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Sunday, 14. July 2024

Press release - Don't Nuke the Climate

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

12/20/2018 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 www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org.