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COP6 Preparatory Meeting

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(September 15, 2000) In Lyon, France, from 11 until 15 September government delegations and lobbyists from both environmental and industrial groups met for the preparatory meeting of the official COP6 Climate Conference in The Hague, Netherlands in November. In fact, this preparatory meeting is more a place where the delegations try to make deals on some issues in advance of the main COP6 meeting.

(534.5202) WISE Amsterdam - The nuclear lobby had a strong delegation in Lyon. Groups like the Uranium Institute, Foratom and the European Nuclear Society all had several lobbyists wandering around the "Palace de Congres". They also had a stand with loads of fancy flyers and a big sign saying "Nuclear Energy, a part of the solution". The strategy of the nuclear lobby was subtler than at previous occasions. Several anti-nuclear activists in a Climate Action Network meeting concluded that instead of just saying "Nuclear energy is the solution for climate change" most lobby briefings, like a paper of Foratom, now said: "All CO2 free sources of energy, including nuclear, are needed in the international effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions - and to meet the global demand for electricity which is set to increase dramatically in the decades to come."

Another move that nuclear lobbyists are working on is getting nuclear energy recognized as a sustainable energy source on an international level. Helene Connor from Helio International, a French NGO, warned other Environmental NGO's that nuclear lobbyists are doing a big effort to get nuclear energy on the agenda of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. The UNCSD is a UN Commission with 53 government delegations that are monitoring the various agreements that originated from the Earth Summit in Rio in 1990, concerning climate change, biodiversity and other environmental issues. In the next meeting (UNCSD-9) in April 2001, the commission will meet in New York, US. During the meeting there will be an exhibition on sustainable technology next to the UN building. Currently there is a debate going whether or not Canadian reactor builder Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) will be allowed to take part in that exhibition.

The Ad hoc Intergovernmental Expert Group on Energy within the UNCSD is to discuss potential sustainable energy sources. This expert group, which will meet in February to prepare for UNCSD-9 has been targeted by nuclear lobbyists to include nuclear energy as a sustainable energy source, says Connor. That would pave the way for nuclear energy to get rubber-stamped as sustainable. Helio International is currently gathering a petition among NGO's that calls to exclude nuclear energy from the UNCSD meeting and urges NGO's from member countries to put pressure on their governments to ask for the same.

It looks as if the attempt to get nuclear on the agenda of the UNCSD could be a back-up plan of the nuclear lobby. Their current strategy still is to prevent any technology list to be drafted at the COP6 meeting, rather than to have to accept a positive list without nuclear energy.

The chairing committee of the Lyon meeting made it clear that they want the CDM list to be decided upon at COP6 in November. Whether or not that will happen depends heavily on the position of the US, which has a heavily weighted vote at the climate talks. They tend to oppose any list that specifically excludes certain technologies from CDM. If no list is drawn up at COP6, the discussion will drag on to the next COP meeting.

Source and contact: WISE Amsterdam