Friday, May 29, 2009

G8 Gives Nuclear a Nudge

Some interesting movements at the G8 Energy Ministers’ Meeting this week in Rome.

The energy ministers of the G8 countries offered their thoughts on nuclear’s role in energy security and emissions reductions.

In a joint statement with the European Energy Commissioner, the G8 energy ministers called for international cooperation on nuclear energy:

“…We encourage all countries interested in the civil use of nuclear energy to engage in constructive international collaboration. To this end we support international co-operation to ensure the highest possible available technical standards…”

In another joint statement from the G8 energy ministers; the European energy commissioner; and the energy ministers of Brazil, China, Egypt, India, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa recognized the importance of nuclear power for “those of us interested.”

Perhaps most compelling was an IEA background paper prepared for the conference, “The Impact of the Financial and Economic Crisis on Global Energy Investments.” This document duly notes that

“Nuclear technology is the only large-scale, base-load electricity production technology with a near zero carbon footprint, apart from hydro power (where potential is often limited).”

Ok. Some rather interesting verbiage, but what’s the big deal?

Answer: The people behind the announcements and the timing. The G8 Energy ministers are a powerful bunch and the stated, #1 objective of the G8 Energy Ministers’ meeting was “to define common strategies to cope with global climate change.” 

Next week, preparatory negotiations for the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen are set to begin in Bonn, Germany. Then, it’s on to the full G8 meeting in Italy this July. It’s too early to tell what, if any, effect these joint statements might have on the climate change or G8 talks, but the timing couldn’t be better.

Oh, and about that European Energy Commissioner, it’s Andris Piebalgs. And he has a very interesting blog post here on nuclear power’s role in Europe’s energy portfolio. At “more than a third” of EU electricity supply, it plays no minor role. And it’s sure to continue to play a role as Europe continues to fret about secure, low-carbon energy supplies.

The open question is whether this will have an knock-on effect outside the G8. It should be an interesting summer.     

Written by Thaddeus Swanek

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People are starting to finally "get it." For those who don't read this short article. It explains how, quite simply, there is no alternative to nuclear.
http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=340&idli=3