Activists or lobbyists? (Weekly pic)

Source: Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution 2012.
Source: Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution 2012.
Greenpeace is one of the largest global organizations opposing nuclear power. While it does commendable work in many other fields and actively promotes renewables, one must wonder whether or not they have crossed a line from being activists to being unpaid lobbyists to industrial interests.

This excerpt from our book simply shows the cover and foreword of Greenpeace’s regularly updated vision for world energy future, the Energy [R]evolution. It is one of the cornerstones of the world anti-nuclear movement, and is regularly referenced to when one questions whether climate and other environmental goals are achievable without nuclear power. The order in which the organizations and signatories appear in this document may be accidental; nevertheless, it reveals that two out of three parties who signed off this document are in fact industry lobbyists.

According to its now-defunct website, the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) “represent[ed] the entire renewable energy sector as the umbrella organisation of the European renewable energy industry, trade and research associations […] EREC represent[ed] an industry with an annual economic activity of more than €130 billion and more than 1 million employees.” (Note that EREC no longer exists, as it was forced into liquidation in early 2014 mainly due to high liabilities from its showcase low-energy headquarters in Brussels.)

Similarly, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) is the international trade association for the wind power industry, representing “over 1,500 companies, organisations and institutions in more than 80 countries, including manufacturers, developers, component suppliers, research institutes, national wind and renewables associations, electricity providers, finance and insurance companies.” Its stated mission is to create a better policy environment for wind power, and advocate new policies “to help wind power reach its full potential in as wide a variety of markets as possible.” 

Both of these organizations have done and, in case of GWEC, continue to do valuable work in promoting renewables. However, they are by their own admission mouthpieces for industrial interests. Renewable energy is no longer a mom-and-pop business staffed by starry-eyed hippies: it is in fact larger than nuclear industry, that traditional target of activists keen to criticize “big business” for its corrupting influences.

Big business doesn’t get big nor does it stay big without some lobbying. It is perfectly understandable that GWEC and late EREC lobby for their respective industries. It is, however, somewhat more questionable when a large, supposedly neutral or even anti-business NGO uncritically joins forces with them.

Even more questionable is if the said NGO takes the key data for its energy forecasts directly from the industry lobby groups. Which happens to be precisely what Greenpeace has admitted doing. As Sven Teske from Greenpeace freely admits:

The Energy [R]evolution, which is the result of a partnership between Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) […] the renewable energy industry provided key technical data for this project […]

Even though modeling for the Energy [R]evolution was done by a neutral group, anyone ever involved in modeling is familiar with the term GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. It means simply that if the key data for a model is biased, the end results will be biased.

We believe that relying on industry lobby groups for key data for the scenario to save the world is, in short, a gamble with the climate.

This series of posts introduces graphics from our book Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? The book is now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback formats; see also our crowdfunding initiative which aims to deliver a copy of the book to COP21 climate delegates in Paris this December.

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