June 2nd, 2011
Location: Zhengjue Hutong, Beijing
A small reception to welcome Mr. Jacques Masurel (President) and Dr. Jerome Fouan (Nuclear Physicist) of French NGO Sauvons le Climat (Saving the Climate) was held on June 2, at the courtyard of Dr. Anton Smitsendonk (Chairman, China Carbon Forum). The event provided participants with an exciting opportunity to discuss the controversial issue of nuclear power, and its impact on climate change. The event was jointly held by China Carbon Forum and consulting firm Strategy613.
In presenting the position of Sauvons le Climat, Mr. Masurel stated that reducing carbon emissions was a number one priority in the face of the rapid depletion of the world’s supply of fossil fuels, considering it essential in the fight against climate change. Masurel also noted that while they agree with the European Commission’s idea that European countries must reduce their greenhouse gases by 20%, they disagree with the position that energy consumption should be reduced by 20%, and include 20% renewables, considering these points irrelevant in the French context. These targets should not be universally applied, but adjusted according to the circumstances of each individual country.
Dr. Fouan, also representing the official views of Sauvons le Climat, pointed to France’s proud history of nuclear science, and noted that without political will, there will be difficulties overcoming competing technologies. Dr. Fouan affirmed that nuclear power needs to be part of the energy mix, stating that it is both cheap and accessible, while also acknowledging that there are issues of safety and technical difficulties. Fouan stated they believe nuclear energy is relatively clean, and even though there are dangers, the danger of not adopting nuclear is far greater. In answering the question of the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, Fouan mentioned that the debate should be returned to a more rational mode of discussion. To put things in perspective, Fouan noted that there are fewer casualties from nuclear power worldwide than there are deaths from coal mining.
Both Masurel and Fouan concluded the memorable evening by saying the number one priority of Sauvons le Climat was climate change. Members of several environmental NGOs took part in the discussion, which brought together many views on the nuclear power debate, among other points of discussion, in the climate change community.