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President Gorbachev Marks 20th Anniversary of Chernobyl with Call to G8 Leaders for $50 Billion Global Solar Fund, Reduced Subsidies to Fossil Fuel and Nuclear Industries

01.01.70

20th Anniversary of the world's largest nuclear power plant disaster, President Gorbachev, Founder and Chairman of Green Cross International, called for the leaders of the G8 -- the world's largest industrialized nations -- to make stronger commitments to a truly secure and sustainable energy future by overwhelmingly investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

In an "Energy Security" brief sent with a letter from President Gorbachev to heads of state and leaders of parliaments in the G8 nations preparing for the upcoming G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, President Gorbachev has called for strong commitments to sustainable energy and warned of the dangers of continued reliance on oil and gas and nuclear power while relegating renewable energy to secondary status.

Gorbachev, Green Cross International and its American affiliate Global Green USA have urged the G8 to make significantly increased investments in renewable energy, including the creation of a $50 billion Global Solar Fund over 10 years.

"This idea reflects our vision of a way of helping the energy impoverished in the developing world, while creating concentrations of solar energy in cities that could be used to prevent blackouts, and would result in lower electricity bills," said President Gorbachev. "The Fund could easily be raised by cutting subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy, to install solar photovoltaic equipment around the planet, thereby driving down the price and creating a mass market for a clean fuel technology."

"The greatest energy security challenge facing humanity is the implementation of clean renewable energy solutions for sustainable development," said Matt Petersen, President of Global Green USA and Chair of Green Cross's Energy and Resource Efficiency Committee. "By exponentially increasing the generating capacity of clean renewable energy sources around the globe, we can work to mitigate climate change and provide energy to the world's poorest people. Leveraging an unprecedented clean renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment is the only way to achieve real, lasting energy security."

"The proliferation risks of nuclear power -- the vulnerability of fissile materials, spent nuclear fuel pools, and commercial plants themselves to terrorist attack, theft, and diversion, and the dual-use nature of nuclear technology for both power and weapons -- all argue strongly that we must look elsewhere for less dangerous power generation options," added Dr. Paul Walker, Legacy Program Director of Global Green USA.

The concern over the increased subsidy of fossil fuels, compared with only modest increases for renewables, has been exacerbated by the recent rise in discussion of nuclear power serving as a solution to climate change.

"Nuclear power is neither the answer to modern energy problems nor a panacea for climate change challenges," President Gorbachev said recently. "You don't actually solve problems by finding solutions that create more problems down the track. It doesn't add up economically, environmentally or socially. Of all the energy options, nuclear is the most capital intensive to establish, decommissioning is prohibitively expensive and the financial burden continues long after the plant is closed. In the U.S., for example, direct subsidies to nuclear energy amounted to $115 billion between 1947 and 1999 with a further $145 billion in indirect subsidies. In contrast, subsidies to wind and solar combined during the same period totaled only $5.5 billion."

To view the briefing paper presented to G8 leaders, visit www.greencrossinginternational.net or www.globalgreen.org. Global Green USA is the American arm of Green Cross International and the only national environmental group based in Los Angeles. Global Green's mission is to create a value shift to stop climate change, to provide drinking water to all, and to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

Expert opinion

Halter Marek

02.12.06

Halter Marek
Le College de France
Olivier Giscard dEstaing

02.12.06

Olivier Giscard dEstaing
COPAM, France
Mika Ohbayashi

02.12.06

Mika Ohbayashi
Institute for Sustainable Energy Poliy
Bill Pace

02.12.06

Bill Pace
World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
Peter I. Hajnal

01.12.06

Peter I. Hajnal
Toronto University, G8 Research Group