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We don’t need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on via the guardian

It would be a folly to think that there is no hope of tackling climate change without nuclear power

Making the case for new nuclear this week, George Monbiot admitted that, what with the proposed nuclear waste dump in Cumbria being rejected and Centrica pulling out of new nuclear in the UK, the facts are not exactly working in his favour. But his argument raised two crucial questions.

First, what is actually happening as a result of Germany’s nuclear phase-out? Is Angela Merkel now barrelling down a catastrophic, high-carbon coal path, or is the reality more complex?

It’s true that there has been a spike in coal burning, but this is largely because the EU carbon price has collapsed and gas prices have risen – meaning that burning coal and lignite is cheaper than burning gas. Right now, Germany’s renewable energy boom is displacing gas, rather than coal.

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Second, is there really no hope of tackling climate change without nuclear power? This is certainly what the nuclear industry wants us all to think. But analysis using the government’s figures shows that we don’t need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on.

Renewable energies, together with combined heat and power, energy efficiency, smart grids, demand management and interconnection, are the building blocks of an alternative energy future. The path we take is a matter of political choice, not technological inevitability.

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And with the energy bill set to deliver a backdoor subsidy for nuclear, truly sustainable renewables like wind, solar, waste digestion, wave and tidal are in danger of being sidelined once again.

Read more at We don’t need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on

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