Draft on "Energy Security" Confirms
the 2006 G8 Summit's Alarming New Push For "Nuclear Rebirth"
** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- FORWARD WIDELY **
Contact: Reclaim the Commons
A secret draft of the "G8 Summit Communique on Energy Security," scheduled to be released officially on July 16th at the July 15 - 17, 2006 G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, has been leaked.
The Communique is now posted for the global public to read and review, front and center at http://ReclaimTheCommons.net
This alarming document calls for a huge new global expansion of nuclear power as well as trillions of dollars in new investment to escalate oil, gas and coal production around the world.
Its message on nuclear energy is clear: "We believe that development of nuclear energy would promote global energy security..." and "We intend to make additional joint efforts to ensure non-discriminatory access to this energy source."
It confirms other public signs that the 2006 G8 Summit is being used to usher in a new era of global nuclear proliferation. At a meeting of G8 energy ministers this week in Moscow, Russia's president Vladimir Putin called for "the equal and discrimination-free access to nuclear technologies for all countries." US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said after the meeting: "We are hopeful of a very substantial rebirth of the global nuclear industry." A joint statement released by G8 ministers said: "For those countries that wish, wide-scale development of safe and secure nuclear energy is crucial."
However, not all of the Group of 8 industrialized countries are in agreement about the G8's push for a "nuclear rebirth," which is being led by the United States and Russia. Germany has attacked the plan under consideration by the G8 -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US -- for broad expansion of nuclear power as a way of enhancing "energy security." Germany has pledged to progressively shut down its 19 nuclear power stations and exit atomic power altogether. A German government spokesman said on March 15th said that the Communique "does not represent Germany's position at all." He added that its proposals on nuclear power were "not acceptable to Germany."
In the United Kingdom, Tony Blair's administration has publicly promoted plans for a massive program of nuclear energy expansion. But the UK government has been told by its own environmental advisers that nuclear power is not the appropriate way to combat climate change or to ensure energy security. The UK's Sustainable Development Commission is urging Prime Minister Tony Blair to reject the nuclear option in favor of an "aggressive" expansion of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Although the G8 has no juridical status whatsoever, and exists outside any democratic framework, it has become an important spectacle and platform, where top leaders of the world look for consensus among each other, before imposing their policies on their populations.
In defiance of this top-down and dictatorial style of decision-making, and to further the advance of the "information commons," Reclaim the Commons has published the "G8 Summit Communique on Energy Security" on its website, for people throughout the world to see and debate. According to its Statement of Unity, Reclaim the Commons stands for "true democracy, for all people to have a voice in the decisions that affect them, for complete transparency in all decision-making processes, and for every person's human rights to be honored and protected."
At the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, G8 leaders focused on negotiating initiatives to mitigate the impacts of climate change and cancel the debt of African countries. In a dramatic and disturbing turn-around, the 2006 G8 Summit appears set to promote trillions of dollars of investment in fossil fuels, "which will exacerbate both climate change and developing country debt," according to an analysis of the leaked Communique by the clean energy activist group Oil Change International, online at http://priceofoil.org.
Environmental and global justice activists worldwide are troubled by -- and adamantly opposed to -- this regressive approach to "energy security" in 2006 by the G8 leaders. As early as July 2005, Russia had expressed its intention to focus on "energy security" as the central theme of the 2006 G8 Summit. But by December 2005, it had become obvious that this was merely a cynical strategy by Russia to project its wealth in the areas of oil and natural gas on to the world stage, rather than a serious push to decrease global dependence on fossil fuels through investment in renewable energy sources. As the world's second largest oil exporter, after Saudi Arabia, and the major exporter of natural gas to Europe, fossil fuels give Russia much of its trans-national political and economic clout.
On January 3, just days after Russia took over the annual Presidency of the G8 from England, a call for grassroots "energy dissent" during the 2006 G8 Summit was distributed worldwide through the global Indymedia network. Responding to the crucial role that Russia had recently played in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol -- the international treaty on climate change that requires member countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases -- and bringing it into force, the call stated that this "makes this G8 Summit another critical moment for climate justice action." But the call warned that "dissenters will demonstrate that there can be no 'energy security' while climate crisis and ecosystem destruction gain speed, and civilization drives suicidally down a road paved by dependence on non-renewable, fast-depleting fossil fuels." It noted that the G8 countries consume 45% of world oil and produce 47% of global emissions of carbon dioxide. "Their energy security," the call concluded, "is our energy grave!"
The new revelations about the extent to which nuclear power -- in addition to fossil fuels -- will also dominate the agenda at the 2006 G8 Summit will serve only to increase the outrage and opposition of environmental and global justice movements against the G8's backwards shift on "energy security." Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International told the Reuters news agency: "The nuclear industry is desperate to secure funding of billions from the taxpayers of the G8. If they succeed we will fail in securing a sustainable energy future and will fail to prevent dangerous climate change."
In an astonishing twist of irony, July 16th -- the date in 2006 when the G8 plans to officially release and launch its "Communique on Energy Security" -- also marks the anniversary of the first-ever atomic bomb explosion, at the 'Trinity' test site in New Mexico, in 1945 three weeks before the United States' nuclear bomb assaults on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In addition, 2006 is the 20th anniversary of the former Soviet Union's catastrophic nuclear power plant meltdown at Chernobyl in Ukraine. But the deadliness of nuclear energy is not only a phenomenon of the distant past. On December 15th, 2005, at a nuclear power plant 3 miles outside St. Petersburg -- host city to the 2006 G8 Summit -- in Russia, an explosion ripped through a smelter and killed two workers.
How will environmental and global justice movements around the world respond to the new initiative by the G8 to expand use of the Earth's deadliest energy source? The website of Reclaim the Commons provides this hint: "Building on these historical links that remind us of nuclear power's horrific effects, anti-nuclear movements worldwide should initiate emergency plans to mobilize opposition against the G8's dangerous and destabilizing 'nuclear rebirth,' with global protest actions on July 16, 2006 to END THE NUCLEAR AGE!!"
In 2004, Reclaim the Commons was a leading voice and organizer of protest during the G8 Summit that year, held in the United States at Sea Island in Georgia. Since 2004, Reclaim the Commons has also coordinated annual demonstrations and grassroots "counter-conventions" at the corporate conventions of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and this April 8 - 10, 2006 in Chicago. Reclaim the Commons remains committed to raising public scrutiny and rejection of the G8 Summit's basic and intrinsic function -- which is to stifle and bypass transparent, accountable proccesses of global democracy.
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"We are currently witnessing a massive theft of the global Commons, which are being turned into commodities by those who seek profit for the few at great cost to the many. We oppose this wholeheartedly and choose to envision a better world for all life on this planet. We choose a world that is truly democratic, just, and sustainable; a world where every person's basic needs are met, where wealth is equitably distributed, where racial, economic and gender justice prevail, where indigenous cultures are cherished, and where restitution is made to the exploited. We work toward a society based on thriving, regional economies that are ecologically and economically sustainable, in which control of the Commons is returned to public stewardship.
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"We call for true democracy, for all people to have a voice in the decisions that affect them, for complete transparency in all decision-making processes, and for every person's human rights to be honored and protected."
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