Issues

Olkiluoto: Finlands new nuclear power plant

Finland's Olkiluoto nuclear power plant: The Olkiluoto construction project in Finland is rapidly becoming an example of all that can go wrong in economic terms with nuclear new build. It demonstrates the key problems of construction delays, cost overruns and hidden subsidies.

CO2 emission of electricity from nuclear power stations

How much CO2 is produced by atomic energy?

One of the few pros of nuclear power is the relatively low emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the major causes of global warming. For this reason, it has been proposed as "the" method to mitigate the effects of climate change. However a recent life cycle analysis showed that nuclear power produces 4 to 10 times higher CO2 emissions per kWh electricity than renewable energies.

Cost of electricity from new nuclear power stations

Current discussions about possibilities to mitigate the effects of global warming have also opened discussions about a potential revival of nuclear power. In this context, it is often argued with very low cost of electricity from nuclear power plants. This seems to be one of the strongest arguments in favor of atomic energy. To determine the future cost of electricity from nuclear power, the cost from currently operating power stations is taken into account. This is not correct, however.

 

Europeans attitude towards the environment

Summary of Eurobarometer survey published on March 13, 2008. The report shows that Europeans are increasingly aware of the role played by the environment in their daily lives. More than 95% of European citizens feel that it is important to protect the environment. Some 80% also feel it influences their quality of life and consider that they have a role to play in protecting it. Climate change (global warming) tops the list of Europeans' environmental concerns, followed by pollution and man-made disasters.

A majority are also uneasy about the use of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture.

Water scarcity and global warming

With continued population growth, increased per capita consumption, and anticipated climate change, the global water situation appears bleak. Since water scarcity is a highly localized issue determined by regional climatic and demographic factors, a single solution will not solve all of the world's water scarcity problems.

However, improved management, more water efficient technologies, and support for the world's most vulnerable countries and ecosystems will likely play leading roles. According to the UN-backed World Commission on Water, coping with water scarcity will require global investment of $100 billion per year. Willingness to invest this sum will be vital to the future of human well-being and economic development in all countries of the world.

Nuclear power station causing cancer

An official study from the German government shows the risk of getting cancer is significantly increasing for small children growing up in the neighborhood of a nuclear power station. This is in particular true for leukemia, a special case of cancer.

Investments in sustainable energies

Invest in renewable energies - not in fossile «Aiding oil, harming the climate» is a new report from the organisation "Oil Change International", which shows dramatically that the major investments still go into the oil, gas and coal sector instead of renewable energies. For more than 25 years, wealthy countries have been using aid and other foreign assistance to subsidize the expansion of the international oil industry, a practice known as “Oil Aid”. It is impossible to actively subsidize the expansion of the oil industry and effectively fight global warming at the same time.

CO2 concentration causing global temperature increase

There is no doubt any more: In order to mitigate global warming, the emission of greenhouse gases must be reduced, the sooner the better. This will then lead to a stabilization of the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere - and in the very long term hopefully to a decrease of its concentration.The level at which the greenhouse gas concentration gets stabilized does determine the warming effect, i.e. the temperature increase.

The following graph shows the relation between the greenhouse gas concentration (expressed as CO2-equivalents) and the resulting average global temperature increase on the surface.

Climate Change: 4th report of IPCC

Observational evidence from all continents and most oceans shows that many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases. Warming of the climate system is undeniable, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.

The following is an excerpt and summary of the 4th report from the Intergovernmental panel of Climate change (IPCC) about the causes and effects of global warming.

The effects of global warming by region

A further IPCC report on predicted effects of climate change by geographical regions (Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, North America, Polar regions, small islands) has been released in November 2007. This report does confirm the cause and effects of climate change, which have already been know for years. They also basically confirm their projections about likely regional effects of global warming in their report of April 2007.
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