Young Activist Tells Greenpeace to Drop “Old-Fashioned and Unscientific” Anti-Nuclear Campaign

Ia Aanstoot, an 18-year-old climate activist hailing from Sweden and a prominent participant in Greta Thunberg’s Friday school strikes movement, has taken a stand against Greenpeace’s ongoing “old-fashioned and unscientific opposition” to nuclear power within the European Union. In a recent report by The Guardian, Aanstoot expressed concerns that Greenpeace’s campaign against nuclear power aligns more with fossil fuel interests than with climate action.

Aanstoot, along with fellow campaigners from Poland, Sweden, France, Finland, and the Netherlands, has initiated the “Dear Greenpeace” campaign. This movement calls upon Greenpeace to reconsider its position on nuclear power, which the campaigners view as outdated and unscientific. They are rallying for a shift in focus towards combating fossil fuel usage instead.

“Nuclear energy provides plentiful cheap & green energy for 32 countries globally, unlocking so much of our modern sustainable world. So at 16 I joined the pro nuclear movement & it was life changing,” the climate activist wrote on her X account. “Join me in embracing nuclear energy & calling on @Greenpeace to drop their opposition to this vital #ClimateCrisis solution.”

The crux of the matter lies in Greenpeace’s decision to legally challenge the EU Commission’s inclusion of nuclear power in its sustainable finance classification system. This system serves as a guide for private investors seeking to finance eco-friendly projects and promote environmental investments.

Aanstoot, who cites Greta Thunberg as an inspiration, has even taken a step further by submitting legal documents to the EU Court of Justice, petitioning to become an “interested party” in the forthcoming legal dispute between the European Commission and Greenpeace. If approved, this would enable Aanstoot and her fellow pro-nuclear campaigners to provide testimony in favor of nuclear power.

Critics argue that Greenpeace’s efforts to exclude nuclear power from the taxonomy ultimately hinder the transition to cleaner energy sources. Aanstoot emphasizes that over a third of the EU’s clean energy stems from nuclear power and sees it as a valuable tool in the fight against climate change.

“Greenpeace is stuck in the past fighting clean, carbon-free nuclear energy while the world is literally burning. We need to be using all the tools available to address climate change and nuclear is one of them. I’m tired of having to fight my fellow environmentalists about this when we should be fighting fossil fuels together,” she said.

Greenpeace, on the other hand, contends that nuclear power’s drawbacks outweigh its benefits. They argue that it’s not a cost-effective or timely means of cutting emissions, pointing to the delays and budget overruns associated with projects like Hinkley C and Sizewell C.

“We have the greatest respect for folks who are worried about the climate crisis and want to throw everything we have at the problem, but building new nuclear plants just isn’t a viable solution,” a Greenpeace EU spokesperson said. “The good news is that we don’t need new nuclear. Solar and wind technologies are a much cheaper and quicker way to cut emissions, and with modern storage tech, 100 percent renewable systems are perfectly possible… We don’t have the luxury of endless time and resources so we should focus them on the solutions with the best chance of delivering.”

Aanstoot maintains that the perspective on nuclear power has shifted since the anti-nuclear protests of the past. As the climate crisis takes center stage, many younger environmentalists, including herself, see nuclear power as a significant tool in the fight against climate change. She emphasizes the importance of modernizing approaches to align with current scientific understanding and the evolving energy landscape.

The debate centers on whether nuclear power should be considered a viable solution for reducing carbon emissions. Aanstoot believes that, as per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), nuclear power should indeed play a pivotal role in addressing the climate crisis.

“I feel like a lot of the arguments [that] are used from Greenpeace and other older environmentalist … are very identity-based. It nearly feels like being anti-nuclear is a question of identity for these older environmentalists,” she added. “I feel like it’s just a matter of moving on with the times and the scientists have moved on – the IPCC now says that nuclear is a really important tool.”

The dispute exemplifies a generational divide within the environmental movement. While Greenpeace continues to raise concerns about nuclear waste and the potential diversion of funds from renewables, Aanstoot and her allies believe that embracing nuclear power alongside renewable technologies can accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions.

Information for this briefing was found via Euractiv and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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