G-8 fails to develop strategy for energy security

Press release - 17 July, 2006
Greenpeace today rejected claims in the G-8 Heads of State Communiqué saying they will implement their "common global energy security strategy through the following Plan of Action". The Communiqué contains nothing that can be described as a common strategy and reflects a serious split on nuclear power and highlights the isolation of the Bush administration in its opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.

The G-8 states, however, acknowledge that climate change is a challenge. They reiterated their commitments to the objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at the level that prevents dangerous human interference with the climate system. The Communiqué also highlights the importance of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency; no substance has been added to what had been agreed at last years Gleneagles Summit.

"The best thing about the St Petersburg summit is that it is over. Once again the G-8 has failed to develop a strategy for real and sustainable energy security. The G-8 needs to get serious on these issues or it will drift into irrelevance."

"The German Government needs to start working towards next year's summit with the aim of strong and effective climate protection," said Tobias Muenchmeyer of Greenpeace, in St Petersburg.

"The Russian G-8 presidency, together with the Bush, Blair and Chirac, had hoped to use the Summit to make calls for the global expansion of nuclear power. However, the G-8 is split on this question and the Communiqué contains much weaker pro-nuclear language than expected," said Muenchmeyer.

"Germany is committed to a nuclear phase out and Italy has already phased it out. Yet still the Communiqué supports nuclear power as an option for diversifying the energy mix. Be in no doubt, Putin, Bush and the rest are committed to expanding nuclear technology, which at the same time gives countries the nuclear weapons option. The G8 must reject the dangerous and irrelevant nuclear option and focus exclusively on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear phase-out," said Muenchmeyer.

The pathway towards real sustainable energy and climate security lies with renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency. St Petersburg is yet another wasted G-8 opportunity and another dangerous step away from securing a sustainable energy future  and towards further global insecurity, increased nuclear proliferation and environmental contamination.

On the eve of the summit the US and Russia agreed to begin negotiations for a nuclear cooperation agreement. The agreement was to clear the way for Russia to import and store thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from US-supplied reactors around the world. The US would have to agree to allowing Western European countries, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea to dump their nuclear waste on Russia.

"Bush and Putin know that a global expansion of nuclear power requires the illusion of a solution to nuclear waste. Dumping waste in Russia and turning into the world's nuclear dustbin is their solution. Bush's dangerous plans under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) are at the centre of this deal (1). Not only will the import of deadly nuclear waste to Russia be a serious proliferation threat, it will significantly increasing the radiation risk to the already blighted health of the Russian people - today and for generations to come," stated Muenchmeyer.

Other contacts: Tobias Muenchmeyer - Greenpeace energy specialist: +49 151 145 33073Mhairi Dunlop - Greenpeace International Communications: +44 7801 212 960

Notes: (1) The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) is a US Department of Energy proposal to expand the use of proliferation prone fast breeder reactors and reprocessing, as well as the supply of enrichment and fuel services to the countries around the world. It is based on technology that over 50 years has received billions of dollars of investment but has failed to provide sustainable, economically viable energy.

Exp. contact date: 2006-07-27 00:00:00