By Romeo St. Martin
Canadian Nuclear Association
This week’s G7 leaders’ meeting in Germany made the future energy direction of the major industrialized nations clear.
The leaders have pledged to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by the end of this century.
“Mindful of this goal and considering the latest IPCC results, we emphasize that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century,” the leaders’ declaration stated.
The communiqué included a road map to this very long-term goal.
“And we will work together and with other interested countries to raise the overall coordination and transparency of clean energy research, development and demonstration, highlighting the importance of renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies. We ask our Energy Ministers to take forward these initiatives and report back to us in 2016.”
While renewable energy is specifically mentioned, you would have to read between the lines to realize that nuclear energy is on the table as one of the low-carbon technologies the leaders were referencing.
However, a quick glance at the G7 energy ministers’ communique from May of this year shows that the energy ministers themselves have already made it clear that nuclear is part of the solution.
“We support the enhanced use of energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as other domestic resources (including nuclear energy, which can work as a base load energy source, in those countries which opt to use it),” the energy ministers concluded.
Their statement reaffirms the direction the leaders gave at their summit last year. Their 2014 communiqué used the same language: “We will promote the use of low carbon technologies (including) nuclear in the countries which opt to use it…”
As the CNA has always argued, renewables and nuclear are both important pieces of the future long-term, low-carbon energy puzzle. Wind, solar, hydro… they’re actually partners with nuclear energy in stabilizing the climate.
In an article on the popular Energy Collective website last April, energy consultant Jesse Jenkins called for a dialogue aimed at ending the divisions in the two camps – divisions often seen daily on social media.
Jenkins’ column was the social media energy sphere’s equivalent of the Rodney King “Can We All Get Along” speech.
“Maybe renewables and nuclear can learn to get along after all. Maybe they won’t offer competing visions for a low-carbon power system in the end,” Jenkins concluded in a hopeful tone.
After this week’s G7 meeting, the debate about Nuclear v. Renewables in the future is a step closer to be resolved. It’s not one or the other, either or. It’s both.