46 environmental NGOs request nuclear energy’s fair recognition in the European taxonomy
46 environmental NGOs' open letter for the recognition of nuclear power
Open letter to the European Commission
A letter sent to the president Ursula van der Leyen, on March 27, 2021
Dear Ms. President of the European Commission,
As the discussions on the European taxonomy for sustainable investments are unfolding, we turn to you, as citizens of this world and inhabitants of this planet who care deeply for the well-being of people and nature, because this well-being is threatened by the European Union’s continued reliance on fossil fuels.
Like you, we are committed to offering younger generations a world as welcoming and resilient as the one we inherited, with a stable climate. But disruptions to nature are becoming more and more acute and their effects more palpable. Growing uncertainties threaten our future.
Scientific assessments have made clear that nuclear energy is needed to address the related causes and the challenges ahead of these disruptions. Despite this, the limited recognition this low carbon, dispatchable energy source receives from the European Commission is at best paradoxical, and certainly counterproductive.
The irrationality of some decisions being taken by several Member States – and increasingly also the Commission – targeting the normal development of nuclear energy can be traced back to the media and political treatment of nuclear, as was again recently demonstrated during the Fukushima Daichi accident commemorations and the repeated false claims about its effects on health. Its continuous multi-facetted misrepresentation has hindered the deployment of nuclear power, the European Union’ first source of low-carbon energy, and forced us to keep fossil fuel plants online, hampering our efforts to fight climate change, preserve Europe’s energy sovereignty and reduce air pollution.
The public has been misled by rigged information about nuclear, with opinion driven by fear, leading to a situation where policies and politicians seek to, and succeed, in shutting down clean and safe long-term nuclear energy sources, and cancel planned ones.
Populations have accepted the systematic obstruction of nuclear energy development because the scientific evidence continues to be overshadowed by the myths built around it.
Pollution from fossil fuels is the clear and present danger we face. Fossil fuels are the ones responsible for continuing carbon emissions and air pollution, claiming 1.5 million lives every year in Europe alone1.
The European Union is responsible for its greenhouse gas emissions as the second2consumer market in the world (12 % of global emissions3). It is a major player through its regulations and standards, its influence in international transport regulations, as the largest donor of development aid and as the largest contributor to sustainable finance. Outside and within, it promotes its vision and technical approach of how to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
We, as European citizens, granted the European Union the wonderful capacity to undertake actions with decisive impacts on the future. The decisions that it makes regarding the energy transition will be critical for decades to come and impact millions.
If we fail to appropriately include nuclear energy, we, as members of the European Union, will have to bear responsibility for promoting a strategy that is clearly inadequate to decarbonize our economies and hence preserve climate and populations.
We, as citizens of the world, ask for the European Union to recognize the value and importance of its leadership and take responsibility for it.
Because energy is the lifeblood of our societies, we want to ensure that this crucial issue is addressed at the level required by the challenges we face.
Dear Mrs. Von der Leyen, we ask that all low-carbon energy sources be considered equally in the on-going and future discussions held at the European Commission level, including on the taxonomy for sustainable investments. We ask that the EU supports evidence-based assessment of all options at hand. We ask that scientifically accurate facts about nuclear energy be told.
We look forward to witnessing the European Union promote, under your leadership, balanced and considered decisions to the benefit of all its people, restoring the enlightened approach to science that made it the great union of countries that it is.
Belgian Citizen Initiative for Nuclear Energy (Belgium)
Fundacja Aquila (Poland)
Mothers for Nuclear
(Germany, Austria, Switzerland)
Outside of the EU organizations
Go Green with Nuclear (Taiwan)
Green Nuclear Student Alliance (South Korea)
– Vohra, Karn et al., « Global mortality from outdoor fine particle pollution generated by fossil fuel combustion: Results from GEOS-Chem », Environmental Research, April 2021.
Available at: www.sciencedirect.com
– P. Friedlingstein et al., « Global Carbon Budget 2020 », Earth System Science Data, December 2020. Available at: essd.copernicus.org
– Peters, Glen P. et al., « Growth in emission transfers via international trade from 1990 to 2008 », Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2011.
Available at: www.pnas.org