Open Letter to European Council of Ministers on sustainable finance for nuclear

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Published on 19/12/2019

Initiated by Energy for Humanity, this letter has been published in the Financial Times (December 17). The 53 signatories include world famous climate scientists; academics, political leaders; regulators; climate NGOs; authors; artists; and investors.

Dear European Council of Ministers,

Nuclear power is the single biggest source of low carbon electricity in Europe today and is recognised in many of the scenarios assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IEA and other organisations as having a critical role to play in responding to the climate emergency.

It is therefore vital that nuclear is included in the EU’s new classification system for environmentally sustainable activities which is currently being negotiated in Brussels. The “taxonomy” is supposed to provide clear definitions to fund managers and investors about which products are environmentally sustainable and which are not. For this initiative to serve its purpose, which is to increase the volume of financial capital flowing to sustainable activities, financiers must have confidence that the definition of a sustainable activity is developed with rigour, robustness and in an objective way.

However, progress is being blocked by several countries, including Germany, who claim nuclear should be excluded because of their concerns about nuclear waste. This is in spite of clear evidence that nuclear waste does not and will not cause harm to sustainability objectives. In fact, nuclear energy displaces fossil fuel use with significant air pollution and climate benefits. Without nuclear, there will be half a billion tonnes of extra CO2 emissions every year in Europe, which is more than the emissions of UK or France alone. Without nuclear, our action on climate will be more difficult, more expensive, and more likely to fail. The real harm done will be to Europe’s ambition to achieve net zero by 2050.

Yours Sincerely,

Signatories :

  1. Dr James E. Hansen, Climate Scientist, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  2. Francois-Marie Bréon, Climate Scientist, lead author for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (France)
  3. Hans Blix, IAEA Director General (1981 to 1997), former Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sweden)
  4. Martin Rees, House of Lords (UK)
  5. Dr Ken Caldeira, Climate Scientist, Department of Global Ecology Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University (US)
  6. Baroness Bryony Worthington, House of Lords (UK)
  7. Lord Ravensdale, House of Lords (UK)
  8. Professor Lord Krebs Kt FRS FMed Sci Department of Zoology University of Oxford
  9. Dr Tim Stone, former Member of the Board of the European Investment Bank (2003-2018) (UK)
  10. Hon. Jeffrey S. Merrifield, Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1998-2007)
  11. Brice LaLonde, former French Minister of the Environment; former French Climate Ambassador; former French Green party leader; French Presidential candidate (1981)
  12. John Belgrove, Senior Partner, Aon (Global)
  13. José Gabriel González, singer
  14. Kirsty Gogan, Energy for Humanity (Global)
  15. Eric Ingersoll, Energy Options Network (US)
  16. Michael Liebreich, Liebreich Associates (UK)
  17. Professor Jacopo Buongiorno, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
  18. Professor Joseph Lassiter, Retired, Harvard Business School (US)
  19. Robert Stone, Filmmaker, Director, Chasing the Moon (US)
  20. Daniel Aegerter, Chair, Armada Investment Group (Switzerland)
  21. Nick Spencer FIA, Gordian Advice (UK)
  22. Dr Janne Gustafsson, Ilmarinen Pension Mutual Insurance Company (Finland)
  23. Gilles Babinet, represents France in the EU Digital Champions group (France)
  24. Atte Harjanne, Member of the Parliament of Finland (Green Parliamentary Group)
  25. Mark Yelland, Greens for Nuclear, Green Party Member (UK)
  26. Dr. Staffan Qvist, Author, A Bright Future (Sweden/UK)
  27. Dr. Simon Friederich, University of Groningen (NL) Cofounder German Ecomodernists (Germany)
  28. Amardeo Sarma, Cofounder German Ecomodernists (Germany)
  29. Tea Törmänen, Chair of Finnish Ecomodernists (Finland)
  30. Take Aanstoot, Founder and Chair, Swedish Ecomodernist Society (Sweden)
  31. Adam Blazowski, FOTA4Climate (Poland)
  32. Pavel Gajda, Institute of Sustainable Energy (Poland)
  33. Marc Deffrennes, weCARE (EU)
  34. Valerie Faudon, Nuclear 4 Climate (Global)
  35. Myrto Tripathi, Voix du Nucléaire (France)
  36. Eric Maucort, Sauvons le Climat (France)
  37. Paul Bossens, 100TWh (Belgium)
  38. Iida Ruishalme, Mothers for Nuclear (EU)
  39. Rauli Partanen, Think Atom (Finland)
  40. Prof. Dr. Barbro Walker, Professor of Childhood, University of Applied Sciences, Berlin (Germany)
  41. Dr Jenifer Baxter, CSci MIMMM, CEng MIMechE, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (UK)
  42. Professor Simon Taylor, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge (UK)
  43. Professor Anton van der Merwe Professor of Molecular Immunology, University of Oxford (UK)
  44. Dr T Ben Britton (he/him), CEng, CSci, FIMMM, Imperial College London (UK)
  45. Armond Cohen, Clean Air Task Force (US)
  46. Josh Freed, Third Way (US)
  47. Todd Moss, Energy for Growth (Global)
  48. Ted Nordhaus, Breakthrough Institute (US)
  49. Tracey Durning, Energy Options Network (US)
  50. Suzanne Hobbs Baker, Fastest Path to Zero Initiative, University of Michigan (US)
  51. Jessica Lovering, Carnegie Mellon University (US)
  52. Eric Meyer, Generation Atomic (US)
  53. Dr Ben Heard, Bright New World (Australia)