SEARCH BLOG: NUCLEAR
I have written many times that nuclear power is the only feasible alternative to fossil fuels... too many times to cite here so do the search above. Now from Europe as reported by way of Dr. John Ray:
That old planet sure seems to need a lot of saving
The role of nuclear power in Europe received an unexpected boost yesterday as EU leaders hailed a landmark climate change deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and switch to renewable fuels.
Environmentalists complained that an ambitious headline goal to cut Europe's CO emissions by a fifth by 2020 had been weakened by concessions to the main nuclear nations and the biggest polluters in Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, will use the agreement struck at the spring EU summit in Brussels to put pressure on world leaders to follow suit when she hosts the G8 meeting in June. China, India and Brazil will join that summit and, like the US, be challenged to accept the principle of binding CO cuts for the first time.
As well as agreeing in principle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, EU leaders pledged to ensure that 20 per cent of Europe's energy will come from renewable sources by 2020. The commitment of all 27 member nations is legally enforceable by the European Court of Justice.
Months of haggling will follow as diplomats argue over targets for individual countries. Each will contribute a different amount, and diplomats made clear that less would be expected of the heaviest-polluting former Communist countries. The Czechs and Slovaks had both complained that they had only just left decades of five-year plans behind them. In a sop to France and the Czech Republic, a country's nuclear power capability will be taken into account when calculating national commitments to renewable energy. France produces 80 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power stations and insisted that this "noncarbon" source of fuel should be taken into consideration. French diplomats believe this will lessen the EU demand for more renewable sources such as wave, wind and solar power.
Jacques Chirac, the outgoing French President, welcomed the deal as one of the top three achievements of the EU during his 12 years in the Elysee Palace. Tony Blair was also pleased with the concession towards the nuclear powers. The outcome will give a boost to his plans to rebuild Britain's ageing nuclear power stations which suffered a setback last month when the High Court ruled that the consultation process was seriously flawed. Mr Blair said: "There is then the 20 per cent target on renewable energy. In setting that, there will be permission to look at the energy mix that countries have . . . including nuclear technology, which obviously helps the UK as well."
Environmentalists were less enthusiastic. Friends of the Earth said the targets were timid. A spokesman said: "Heads of States gave a modest boost to the uptake of renewable energies, but agreed that the EU should aim low on cutting greenhouse gases, and failed again to agree any concrete commitment towards reducing Europe's appalling waste of energy."
Mr Blair and Mr Chirac were full of praise for the handling of the summit by Mrs Merkel, who faced strong opposition to her climate change ambitions from several nations, not least in eastern European countries such as Poland, which still rely heavily on fossil fuels. But she was determined to give herself the best possible leverage on members of the G8 to persuade them to follow suit and prepare a post-Kyoto global framework for cutting harmful emissions. President Chirac described the outcome as "one of the great moments of European history". He said: "It was not easy, but Mrs Merkel achieved it with lots of intelligence and brio."
Key to any new global deal will be the United States, where Congress refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol, but also China, India and Brazil, which were all excused Kyoto targets because they were classed as developing nations in the 1990s. The EU deal allows Mrs Merkel to challenge other global players to match the EU's commitment - with the extra pledge that Europe will go further and cut emissions by up to 30 per cent if others are prepared to follow suit.
Sometimes the obvious just takes time to be observed.