Will the climate be nuked - in Mexico?

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#702
6001
15/01/2010
WISE Amsterdam
Article

Ask ten people who attended the climate talks in Copenhagen what the outcome was and you get at least ten different answers. Ask the 50 or so people who were there with a clear anti-nuclear energy focus and the situation is slightly better; maybe 25 different answers. The so-called Copenhagen Accord will be implemented by the parties who have agreed on it. It is not an official agreement of the Conference of the Parties (COP) as such, but rather a side-agreement that has only been "noted" by the Conference. It is only 3 pages long and leaves many questions unanswered.

At the end of two weeks of chaotic negotiations almost all nations accepted the Copenhagen Accord as the best that could come out of it. Just because 4 countries (Venezuela, Bolivia, Sudan and Tuvalu) did not support the text it is not an official UN-agreement.  That does not mean the agreement will not have any effects. One very important and welcomed part of the Accord was the recognition of the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius. This simply means that all countries but the so-called least-developed countries (LDC’s) are bound to take drastic and far-reaching measures to cut emissions of greenhouse-gases.

And then the question of ‘how’ is back on the table. Will nuclear be identified and accepted as tool in the fight against climate change? And if so, will it get financial support from public money via UN-based schemes and mechanisms? Under the current Kyoto-protocol it’s not possible to get (financial) credits by building nuclear power plants, not in your own and not in another country. Although the negotiations in Copenhagen were too far from basic agreements to even come to the detailed discussion on which technologies will be accepted to get support, the nuke-speak was often loudly present in the corridors.

And so was the anti-nuclear movement. With a few actions, both inside and outside the official negotiations venue, with some good programs at the NGO-shadow-conference (well-visited by officials who were locked out of the official venue due to capacity problems) we managed to make our voice heard and make very clear that the global environmental community will - despite being desperate about climate change and the lack of action by political leaders - never accept nuclear energy to be approved as part of the solution.

The Copenhagen Accord also decided that the developed countries will pledge US$ 30 billion for the period 2010 - 2012 to be spent on both adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. And the developed countries “commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly US$ 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. This funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance”….. ”A significant portion of such funding should flow through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund”.

So the crucial debate will be on which energy-technologies this money will be spent. The Accord is very vague on this. The only agreed-upon language on so-called flexible mechanisms and technology transfer is the following; “In order to enhance action on development and transfer of technology we decide to establish a Technology Mechanism to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on adaptation and mitigation that will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities”.

The decision on how this will work, and how to spend the money, will be taken in Mexico, in December. The ad-hoc umbrella ‘Don’t nuke the climate’ will decide in early spring about its further plans.   

Sources: http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_15/application/pdf/cop15_cph_auv.pdf / www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org
Contact: WISE Amsterdam

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