Summary of the Current status/situation
The best news in Panama today came over the news wires from thousands of kilometres away – Denmark announced that it aims to cut emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020! It is a reminder to all of us that we must achieve strong domestic policies while continuing to work for a global deal and a reminder to other countries that prosperity does not equal high carbon energy.
At this juncture it is a difficult to wrap your arms around the negotiations and where they are headed as we are still fairly early days but we do understand that various pieces of text are making their way through working groups.
Japan won the first “Fossil of the Day Award” for proposing to include nuclear power under Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism. The CDM is a Kyoto Protocol market mechanism that allows developed countries to buy offsets that supposedly benefit developing country projects. First Japan says it won’t support a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol yet they want to access a mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and proliferate nuclear in other countries. This from a country which has just suffered the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl at Fukushima and that, as a result, has closed down many nuclear plants and is rightly shifting its emphasis towards clean energy. It means that Japan wants to export the nuclear technology that brought such tremendous hardship upon its own people to developing countries and to earn credits for it. One is tempted to ask if they are cynically just looking for exports markets for nuclear which they are now moving away from. This move is a direct threat to the clean energy future to which most of us aspire.
It is inappropriate, irresponsible and morally wrong, given the fact that the country still hasn’t been able to bring closure to the nuclear accident and the victims. We hear that India is tacitly supporting this proposal but they really need to ask themselves whether it is fair to the Indian people to import the kind of nuclear risk we have seen is all too real. India, it has to be remembered is one of only three countries that is not a member of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
We sincerely hope Japan comes to its senses, drops the proposal and rather supports the previous prime minister’s move towards clean energy.
Nuclear can never under any guise be described as clean. We know what energy sources are clean and safe. We need to make sure that nuclear power is relegated to the dustbin of failed, dangerous technologies of the 20th century.
What is happening?
Japan received a Fossil of the Day Award today for their efforts at trying to put nuclear power into the clean development mechanism.
One issue that bubbles beneath the surface but hasn’t been addressed in a serious effort is the dysfunction which dogs the UNFCCC due to a lack of ‘Rules of Procedure’. In essence the lack of ‘voting rules’ or ‘Rules of Procedure” which should govern how the process works means that almost everything at these negotiations has to be by consensus. It could be argued that the very fact that the rules have not been agreed is one key reason that we don’t have a deal. Every other international convention has rules agreed and it is time they were agreed in the UNFCCC.
Message for the day
No Nukes in the CDM. Japan should support Kyoto and a clean energy future.
Showing the clean energy way forward for Japan can be found in Greenpeace’s energy scenario: http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/er_report.pdf; the summary is available here: http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/er_summary_eng.pdf
WWF Japan is also pushing a shift from nukes to renewables in their 100% renewables petition:
About the authorPaul Horsman
Having campaigned for over 26 years on peace and environmental issues in different parts of the world for Greenpeace, Paul now works as the global campaign director for the Global Campaign for Climate Action.