Monday, May 30, 2011

the guardian reports...

The position of the International Energy Agency is interesting. The Guardian quotes Fatih Birol, chief economist of IEA.

"It means the room for manoeuvre is shrinking," warned Birol.

• Another factor that suggests emissions will continue their climb is the crisis in the nuclear power industry. Following the tsunami damage at Fukushima, Japan and Germany have called a halt to their reactor programmes, and other countries are reconsidering nuclear power.

"People may not like nuclear, but it is one of the major technologies for generating electricity without carbon dioxide," said Birol. The gap left by scaling back the world's nuclear ambitions is unlikely to be filled entirely by renewable energy, meaning an increased reliance on fossil fuels.

• Added to that, the United Nations-led negotiations on a new global treaty on climate change have stalled. "The significance of climate change in international policy debates is much less pronounced than it was a few years ago," said Birol.

But Germany not only decommissions its nuclear power plants by 2022, but also sets an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And additionally, nuclear power plants don't emit CO2 only when generating power. The mining and fuel processing emit greenhouse gas. And more importantly, they emit more toxic materials than greenhouse gas.

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