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.

Advertisements

Sources of world’s energy in 1990 and 2013 (Weekly pic)

Source: BP World Energy Outlook 2014
Source: BP World Energy Outlook 2014

The second installment of our series of graphics from our book, Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering our Future, covers in more detail the share of different energy sources in the world’s energy mix. In our previous weekly pic, we noted that measly 13 percent of world’s energy currently comes from fossil-free sources, a figure that has barely budged since the nuclear build-up ended in the late 1980s. This graph shows that while oil use has (relatively speaking) fallen somewhat, coal use has actually increased compared to 1990. This despite all the promises and negotiations that have aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, of which coal burning is the largest single culprit.

We can also see that while renewables have shown commendable progress, their shares are still very small of the total. Unless the growth of renewables continues at current, unprecedented levels, shunning nuclear power will be a gamble with the world’s 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.

Share of fossil-free energy from world total, 1965-2013 (Weekly pic)

Source: BP World Energy Outlook 2014.
Source: BP World Energy Outlook 2014.

Kicking off the series of weekly posts with graphs and pictures from the English edition of Climate Gamble is this graph of the share of fossil-free energy as percentage of world total energy use. As we can see from the graph, fossil free energy constitutes only about 13 percent of the total, despite decades of warnings about the dangers of continuing our fossil fuel addiction.

One can also see when was the last time world energy supply was substantially cleaned up: during the nuclear build-up in the 1980s. This is one reason we believe that anti-nuclear activism is gambling with our climate.

The data for the graph comes from BP World Energy Outlook 2014.

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.