UK to have a nuclear energy throwdown on Thursday

UK nuclear energy debateJuly 7th will be a pretty epic day for those folks that get passionate about the energy industry in London.

Guardian UK contributor George Monbiot says,

On Thursday 7th July, I’ll be thrashing out the issues with Greenpeace and others. Come along if you can. Here’s the motion we’ll be debating:

“New carbon targets require reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 50% for 2030. This house believes that it will be impossible to meet the emissions reductions required to fulfill these obligations without the use of nuclear power.”

The nuclear energy debate will be going down at 6:30pm London time, which is 11:30am east coast time in the United States.

The debate will be streamed by I don’t really get super jazzed about the energy conversation (personally), but I think the debate will be quite interesting and plan to watch at least some of it.

Who else will be participating in the debate and why are they even debating nuclear energy?

RSC says,

New carbon targets requires reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 50% for 2030. This house believes that it will be impossible to meet the emissions reductions required to fulfil these obligations without the use of nuclear power.

Taking the pro-nuclear viewpoint are George Monbiot, a freelance journalist, and Malcolm Grimston, a Senior Research Fellow from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London.

Arguing against the motion are Doug Parr, Chief Scientist at Greenpeace, and Roger Levett, an independent energy consultant.

Presiding over the debate is Karl Rose, Director of Policies and Scenarios at the World Energy Council.

The interesting thing to me is that SO many anti-nuclear activists have switched teams and become pro-nuclear in recent years. Such figures notably include clean energy superstars like former Greenpeace UK director Stephen Tindale, author Ian McEwan, writer Mark Lynas, and writer Stewart Brand (who spoke with a small group of journalists — myself included — at Ford’s Drive Green event in January).

Why the debate will be interesting on an Eco-Snobbery level

I don’t know if nuclear energy is a good solution to our growing energy “crisis” or not. What I do know is that people who have switched energy camps, like those listed above, tend to be less eco-snobs than those who spew the dogma of one side or the other exclusively.

Susanne Rustin from Guardian UK points out the same thing in her article this past Saturday titled, Has The Green Movement Lost Its Way?

Rustin goes on to say that the above-mentioned Mark Lynas goes so far as to call himself a “recovering activist” in his most recent book. I actually love that term. I ultimately hope to see openness from both sides of the podium at the UK nuclear debate on Thursday, but suspect that any such attitude will likely come from the pro-nuclear side exclusively.

Of course we could see dogmatism from both sides. Who knows?

Where do you come down on the nuclear debate and why? Pro? Against? On the fence? Indifferent?

[Photo: Gretchen Mahan/Flickr]

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About Jeffrey Davis

Yo, I'm Jeffrey, founder of and editor in chief here at Eco-Snobbery Sucks. I live in Nashville, TN and am a writer, personal trainer, web designer, and wookie hugger. I hang out on Twitter some but you can find me more active on Facebook. Enjoy the site!

  • Greentech-BG

    In the early days of Fukushima desaster somewhere were published data that energy generated by 4 nuclear reactors 1000 MW each are needed only for the slots mashines instaled around Tokio… Nuclear plants are installed mostly in rich and well developed countries. But is their energy realy so nessesery?
    Insisting that pleasures like gambling and alike deserve to be fueled by dengerous technology at the expense of the public health seems to me worst case of modern snobery.
    I live in a country much closer to Chernobil than yours. I have withnessed how every family in my country have lost members due to cancer and greater and gretaer number of kids born with poorer health or handycaped. Meanwhile government and health officials never care to put numbers togheter. Tragedy is in every home, but not in the statistics… I wouldn’t call antinuclear agenda snobbery. I can’t believe that someone else would…

    • Jeffrey Davis

      I don’t mean to make light of the disaster that nuclear energy can cause when it goes wrong…nor did I intend to make the anti-nuclear agenda sound like snobbery. (In fact, quite the opposite.)

      As i said in the post, I’m on the fence when it comes to whether nuclear is a good thing or a bad thing. The debate was interesting though.

      One interesting thing the pro-nuclear guys talked about was that, in their opinion, it’s not a fight between nuclear and renewables, but between nuclear/renewables vs fossil fuels. Both pro-nuclear guys said that neither of them thought nuclear was the answer for the long term, but we have it, we can use it, and it can drastically help reduce our CO2 production until we can get renewables cranked up to a large-scale level.

      As for me, I remain on the fence and heard some pretty good points from both sides.

  • Gavin Hudson

    I think nuclear is useful in addressing air pollution but problematic since the waste and safety issues clearly still loom large.

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