WASHINGTON—The international negotiators' agreement today in Bonn, Germany, on provisions that exclude nuclear energy from two of the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms promoting "clean energy" projects is an irresponsible action that ignores one of the best greenhouse gas reduction technologies.
"Any plausible strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will require an expanded use of nuclear energy in the United States and around the world," said Marvin Fertel, NEI senior vice president for business operations.
"It is astonishing, especially given the magnitude of the emissions reductions that are being sought, that the Bonn talks have produced an agreement that ignores nuclear energy-the leading emissions avoidance technology. Efforts to exclude nuclear energy as a greenhouse gas control technology are counterproductive and could jeopardize our environment in the long run." As the climate change negotiating process unfolds in the months to come, the nuclear energy industry-working with its colleagues in Europe and Asia-will advocate nuclear energy's inclusion in emissions reductions programs, Fertel said.
Earlier today, delegates in Bonn agreed to provisions recognizing that nations "are to refrain" from using nuclear energy to meet their commitments under joint implementation and clean development mechanism projects. Joint implementation is a method though which a developed country can receive "emissions reduction units" when it helps finance projects that reduce emissions in another developed country (including countries with economies in transition). The clean development mechanism allows developed nations to use emissions reductions generated by projects in developing countries to contribute to compliance with their emission commitments.
Fertel said the agreement's appendix (Z) on projected emissions reductions from carbon "sink" projects like reforestation underscores the conflicted nature of the reduction strategy adopted by the delegates. The appendix states that the United States would receive credit for emissions reductions of approximately 28 million tons of carbon per year through sinks. By comparison, U.S. nuclear power plants last year avoided six times that amount, or nearly 175 million metric tons of carbon.
Just weeks ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions rose by 2.7 percent in 2000, the highest growth rate since 1996, when it increased 3.6 percent.
Nuclear energy is the nation's largest emission-free source of electricity and, overall, supplies electricity to one of every five homes and businesses in America.
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org .