- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 29, 2006

The recent missile tests by North Korea and the diplomatic fracas over Iran’s intention to enrich its “peaceful” nuclear materials, as they proceed to emulate the global nuclear club, should tell us the world is on a perilous course.

As the world waits for its leaders to come to a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the latest nuclear crisis, relations between the United States, China and Russia could become strained as those countries struggle to find the right solution. America’s expansion of its nuclear and missile and space weaponization programs, promoted as the way to defend itself against terrorism, threatens to provoke a chain reaction among nuclear nations, big and small. North Korea proves some nations may feel a need to race to create nukes amid such looming threats.

The “inalienable right” to so-called “peaceful” nuclear technology, guaranteed by Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has enabled production of hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic nuclear waste while providing nations with the capacity to manufacture bomb-grade material and develop the know-how and technical expertise to join the nuclear club.

Nuclear weapons programs and nuclear power are inextricably linked. The recent acquisition by India and Pakistan of nuclear weapons, as a result of their “peaceful” nuclear technology, and the claims by Iran to its NPT right to such technology, is further evidence the world must act now to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

We must hold the Nuclear Weapons States to account for their promises to eliminate nuclear weapons and their missile delivery systems. We must provide an alternative to current proposals to construct hundreds of new nuclear reactors worldwide supported by massive manufacturing schemes by the nuclear “haves” to produce civilian nuclear fuels for the nuclear “have-nots,” which will endanger the land and the seas as toxic nuclear cargo is shipped between every continent.

Nuclear power is not the answer to global warming. Nuclear power is the slowest and costliest way to reduce CO2 emissions. Financing nuclear power would divert scarce resources from investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The enormous costs for nuclear power per unit of carbon emissions reduced would actually worsen our ability to abate climate change as we would buy less carbon-free energy per dollar spent on nuclear power compared to the emissions saved by investing those dollars in solar, wind or energy efficiency. We must act now to avert climate change, but nuclear power is not the answer.

Today’s world energy systems, relying on fossil and nuclear fuels, endanger humanity’s very existence. The world faces a crisis requiring a total transformation in how we create energy, shifting to sustainable energy that flows freely from the sun, the wind, the tides and the center of the Earth.

The technology to harness the enormous potential of sustainable forms of energy exists today. And so does the funding — by reallocating the hundreds of billions of dollars in annual government subsidies for energy polluters to producing clean, safe energy from sustainable sources. Tapping the local sustainable energy potential available in each region or, country can become an answer to increasing global price and supply instability, while contributing to energy diversity, security and political stability around the world.

We must create an International Sustainable Energy Agency to help countries create and distribute sustainable forms of energy. The dangers are real — the time is now. Governments must develop a program to ensure a safe, clean, sustainable energy future for all, without relying on nuclear, industrial biomass or fossil fuels.


GRACE Policy Institute


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