Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace asks energy companies to shift from coal, oil, gas to clean energy

On November 21, 2913, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman interviewed Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace, in a segment titled Greenpeace: In Opposing Oil Drilling, Detained “Arctic 30″ Are Standing Up for Planet’s 7 Billion. (There is a full transcript of the interview at the link provided.) The above embedded video above includes the interview along with scenes from the Russian detention center where the activists have been held for the past two months as well as scenes from their attempt to board the Gazprom drilling vessel.

Though I would not engage in the kind of direct action undertaken by the Greenpeace activists in this situation, there are substantial reasons to be concerned about the environmental effects of drilling for oil and gas in a remote, hazardous part of the world where there are few resources available for responding to accidents. As the world watched during the summer of 2010, it took 84 days and massive amounts of resources to stem the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon blow out. The challenging effort took place in the warm and friendly waters of the Gulf of Mexico, just a few hundred miles from shore in one of the world’s most well equipped oil and gas drilling regions. Just imagine how long it would take to halt a similar rupture in the Barents Sea.

Greenpeace is not correct in their belief that human society should eventually abandon fossil fuels; not only do they provide valuable capabilities, but they enable life as we know it. Greenpeace is correct, however, in advocating the development of clean energy sources that substantially reduce our need to burn hydrocarbons.

Demand reduction would result in substantially lower market prices that would discourage oil and gas companies from making the enormous investments required to drill in remote, environmentally sensitive regions that have been virtually untouched by human hands. Multinational petroleum companies are run and financed by hard-nosed business people that will not make investments if there is little or no hope of lucrative returns. The best chance of reducing the risk of damaging new drilling is to develop energy sources that are cheaper and more reliable than the ones that we have available today.

Greenpeace’s official position is that nuclear energy is not worth developing, but Mr. Naidoo left the door open for a reevaluation of that position in the following quote from the video.

KUMI NAIDOO: Well, I think we’ve executed, since the action, since the arrests, the largest numbers of actions against Gazprom. Wherever Gazprom is, we have been engaging. So, for example, Gazprom is a big player in the European gas industry, and they sponsor various football, ice hockey, boat races and so on. And, of course, Gazprom executives are speaking at energy conferences and so on. And I can tell you, just in the last month we have had about 15 actions against Gazprom and its management.

We would say to all energy company leaders, right, from Gazprom to Shell to ExxonMobil and all the rest, as Greenpeace, when we look at you, we see you as an energy company. As an energy company, we cannot blame you, 20 years ago or, say, even 15 years ago, for building energy based on oil, coal and gas. However, now, you need to understand that the scientific consensus is completely clear, and even if the science was not clear, the last decade has seen more than a 10 percent increase in extreme weather events, the very events that the scientists say that that’s how climate change will be looking at. So now you do not have an excuse. The facts are before you. And you need to understand that every cent that you invest in new projects is an investment in the death of our children and their children and future generations.

What we are saying to them is, we don’t expect you to switch off overnight, but let’s do the following things: Stop fresh fossil fuel investments; begin a transition away from your existing energy supply, which is dependent on dirty, brown, fossil fuel-based energy; and begin to develop your capability, your technological expertise and so on in clean, green, renewable technology. Some energy companies are doing it. It’s still too little, too late. But what we are saying is that we are not trying to put any of these companies out of business. What we are wanting to do is put their fossil fuel projects out of business. And sadly, some of these companies, it’s almost the same, because all they have is fossil fuel projects. And they have the technological capability—they don’t have the political will yet—to actually make the transition into clean energy projects.

(Emphasis added.)

People who use the phrase “clean energy” often specifically include ultra low emission nuclear in their energy source prescriptions. It is time for nuclear energy advocates, especially those with solid standing in the environmental community, to push on the opening and convert the activists with truth and reason.

About Rod Adams

29 Responses to “Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace asks energy companies to shift from coal, oil, gas to clean energy”

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  1. Daniel says:

    Regarding the risk of drilling in remote places. We all know Gazprom has no mitigation except to accept the risk.

    We are one major screw up away. And if is coming.

    This will help nuclear, sad but true.

    • Bas says:

      @Daniel
      We all know Gazprom has no mitigation
      Are you sure they take less care?

      Considering the huge scale of their activities, they would have had at least some real accidents. May be less serious than the Deepwater Horizon of BP in the Gulf or the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, but still significant.

      But apparently Greenpeace could not find much substantial…

  2. Steve R W says:

    Nuclear should be promoted and encouraged without riding on the back of eco-fascist organisations such as Greenpeace. Go ahead Greenpeace, prepare another protest in Russian waters. Let’s see how it works out a second time around.

    Also, nuclear power should be promoted and encouraged without riding on the back of the CO2 myth which has clearly shown to be nothing but … a myth.

    Bring on 800ppm i say.

  3. Steve R W says:

    Question for KUMI NAIDOO is she does per chance read this thread.

    Wind is a joke, Solar is a joke, so what “clean” energy power sources do you have in mind? I vote Nuclear, but the political and regulatory regimes are a farce. It all makes it prohibitive today without a revolution per say in “Western countries”. It’s good to see China etc bucking the trend.

    Go ahead Greenpeace ….go picket a Chinese nuclear plant!

    I have no problem with the latest clean coal power plants being built which increase the efficiency and result in the need to burn less coal. But i believe coal can be value added in the future, thus build nuclear plants. Energy density wins hands down.

    A nation still drawing 18,000MW in it’s sleep can’t go solar…
    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/05/a-nation-still-drawing-18000mw-in-its-sleep-cant-go-solar/

    • Bas says:

      @Steve R W
      Wind is a joke, Solar is a joke
      Successful major developed countries such as Germany (80million people) and many smaller countries, such as Denmark, follow scenario’s towards 100% renewable.
      Denmark; ~35% of all electricity by wind turbines now, in 2020 50%, etc.
      Germany; ~23% of all electricity renewable now, in 2020 35%, etc.

      Germany, the most successful economy in the EU, says that renewable (mainly wind+solar) developments contribute heavily to its success (a.o. significant less unemployment).

      It’s good to see China etc bucking the trend.
      China spends x times more money installing wind+solar than for nuclear.
      And it installs also x+x times more each year! In China, nuclear is only a side show compared to wind+solar.

      Energy density wins hands down.
      Nuclear produce ~1KW per square meter land use.
      Wind produce at least 10times more per square meter land use.
      Solar on the roof at least 100 times more per square meter land use.
      So nuclear is inferior regarding power density (defined according to the only relevant criterion as that is scarce; land use)!

      • Rod Adams says:

        @Bas

        China spends x times more money installing wind+solar than for nuclear.

        There you go again with using a magical ‘x’ to make a fallacious argument when you have no information to share. For a good qualitative description of the scale of the Chinese nuclear energy program, I suggest that you allocate about 30 minutes to reading the following:

        http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/China–Nuclear-Power/

        I do not have any budget figures to share at this time, so I will not make the same mistake as you, but I’ll be interested to see how you would react if we find out that the value of your ‘x’ is substantially less than 1.

        I’m pretty sure that is what we will find if we can obtain any numbers since you very specifically said “wind+solar” and not “renewables”. China has spent an enormous sum on hydroelectric projects in recent years with the 18.2 GWe Three Gorges project and the 15.8 GWe Yellow River project.

        • Bas says:

          Rod,
          Your link reports for 2012:
          Wind installed 15GW; Solar installed 3GW;
          No nuclear figure but Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Feb 2013) reports 0.6GW.
          This is low due to Fukushima safety review, which led to an $13 billion safety improvement plan (better than the EU where the stress test was a fake. Just as the bank stress test; three months thereafter the first fully approved bank broke down).

          Targets for 2013: Wind 18GW; Solar 10GW; Nuclear 3.2GW.
          In 2014+2015, 10GW of Nuclear (5GW/a).

          End of 2015 (=end present 5years plan) targets:
          Wind 100GW (will be more than 112GW. End 2012 total 61GW)
          Solar target of 30GW (2 times upgraded already since Sept.2012) seems now to become 35GW. This may become ~60GW in line with the multiple increases of this target. I think due to price decreases and less grid expansion problems as solar can be installed in rather dense populated areas.
          Nuclear 40GW.

          Not clear whether China will reach long term nuclear targets as the usual delays, we know from here, are now also expanding in China. Probably because safety becomes a more serious issue. Which is a good thing.
          E.g. China builds the EPR with only a single dome as plane collision/attack is excluded. I assume also without the independent emergency control system, which caused so much delay for the EPR in Finland as Arriva did not design that although they committed to deliver it in their tender (that type of scam does not work in Finland as the Finnish have another culture).
          Comparing 2009/2010 long term targets with the present ones, you see decrease for nuclear while wind+solar targets increase.

          • Will Boisvert says:

            @ Bas:

            Bas, you wrote, “China builds the EPR with only a single dome as plane collision/attack is excluded.”

            Can you cite a referrence for that claim?

            I guess you are referring to the EPR’s double-hulled containment building–that is, a containment building, including the dome, with two walls instead of the normal one. Your statement seems to mean that EPRs in China are being built with only one containment wall, which would be a major revision of the standard EPR design.

            I haven’t come across that information anywhere else, so it would be very helpful to me if you could provide a citation and link.

          • Bas says:

            @Will
            I remember that I read it, a week ago or so.
            Also that the Chinese safety rules excluded a plane attack/collision/crash (apparently beautiful communist China cannot have a pilot that wants to revenge on society or so)…

            So I tried to find it back, but didn’t succeed yet.
            There should be an option in my FF browser to store the content of all page it shows, so one can do a simple search in those pages only…

            While searching, I saw some pictures of the Taishan NPP. And it looks like they build a double dome… So may be that article was only speculation. I’ll search again when I have time.

            The EPR in Taishan started years later then the one’s in France and Finland, yet would be at least a year earlier ready.
            I met many articles stating that it is because of neglecting safety issues (which delay the one’s in Europe, at least the one in Finland for years).
            Concerns in e.g. Hong Kong, which state that the Taishan EPR is now the first ever EPR that starts running.

            Those safety concerns in Hong Kong seem exaggerated. But when you look at the Chernobyl fallout picture, you can see that CS-137 radiation at levels higher than 1480kBq/a (=20mSv/a) are distributed more than 100miles away.
            (20mSv/a generate ~20 times more Down syndrome, etc)

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Bas

            I remember that I read it, a week ago or so.

            This is emblematic of many of your comments here; they are based on selective memories of “hearsay” evidence that seems to align with your world view.

          • jmdesp says:

            @Bas : In order to lower the nuclear number, they did not take into account the Ningde 1GW plant that started at the very end of 2012, including instead the QINSHAN 2-4 that started at end of 2011.

            However this means they are already 2 plants of 1 GW that counts for 2013.
            And the Hongyanhe 2 plant might also be put in operation before the end of year, the Swiss are reporting it has achieved first criticality on 24 october. The fuel for Yangjiang 1 is currently being loaded also.

            Renewables in China will very soon not be able to see anything more than the back end of nuclear. The wind and nuclear production in 2012 were actually almost perfectly equal, but the backlog of nuclear soon to be started meant that this would not last long.

          • jmdesp says:

            Hongyanhe 2 has actually already been connected to the grid a few days ago, even if it doesn’t appear to be fully commercially operational yet :
            http://www.energycentral.com/news/en/30743673/Hongyanhe-Nuclear-Power-Plant-Unit-2-into-Operation

          • Pedro Camacho says:

            @bas: with your comment you gave the best argument in favor of nuclear power, showing that it is the better investment. With your numbers by 2015:
            Wind 112 GW @ 30% capacity factor= 295000 GWh
            Solar 60 GW @ 30% cf= 158000 GWh
            Nuclear 40 GW @ 90% cf= 315000 GWh

            And this is just in terms of energy produce, not taking into account the added reliability and cheaper electricity cost.

            Thanks helping me better understand the huge potential of nuclear energy.

      • Cory Stansbury says:

        “Nuclear produce ~1KW per square meter land use.
        Wind produce at least 10times more per square meter land use.
        Solar on the roof at least 100 times more per square meter land use.
        So nuclear is inferior regarding power density (defined according to the only relevant criterion as that is scarce; land use)!”

        Getting really conservative in our calculations you aren’t even close to correct. I’ll go ahead and throw in the entire fenced in area for a single AP1000 (twin unit is more space efficient), then use just the foundation for the E-126, ignore capacity factor, ignore backup generation, ignore parasitic losses from the grid for wind farm (but include them for the AP1000). Even then, they are basically the same.

        Rooftop solar still requires land to have been use by a house/building. In that case, you can’t hope to have more than 1 kW/m^2 in a 100% efficient panel, so that’s a non-starter for this argument. However, if you are talking ADDITIONAL land use, than I suppose it does alright as long as you don’t require one to look at its backup.

        An AP1000 power plant is sited within a 25 acre fence. 25 acres= 101,171 m^2
        1,117,000 kW/101,171 m^2= 11 kW/m^2

        Enercon E-126 foundation diameter: 29 meters = 661 m^2
        7600 kW/661= 11.5 kW/m^2

        • Bas says:

          @Cory
          The 1KW per square meter land use of NPP’s was stated here first.
          (I thought by David, but if I am wrong correct me).

          I think that you forgot the major land use; Uranium mining.
          Such as those that triggered the French to intervene military in the civil war in Mali (the Touareg people try to become independent), as a hostile take over of Mali may block the routes from the uranium mines in Niger to the sea.

          • Cory Stansbury says:

            Yes, because the construction of wind turbines and solar cells requires no mining. The far greater amount of materials required for both of those appears from the heavens as a sign that they wish us to continue burning hydrocarbons at unprecedented rates.

  4. Bas says:

    According to the papers here, the climate conference in Warsaw ended in bigger disputes than before. So for now no new CO2 targets after 2020.

    Massive CO2 producing rich countries (US, Australia) still do not want to commit to (reduction) CO2 targets. Neither prepared to contribute for a fund that help poor countries which become victims of global warming (sea level rise, flooding isle states).
    It seems that Australian government throws existing climate policy out. Its CO2 production is expected to rise in 2020, compared with 2000, by 12%.

    May be the failing doomsday predictions of the climate boys contributed to all of this: hardly sea level rise, no global warming since 1998…
    But still, it shows not much responsibility.

    I feel still anger about the decision of US government to blockade even a very small tax for the CO2 that planes produce flying to/in/from the EU only.
    What if US get a republican president, will it then follow Australia?

    • Atomikrabbit says:

      “What if US get a republican president, will it then follow Australia?”

      If that President happened to be Lamar Alexander, the US would be more likely to “follow” pre-Hollande France. Vive la Lamar!

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Bas

      Perhaps it is just my southern US upbringing, but I find your use of the term “boys” to be offensive and disrespectful.

      • Bas says:

        @Rod,
        Those scientists lost my respect when they offered my climbing friend a very nice amount of money if he would bring back pictures of global warming from his long cross country ski-tour crossing Greenland; ~east-west, taking ~8 weeks.
        He refused.

        Though I believe they work hard, I cannot stand this type of near corruption (sorry, do not know the right English word).

        But you are right, it is (unnecessary) insulting without adding any argument.
        So I’ll try to avoid.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Bas

          It sounds like you are condemning an entire profession based on a single anecdote. There are tens of thousands of climate scientists in the world; do you want me to believe there is some sort of cabal that would try to hire an amateur climber to take photos? If there was such a cabal, why wouldn’t they simply travel to selected destinations and take the pictures themselves?

          • Bas says:

            Rod,
            there is some sort of cabal that would try to hire an amateur climber to take photos? If there was such a cabal, why wouldn’t they simply travel to selected destinations and take the pictures themselves?
            We made some name, not only in the climbing world, climbing extreme routes in the Alps, Andes, Himalaya (TV etc). So he became professional earning his money by publications, sponsors, lectures, photographs, books, etc.

            Your proposal would deliver only pictures which do not tell much.
            Especially since the warming up is not very visible.
            If that would work, they never would have offered him that amount of money.

            His cross-country ski-tour was a few thousand miles all across the ice-cap, nobody there, which bring one in exceptional places.
            It implies you need know how regarding survival in extreme cold, across glaciers, etc. and knowledge regarding the way glaciers flow in order to find places where such climate change pictures may tell an appealing story.

  5. Steve R W says:

    Bas.

    China and India etc are the kings of CO2 today. And good on them helping bring people out of poverty via cheap affordable electricity. Also it’s good to see them promoting nuclear power …can’t say the same for Australia. We are burning cash on crap wind and solar which will end in tears.

    ” So for now no new CO2 targets after 2020″

    “But still, it shows not much responsibility”

    Based on what science for you to say such a thing?

    (:

  6. Steve R W says:

    “@Steve R W
    “Wind is a joke, Solar is a joke ”
    Successful major developed countries such as Germany (80million people) and many smaller countries, such as Denmark, follow scenario’s towards 100% renewable.
    Denmark; ~35% of all electricity by wind turbines now, in 2020 50%, etc.
    Germany; ~23% of all electricity renewable now, in 2020 35%, etc.

    Germany, the most successful economy in the EU, says that renewable (mainly wind+solar) developments contribute heavily to its success (a.o. significant less unemployment).

    “It’s good to see China etc bucking the trend. ”
    China spends x times more money installing wind+solar than for nuclear.
    And it installs also x+x times more each year! In China, nuclear is only a side show compared to wind+solar.

    “Energy density wins hands down. ”
    Nuclear produce ~1KW per square meter land use.
    Wind produce at least 10times more per square meter land use.
    Solar on the roof at least 100 times more per square meter land use.
    So nuclear is inferior regarding power density (defined according to the only relevant criterion as that is scarce; land use)!”

    Bas. I don’t think i have read so much bullshit in all of my life!

    I’m going to bed now. But WOW!

    What you have posted is now public record. Good luck backing it up.

    Gee whiz man. I’ll comment after a goods night sleep. Perhaps you can explain Germany building coal fired power plants after all this investment in “renewable” energy! 100 Billion plus just on solar alone. FFS man.

    Germany is a basket case. Wake up mate.

    “Bill McKibben says wind is cheap as coal. Jo Nova says “so who needs a carbon tax then?”
    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/10/bill-mcgibben-says-wind-is-cheap-as-coal-jo-nova-says-so-who-needs-a-carbon-tax/

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      Nonsense is Bas Gresnigt’s stock in trade.

      And use the “Reply” link on a comment when replying to that comment, not the boxes at the bottom of the page.

  7. Steve R W says:

    One final comment.

    “It’s good to see China etc bucking the trend. ”
    China spends x times more money installing wind+solar than for nuclear.
    And it installs also x+x times more each year! In China, nuclear is only a side show compared to wind+solar.”

    LMFAO! Comedy gold.

    Goodnight

  8. Bill Chaffee says:

    A co2 tax to offset the subsidies that the oil and gas and the coal industries recieve might be a good idea. However it is often difficult to quantify the subsidies that an industry receives. It would be better just to eliminate the subsidies and the same for the wind industry.

    • starvinglion says:

      Shut it all down already. Just make the Zimbabwe-like US stock market go up everyday and be done with it. Any real productivity competitiveness improvement is just a waste of time because it will be wiped out by government grifters. A government website costs a billion bucks…a LWR will cost a trillion. There is no growth in this mafia den.

    • Bas says:

      @Bill
      Without:
      1. the huge liability subsidies (regarding accidents and radio-active waste storage); and

      2. the huge investment subsidies (UK Hinckley loan guarantees; US allowing a levy so the rate payers pay the investment in advance); and

      3. the price guarantee / levy for the KWh produced during ~35years;

      no new nuclear will be built.
      Without 1. near all existing NPP’s may probably close, as they cannot pay the insurance premium.

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