Issue paper 6:
Nuclear Energy and Climate Change
By Felix Chr. Matthes
Preface by Jörg Haas
Climate change is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges
of the 21st Century. Although it has been an encouraging signal that the
Kyoto Protocol entered into force, and that the European Emissions Trading
System is working well, mankind’s response to tackle this challenge
is far from being up to the task.
Big challenges require big, concerted efforts. Do they, however, also
require big, expensive and risky technologies that were developed half
a century ago? In other words: Does addressing climate change require
us to reconsider nuclear energy?
As Felix Matthes convincingly demonstrates in this paper, there is a whole
portfolio of lower-risk options available to fight climate change. Investing
in nuclear energy carries not only considerable health, financial and
security risks, it may also prove to be a dangerous lock-in and dead end.
Twenty years after the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl, any attempts by
the nuclear industry to celebrate its revival and to paint itself as the
solution to climate change should be rejected. Policy makers around the
world should learn from its people, who largely resist the use of nuclear
We firmly believe that nuclear energy is no answer to climate change.
A short-sighted renaissance of nuclear energy would require considerable
amounts of public money, which should rather be invested in the development
and deployment of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency
We therefore present this 6th Nuclear Issues Paper as a contribution to
the public debate on adequate responses to climate change and on the future
of nuclear energy.
Download Nuclear Issues
Paper No. 6: Nuclear Energy and Climate Change. (pdf)
Publication of Heinrich Boell