Nuke Letter to UNFCCC Secretariat

To the attention of COP23 Fiji Presidency and the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
Copies: UNFCCC Secretariat, Bonn
Email copies to Side Events and Exhibits <>

Honourable Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Honourable Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa

The undersigned, members of the Women and Gender Constituency, and supporting civil society organisations, are presenting our strong opposition to the fact that the pro-nuclear industry lobby is allowed to promote their technology in the Bonn Zone of the UNFCCC COP23, and has been given priority over organisations that defend the common interest of people and the planet, and support truly sustainable solutions rather than dangerous technologies such as nuclear energy.

We are shocked to note that, in contrast to the many Civil Society organisations who have been given no or limited space in the exhibition area in the Bonn zone, the nuclear industry lobby has been allocated 2 exhibition booths for 2 weeks. The booths are identical, and there is no justification for duplication in two booths when other voices, more concerned with sustainability and healthy, just climate solutions, are excluded for want of space. This was purely a propaganda measure. Not only the exhibition, but also the side events by the nuclear lobby have denied the fact that the nuclear energy production chain, from uranium mining to the disposal of nuclear waste, continues to to threaten the lives, health, and well-being of large populations of the world. The devastating effects of these and the high risk and effects of an accidents, waste leakage, or a terrorist actions are also denied, and there no accountability for the costs, not even of insurance, are being taken by the industry.

In addition, the booths were given a highly visible and prominent space, much better than the spaces given to organisations that present climate-safe technologies such as the world wind energy (WWEA) and solar energy (ISES).

We also oppose the false and misleading messaging by the nuclear lobby. It is inadmissible that the two exhibition booths carry the same misleading message of being from a “Grassroot Initiative”, whereas the members of the industry associations behind the booths are clearly nuclear power companies and pro-nuclear research institutes from Canada (CNA), Japan (JAIF), Europe (ENS, FORATOM) and the USA (NEI). This is known as ‘astroturfing’ and is unethical.

The exhibitions promote the industry’s aggressive lobbying especially focussed towards developing countries, based on false information about the true cost of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy carries especial harms for women and other vulnerable stakeholders, is a health risk, and damages valuable resources and ecosystems that are a commons that deserve UNFCCC concern and need its protection. This industry needs accountability rather than promotion in an inappropriate context shared with the organizations we represent who promote clean, just energy solutions.

We call on the Fiji Presidency and the UNFCCC Secretariat to ensure that at future COPs this now longer is allowed: we ask you not to set the interest of the nuclear industry lobby above organisations defending the interests of the planet. We also ask the Secretariat to communicate clearly to the nuclear industry that they cannot represent themselves as a grassroot initiative at the COP.

The Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC has been present at COP23 with a large delegation. We would be glad to discuss these concerns towards a transition to sustainable development based on renewable energy and energy efficiency grounded in the respect of environment, health and all human rights.

With our best regards,
The undersigned members of the Women and Gender Constituency and Civil Society,

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