producing electricity from the burning of fossil fuels. “I’ve been equivocating over this for many years; it’s not as if it’s a sudden conversion, but it’s taken a long time to come out of the closet. For an environmentalist, it’s a bit like admitting you are gay to your parents because you’re kind of worried about being rejected,” Mr Lynas said.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The long moratorium on building nuclear power plants in Britain came about largely because of intense lobbying by environmentalists in the 1970s and 1980s – a campaign that may have caused more harm than good, Mr Lynas said.

“In retrospect, it 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,” he said.

The four [Ed. Note: Tindale, Smith, Lynas, and Chris Goodall] will now join the ranks of those like Sir David King, the former chief scientific adviser to the Government and now director of the Smith Centre in Oxford, who was sceptical about nuclear power until he was presented with data on the scale of the climate-change problem.


Anonymous said…
I think you mean "road to Damascus" instead of "road to Calvary"
kb said…
Thanks, anon...I did. Wonder what Freud [or my childhood priest, Fr. Shea] would say. I made the edit, though, given the Lynas quote in the article, the mistake somehow seems, if not intentional, appropriate. :)
MCrab said…
Not to forget George 'Moonbat' Monbiot himself. Seems like a section of the UK greens have finally realized the hypocrisy of talking of a CO2 apocalypse while decrying the country's biggest reducer of such emissions.

Of course anti-nuclear fervour runs in the bloodstream of much of the environmental movement. Monbiot, Lynas and the others have already been called heretics and turncoats. This green civil war has been a long time in coming...let's hope it's bloody!
Dirty Euro said…
In the Ukraine nuclear has killed 100,000's thousands of people and will cause birth defects for centuries plus it has left a vast area of the Ukraine unhabitable for centurues due to Chernobyl. Why do we need such dangerous technology. What is the worst climate change can do compared to what nuclear did in the the Ukraine.
I have no doubt the nuclear industry will win it is a devious devious industry with military support, and tedious oafs who do not even undwerstand what nuclear industry is often support it, this is making it impossible to defeat. To show how sick they are they tried to convince naive people that only 40 or so people died as a resuklt of Chernobykl, even though every non nuclear funded report stays 100,0s of thousands have died. They are a very very devious arrogant industry. So they will win.

I have no doubt people who do not even understand how devious the industry is will call me a hippy etc:
Well please justify why non nuclear funded reports suggest 100,000s of thousands died in chernobyl and the nuclear industry tries to claim under 100 people in all did. This is a very very devious industry and you know it. It is sick beyond belief. Ofcourse some people are dumb enough to fall for it. Like morons who says hey smoking isn't bad for you.
Man Overboard said…
One by one, the moderate environmentalists are beginning to see that nuclear energy is currently the only viable option.

The radicals among them will never listen to reason and never be silent, but they can be drowned out by the growing number of their own kind that support the industry.
Anonymous said…
Dirty Euro:

I'm pretty sure the studies that cite the smaller death figures from the Chernobyl incident were performed by United Nations organizations.

On the other hand, the "studies" you cite with the much higher death figures come most likely from Greenpeace.

Between the U.N. and Greenpeace, which do you think is more likely to be biased?
Dirty Euro said…
The UN report had the nuclear lobby on their board as you surely realise if you claim to be informed. The UN report was just a devious fudge a CONsensus between those in the health industry who calculate the death rates to be in the 100s of thousands and the devious nuclear industry who claim it was under 100.
So who do you believe.
1. Neutral health organisations including in the Ukraine, (not the "evil" greenpeace who like making things up to make you cry) who claim the death figures to be already in the 100s of thousands with many more injuries and birtgh defects.

2. The nuclear lobby figures that less than 100 people in all died.

3. The UN report which was specifically a consensus report and chosen to be sort of half way point between the two groups.

Will you be a cynic of big business or their patsy. You decide, explain yourself.

Please explain why greenpeace has anything in it for them to make up fake green worries. The UN is a multi national big government organisation, where even the US government, the UK government, Cuba, China and Saudi Arabia have influence. I understand we need a UN but there is no way i see it as a fairy tale goody goody place when they have Saudi Arabia and China represented on it. Grow up.
Anonymous said…
...did you just end a comment with the words "Grow up." ? That's a pretty big cue to cease wasting my time on you.
perdajz said…
Dirty Euro,

Your points are irrelevant, no matter how hard you contend they are true. No one here advocates building a new RBMK reactor, or adopting Soviet management techniques to run anything, much less a new nuclear power plant.

You are clearly venting your imagined pain at a convenient source: the NEI. I'm sorry you percieve these things. But here in the U.S., Chernobyl is mainly of historical or political interest. It's just not something an American nuclear engineer needs to think about in their day to day work.
KLA said…
Dirty Euro,

So you are convinced that studies from Greenpeace are so much more truthful than those of the UN.
After all, the Greenpeace Germany nuclear expert is an MBA with experience as investment banker, and the banking industry certainly knows its way around nuclear engineering, and is very trustworthy as recent events have shown.
Similar for expert on nuclear energy from Greenpeace US, which has a PhD, and is an expert in art restoration. All art restorers are of course also experts in nuclear engineering.

But if you are worried, just buy this product:

for just 995.- Euros. It will stop any radioactive electrons from nuclear reactors entering your house electricity.
There's also a bridge on sale if you are interrested.
Anonymous said…
There is universal scientific concensus that fossil fuels (particularly coal) are far worse than nuclear, even before global warming is considered.

Every single year, coal plants cause 25,000 deaths in the US, and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide. Thus, it is the equivalent of 20-30 Chernobyls every single year, going by UN estimates, and is still several Chernobyls every year even using GreenPeace's estimate.

And most environmentalists consider global warming to be more serious than these other, horrendous fossil fuel impacts.

If Dirty Euro places so much faith in GreenPeace's estimates, he/she should look up what they have to say about coal's impacts. If anything, they will be even higher than what I say above.

Meanwhile, Western nuclear platns have never had any measurable impact on public health, over their entire ~40-year history.

Jim Hopf
Anonymous said…
A few more quick points.

Greenpeace routinely makes up, or at least exaggerates, environmental worries, as it increases the size and influence of their organization (duh!). I thought this was obvious.

The govt. of Ukraine deliberately inflates its estimates of Chernobyl "casualties", because the UN put in place a compensation (relief/aid) formula which gives Ukraine more money the higher its estimates are. In fact, many have said that Ukraine's official estimates of Chernobyl fatalities are actually equal to the total number of people who have died in the country, from any cause, since the accident.

Don't believe me? Then ask yourself, if Urkraine really believes Chernobyl had such a terrible impact and killed so many of its people, then why is it enthusiastically building more nuclear power plants. It relies on nuclear for a large fraction of its overall power generation, and is actively seeking to increase this percentage. Hardly the actions of a nation that was actually mortally wounded by a nuclear accident.
Finrod said…
I've just checked out Euro's blog. There is an amusing post wherein Euro desperately tries to sway people not to read the blogs of his political opponents. Quite telling, really.
William Tucker said…
One thing you can say about Greenpeace, they sure have enough money to put into their studies. Greenpeace International has an annual budget of $150 million. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization only spends about $90 million.

William Tucker, author of Terrestrial Energy, How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Long Energy Odyssey.

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