Sep. 19. 2014
Joint Statement: Toward the UN Climate Summit – for the world without climate change crisis and nuclear energy
The climate crisis is one of the biggest issues we face and has been the most threatening concern to the life on the earth we ever experienced. To avert future disasters and critical effects of the climate change, an agreement was made that limits the world to a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature. To achieve this goal, greenhouse gas emission must be reduced radically. The upcoming UN Climate Summit on the 23rd September is hosted by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and not only the leaders of UN Member States but others at the highest level from private sectors, finance, civil society, etc. are invited. The purpose of the summit is to gather political wills for a meaningful international agreement at 2015 COP21 in Paris, and to reduce greenhouse gas emission by promoting active involvement for enhancing resilience against on-going changes. We expect this summit be the big step forward for an ambitious international agreement of 2015 to avert climate crisis.
While at the same time, we strongly oppose to consider nuclear energy to be a solution to the climate change. In Japan, the worst accident at TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company)’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station occurred in 2011 which left hundreds of thousands of refugees. Even now radiation release continues especially with a highly-concentrated amount to the ocean. We must not repeat this tragedy ever again. We would like to emphasize that nuclear power cannot be a solution to the climate change due to the following reasons;
1) Once accidents occur, social and environmental damage as well as violations of fundamental human rights including rights to health, to lands and houses, safe water, is immeasurable. Particularly, socially vulnerable populations such as women and children would suffer the most;
2) Even if there is no accident, there is always a risk of radioactive contamination and surrounding environment that could become contaminated. As long as an atomic reactor is activated, it would generate radioactive waste while there is no proper way to dispose them. Uranium mining as well as nuclear waste contains a risk to our ecosystem and will result in severe violations of human rights in terms of environmental protection, such as health and hygiene, and rights to land;
3) Dependency on nuclear energy in the states holding nuclear power plants consequentially leads to nuclear proliferation in non-holder states;
4) To maintain the large scale system may prevent small scale distributed energy systems, which use renewable energy sources, from becoming widespread;
5) Because nuclear power plants allow for a large energy consumption, people and policy makers neglect taking measures such as energy-conservation effort;
6) The latest IPCC report shows that, even without nuclear energy, ambitious global warming goal is achievable with alternative generation technologies as well as energy-saving efforts, and increase in cost would be not too much. If you consider properly the cost of a nuclear accidents, it is rather nuclear energy which will result in a higher cost;
7) Although it is said to have no emission of greenhouse gas during the operation, when you include the whole cycle of nuclear fuel – uranium mining, construction, disposal and storage of atomic waste –overall it emits a greater amount of greenhouse gas than many other alternative generation technologies;
8) Greenhouse gas emission has not been decreased in spite of increase of nuclear power plants;
9) Acknowledging a radical reduction of greenhouse gas is an urgent task, however, the current discussion of the construction of a new prototype of a radioactive reactor is neither realistic nor reasonable.
For the future society, it is required to build a sustainable energy system which does not depend on nuclear power plants or fossil fuel considering the enormous risk of nuclear disasters and climate change. The system consists of energy-saving, energy efficiency, and sustainable renewable energy.
We call upon the Japanese government as well as international society to share the immeasurable threats both of nuclear power and of climate change, and take the first step towards safe, peaceful, and sustainable world.
Friends of the Earth Japan
Human Rights Now
Citizens’ Alliance for Saving the Atmosphere and the Earth (CASA)
Ugoku/Ugokasu (GCAP Japan)
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Japan Civil Network for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity
Japan Network for Earth Environment and Prevention of Pollution