Moving Beyond Nuclear and Coal?
In cooperation with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, the Heinrich Boell Foundation South Africa arranged a set of presentations and a panel discussion about the international movement away from nuclear and coal-based energy. Entitled “Moving Beyond Nuclear and Coal,” this side event at the COP17 Climate Change Conference brought together highly distinguished experts who shared their perspectives on the transition from a nuclear and coal-based energy matrix to an energy mix based on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Kimiko Hirata of the Kiko Network presented the Japanese rationale the nation’s rejection of nuclear-based energy. The radioactive contamination from the Fukushima plant will be not only impossible to completely remove, but new nuclear safety standards enacted after the accident rendered only 10 of Japan’s 54 nuclear power plants safe for continued operation.
Arne Jungjohann of the Heinrich Boell Foundation North America described the green energy transition that Germany is currently undergoing. Nuclear disasters such as the recent Fukushima incident provoked a nation-wide reassessment of the nation’s reliance on nuclear energy and encouraged the public to support an accelerated transition to a renewable energy economy.
Michaele Schreyer, former EU commissioner, provided insights into current energy plans across Europe: the EU recently demonstrated its commitment towards a renewable energy future by entering into a binding commitment to generate 37% of its electricity mix from renewable energy sources by 2020.