Nuclear Power Revealed as “Ambition Killer” at Global Climate Summit

Nuclear Promoters Pushed False Solutions to Global Warming, Blocked Ambition, Human Rights, and Equity in Negotiations

Katowice, Poland – NEWS ADVISORY – The Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition issued the following statement on the conclusion of the conference:


“Nuclear energy confirmed itself to be a major ‘Ambition-Killer’ at COP24 this year. Most of the countries that blocked adoption of the crucial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report absurdly and hypocritically promoted nuclear power and fossil fuels as ‘practical and realistic’ solutions to global warming. Nothing could be further from the truth. After 60 years of nuclear power, its track record and environmental impacts are clear: nuclear is too dirty, too dangerous, too expensive, and too slow to solve global warming. In fact, because of its failure as a technology, bad actors are using nuclear power as a convenient excuse to avoid taking real steps to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Poland’s plan to begin building reactors to start operating in the mid-2030s is a fig leaf to cover the government’s intent to continue burning coal for the foreseeable future.


“The promotion of nuclear power at COP24 was directly connected to the suppression and near-omission of ambition, climate justice, civil society, and human rights in the rulebook. Countries that are setting ambitious goals for renewables and efficiency are demonstrating real leadership. Renewables, energy efficiency, public transit, and electrifying heating, transportation, and industry can reduce global warming emissions immediately, sustainably, cost-effectively, and with the speed and scale necessary to meet the 1.5C target. Nuclear power cannot and will not, and the time, money, and political will wasted on it make nuclear energy a true ‘Ambition-Killer’ in responding to climate change.


“We thank the German government and Environmental Minister Svenja Schulze for doubling the country’s contributions to the Green Climate Fund, for signing and accepting our petition signed by over 4,000 people during the COP, and for Germany’s commitment to oppose the promotion of nuclear power and financing for nuclear projects through the Green Climate Fund.”



To avert catastrophic impacts of global warming, countries must sharply reverse course and begin making significant reductions in greenhouse emissions in the next 12 years. This is according to a major scientific report published in October 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The chief purpose of the COP24 global climate summit, which concluded on Sunday, was to set forth a rulebook by which countries will make and achieve the ambitious commitments necessary to limit global warming to an average temperature increase of 1.5C, as well as to manage the impacts of climatic changes, distribute the burdens equitably, and protects human rights. Nuclear power interests actively worked to undermine those objectives at COP24.


The conference was chaired by Poland, which hypocritically promoted both coal and nuclear power, both of which will worsen global warming and its impacts. The conference was also blocked from adopting the IPCC report, by a group of four nations: the USA, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. The USA and Russia falsely promoted nuclear power and fossil fuels as solutions to climate change at high-profile side-events; and both countries are involved in negotiations with Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear reactors. The conference was also marked with anti-democratic repression of climate activists, with over a dozen people denied entry to Poland, and several activists arrested by Polish authorities, while nuclear industry trade groups were given special access to petition COP24 participants in support of nuclear power for several days. In the end, with much pressure from developing nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a rulebook was negotiated, but the ambition, equity, and human rights protections enshrined in the Paris Climate Treaty—and necessary to meet the 1.5C target—were largely left aside.


See other COP24 news from the coalition:


ABOUT the Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition

The Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition is a network of anti-nuclear organizations and networks from all over the globe that work together to keep nuclear out of the climate agreements and implementation of the Paris treaty. The coalition has participated in the global climate summits since COP6 in 2000, informing and mobilizing the public, advocating for climate justice and environmental sustainability, and watchdogging and challenging the nuclear industry’s efforts to promote its false solutions to global warming. The coalition is led by organizations in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the USA. Over 500 NGOs from around the world have endorsed the campaign. Find out more at


For Immediate Release:      20 December 2018


USA: Tim Judson, NIRS     +1 301 270 6477,

Europe: Peer de Rijk, WISE-International          +31 20 6126368,

South Africa: Makoma Lekalakala, Earthlife Africa, +27 82 682 9177,

Germany: Kerstin Rudek, Don’t Nuke the Climate          +49 1590 21 54 831,

Austria: Patricia Lorenz, Global 2000       +43 676 4464254,

IPPNW: UN-Unterstützung für die Atomindustrie?

Die Ärzteorganisation IPPNW ist besorgt, dass die Nutzung der Atomenergie das zentrale Thema eines „Side Events“ auf der UN-Klimakonferenz in Katowice 2018 (COP24) war. Getragen u.a. vom Umweltprogramm der Vereinten Nationen (UNEP), der Weltorganisation für Meteorologie (WMO) und der Wirtschaftskommission für Europa der Vereinten Nationen (UNECE) diskutierte die Internationale Atomenergie Organisation (IAEA) am 5. Dezember 2018 auf dem Klimagipfel über die Atomenergie. Die Diskutanten beriefen sich dabei insbesondere auf das 7. Ziel für nachhaltige Entwicklung, wonach der „Zugang zu bezahlbarer, verlässlicher, nachhaltiger und zeitgemäßer Energie für alle“ zu sichern ist.

„Es ist skandalös, dass der Atomindustrie auf der Weltklimakonferenz Raum gegeben wird, um ihre kruden Thesen und falschen Versprechungen zu verbreiten. Atomenergie ist mit einer echten nachhaltigen Energiewende nicht kompatibel“, so der IPPNW-Vorsitzende Dr. Alex Rosen.

Nach Auffassung von Rosen geht es beim geplanten Bau von Atomkraftwerken wie aktuell in Großbritannien nicht um Klimaschutz, sondern in erster Linie um milliardenschwere Quersubventionen für Atomwaffenprogramme.

„Im Interesse des Klimaschutzes brauchen wir einen Ausbau Erneuerbarer Energien in Verbindung mit Stromspeichern, nicht überteuerte Atomkraftwerke, die die Netze mit Atomstrom verstopfen und dadurch die Entwicklung von erneuerbaren Energien behindern“, so Rosen.

Die „Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition“, an der auch die Ärzteorganisation IPPNW beteiligt ist, hat auf der UN-Klimakonferenz in Katowice 2018 (COP24) gegen die Nutzung der Atomenergie protestiert. Der deutschen Vertreterin auf der Konferenz, Bundesumweltministerin Svenja Schulze, wurden mehrere tausend Unterschriften mit dem Ziel überreicht, den Bestrebungen der Atomlobby zu begegnen. Schulze hatte zugesichert, auf der Klimakonferenz keine Stellungnahmen zu unterstützen, die Atomenergie als Lösung für die Klimaproblematik darstellen.

  • Kontakt: Henrik Paulitz, Referent für Energiepolitik, Tel. 06257-505-1707, Deutsche Sektion der Internationalen Ärzte für die Verhütung des Atomkrieges (IPPNW), Körtestr. 10, 10967 Berlin, Email:,

Why the UK Labour Party — and everyone — should reject nuclear power

How many times have you heard people say ‘I would much rather not have nuclear power but we need it to combat climate change’?

This claim has been made so many times by the nuclear industry and its supporters that many people now just accept it as the lesser of two evils.

But the development of new nuclear power plants is actually no part of the solution to tackling climate change, and is in fact a big part of the problem.

read more:

3541 signatures handed out

Today we handed over our petition to german environmental minister, Svenja Schulze, 3541 signatures in three days… so far. Minister Schulze promised to stop the false promise that delay energy transition to 100% renewables. Also minister Schulze does everything to stop subsidies for nuclear power. There will be no german money for any green climate found for nuclear. Minister Schulze will not support any pro- nuclear statements at COP24.
Clear statement. Let‘ s step forward to a nuclear free world!!

Stop False Climate Solutions – Do Not Support Nuclear Power at COP24

The nuclear industry is aggressively lobbying global climate negotiators to promote nuclear power as a solution to the climate crisis. Pro-nuclear organizations are petitioning the United Nations COP24 Global Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland, to write nuclear power into the rulebook that will be used to implement the Paris Climate Treaty.

The Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition and our allies around the world are in Poland this week to expose the false promises of nuclear power, and work for true, sustainable, environmentally just solutions to global warming: the rapid, just transition to 100% renewable energy. Please support our campaign by signing the petition below. We will present the petition to the COP24 Climate Summit and demand that climate negotiators promote only safe, sustainable, environmentally just, carbon-free, nuclear-free energy sources.

„Stop the false promises that delay energy transition to 100% renewables. Stop subsidies for nuclear power. Do not support pro-nuclear statement at COP24.“

Sign Petition Statement here

Media Advisory: Nuclear Power Violates Climate Justice, Human Rights

Media Advisory: 12 December 2018 at 6pm CET


  • Kerstin Rudek, Don’t Nuke the Climate +49 1590 21 54 831,
  • Makoma Lekalakala, Earthlife Africa, +27 82 682 9177,
  • Ayumi Fukakusa, Friends of the Earth-Japan,
  • Leona Morgan, Diné No Nukes, +1 505 879 8547,

Nuclear Power Violates Climate Justice, Human Rights
Environmental and Climate Justice Leaders Call Out Nuclear as False Solution
Call On COP24 to Refuse Ambition-Killing Demands of Nuclear Promoters

Katowice, Poland – NEWS ADVISORY – Nuclear power makes climate change worse, and must not be promoted under the Paris global climate treaty, say environmental and climate justice leaders. Yet COP24 has seen a marked escalation in the promotion of nuclear power by countries and corporate interests that are resisting urgent action on climate. At the press conference, climate and environmental justice leaders from Africa, Asia, and North America will call on climate negotiators to refuse calls for nuclear power and false solutions to climate change, and to focus on a rapid transition to a carbon-free, nuclear-free world, powered entirely by sustainable, renewable energy sources.

Speakers at the press conference will include:

  • Makoma Lekalakala – Director, Earthlife Africa Jhb (awardee, 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa)
  • Ayumi Fukakusa – Campaigner, Friends of the Earth-Japan
  • Leona Morgan – Founder, Diné No Nukes

LOCATION: Press Conference Room Katowice – Area F Theatre


Protestaktion während der COP

Am Dienstag hat es auf der COP24 eine grosse Protestaktion waehrend des US Sideevents gegeben.

Wells Griffith vom US department of energy eroeffnete das Podium mit einer Erklaerung, dass es auch zukuenftig einen Mix von Energien geben werde, der alle Energietraeger umfasse, Kohle, Gas, Oel, Atomkraft und Erneuerbare Energien. Nach wenigen Saetzen begann eine Protestaktion; verschiedene Sprecher*innen von Nichtregierungsorganisationen widersprachen lauthals diesen menschenverachtenden Plaenen. Mit Sprechchoeren wie „Leave it in the ground“ und „What do we want? Climate jutice! When do we want it? Now!“ verliess die Mehrzahl der 350 Anwesenden den Veranstaltungsraum.

Die Klimafrage wird hier auf dem 24. Weltklimagipfel ganz stark zur sozialen Frage und vor allem zu einer Frage der Gerechtigkeit unter Menschen und Ethnien. Es ist sehr praesent, dass sich die Leidtragenden der Klimakatastrophe nicht lenger mit dummen Erklaerungen abspeisen lassen wollen, sondern echte Strategien fordern, mit denen das Leben vieler Hunderttausend Menschen noch gerettet werden kann, wenn es gelingt, die Erderwaermung wenigstens auf 1,5 Grad zu begrenzen.

Auch unsere Kampagne Don‘ t nuke the climate wird am Mittwoch eine Pressekonferenz zu dem Thema bestreiten. Bericht und Fotos hierueber folgen im Blog.

Inzwischen unterstuetzt auch der Bundesverband Buergerinitiativen Umweltschutz BBU unsere Petition.

Hier kann die Petition unterschrieben werden:

Wir bleiben munter und ihr bleibt am Ball!!

International conference: Towards a New Climate

Date:                     11th December 2018
Place:                    “Szyb Wilson” Gallery, Katowice
Organizer:           Green European Foundation
Partner:               Fundacja Strefa Zieleni, Heinrich Böll Foundation in Warsaw

During the conference, with our invited guests – representatives of the worlds of politics, administration, science and civil society – we will be discussing the most important current challenges arising out of the need to undertake ambitious action to protect the climate and develop sustainable energy. During the debate, we will analyse various scenarios for the fair transformation of mining regions, considering not only the role of new technologies, but also activities that can be taken at the political level, by the business sector or by local residents in order to build progressive, pro-environmental development strategies. How can expert knowledge be incorporated into political concepts, and how can the active participation of key actors be ensured in the process of developing a shared vision of a sustainable development path for Silesia and other regions? How can social and economic needs be reconciled with the urgent need to develop ambitious climate policies.

No Nuclear Road to Paris

New report concludes nuclear power “will play no meaningful role” in averting catastrophic warming
Renewable energy pathways are achievable, cost-effective

@COP24: Andreas Günther, Tim Judson, Makoma Lekalakala, Günter Hermeyer, Kerstin Rudek, Sascha Gabizon


Katowice, Poland – NEWS ADVISORY – Nuclear power is frequently promoted as a necessary solution to global warming, and a key means to achieve emissions goals. This is a major mistake, according to a new report published by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York City this week. The report, “Nuclear Power and Climate Action: An Assessment for the Future” presents an industrial analysis of nuclear energy to assess its viability as a climate solution. From real and practical evidence, the report concludes that nuclear power is not a viable tool in the climate solutions toolbox, and that nuclear-free paths to phasing out greenhouse gas emissions are necessary, feasible, and cost-effective.

The report evaluates the technology from all sides: the potential for building new reactors, the prospects for continuing to operate existing reactors, and the commercialization of so-called “advanced reactor designs” in the mid-century timeframe. Analysis shows that nuclear power may not be available in any meaningful capacity by 2050. Existing reactor fleets in most of the world are already reaching the end of their mechanical lives and will mostly phase out within the critical climate timeframe, and strategies to reduce gas reduction must take this into account.

“Those who argue that nuclear power is necessary to reduce GHG emissions are gravely mistaken,” said author of the report Tim Judson, Executive Director of the Nuclear and Information and Resource Service. “The practical realities about nuclear energy show that it is a failed technology, which is on its way out. We have many more effective and promising tools in the climate action toolbox,” continued Judson. “We must not waste time and money on trying to preserve a role for nuclear power, and align energy policies and investments with rapidly transitioning to renewables, efficiency, and carbon-free, nuclear-free climate solutions.”

With the immense threats of climate change, it is tempting to overlook other environmental hazards in the effort to address it. That is a mistake with nuclear power especially. Nuclear power has major environmental and social impacts, completely aside from those associated with climate change. With the immense threats of climate change, it is tempting to overlook other environmental hazards in the effort to address it. That is a mistake with nuclear power especially, because its environmental impacts are so severe and long-lasting and so many of them intersect with and compound impacts of global warming as well as issues of climate justice. At every stage of its production, nuclear power. From uranium mining to the production of radioactive wastes, nuclear power pollutes the environment with some of the most dangerous, long-lived contaminants in the world and places undue stress on water resources.

“The pursuit of nuclear power in South Africa would have permanently locked us into complicity in putting our country as a radioactive waste zone for centuries,” said Makoma Lekalakala, Director, Earthlife Africa Johnannesburg, and 2018 awardee of the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa. “By challenging the secret $76 billion agreement between South Africa and Rosatom, we exposed the role of corruption at the highest level of our government. The agreement would have forced South Africans to pay all the costs of a nuclear disaster, contaminated our environment and water with radioactive waste, and made electricity unaffordable for generations,” continued Lekalakala. “We have all of the clean, affordable wind and solar energy we need in South Africa, and overturning the nuclear agreement has put us back on track for a healthy, sustainable future, free of fossil fuels.”

Because fossil fuels make up 86% of global energy, decarbonization will require a total transformation of energy systems in most parts of the world. Renewable energies have proven to be the most promising option—complemented by investments in energy efficiency, development of complementary technologies, and integrated reliably and resiliently. Evidence from places like Germany and California shows that nuclear power does not integrate well with renewables and phasing it out is likely to create greater opportunities to accelerate the phaseout of fossil fuels and the transformation of the energy system.

“The imperatives of rapidly eliminating greenhouse gas emissions demand greater ambition in the implementation of the Paris Agreement,” said Kerstin Rudek of Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg of Germany, on behalf of the international Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition. “Nuclear power has proved too expensive, too slow, and too unreliable to rapidly reduce emissions, and the vast majority of reactors around the world are likely to retire before 2050. Countries must take this into account. Renewable energies have proven to be the most promising option to phase out fossil fuels and nuclear power—complemented by investments in energy efficiency, development of complementary technologies, and integrated reliably and resiliently,” continued Rudek. “A carbon-free, nuclear-free world is possible, but we can’t get there by wasting time, money, and political will on failed technologies and false solutions like nuclear power.”

The report includes case studies showing that promotion of nuclear power entails significant climate opportunity costs, wasting time and financial investments that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize energy systems much more rapidly and cost-effectively. For instance, in the United States, the Summer 2 and 3 reactors were cancelled after major cost overruns and construction delays bankrupted their manufacturer, after $9 billion had already been spent. Had utilities invested in energy efficiency and renewables, the report finds, the utilities would have made substantial reductions in emissions and reduced electricity costs for their consumers.

Similarly, the state of New York in the US decided in 2016 to subsidize four aging, uneconomical reactors, at a projected cost of $7.6 billion by 2029—three times as much as will be spent to achieve 50% renewable energy standard in 2030. Had New York invested in energy efficiency instead of nuclear, it could achieve greater emissions reductions in 2030, at a cost reduction of $10.6 billion.

The report concludes that the primary obstacles to rapidly phasing out fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions are political, not technological or economic. In particular, deceptive interventions by corporations invested in fossil fuels and nuclear energy have engendered inertia and confused the debate by, alternately, denying the reality of global warming and by presenting false solutions. Mitigating the economic and social impacts of climate action by ensuring a just transition for workers and impacted communities is key to charting a clear vision and building and sustaining the political will to accelerate emissions reductions and the phase-out of greenhouse gas emissions.

ABOUT the Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition The Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition is a network of anti-nuclear organisations and networks from all over the globe that work together to keep nuclear out of the climate agreements and implementation of the Paris treaty.