UK environmentalists write to Prime Minister in support of new nuclear

Press release – immediate

15 March 2012

Environmentalists write to David Cameron in support of nuclear, criticising recent advice from Jonathon Porritt and others

Five leading voices in the environmental movement have written today to the British Prime Minister to warn that his Government must embrace nuclear power if it is to meet the country’s climate change targets.

The five environmentalists were responding to a letter sent to Number 10 on 12 March 2012 by former directors of Friends of the Earth, Jonathon Porritt, Tony Juniper, Charles Secrett and Tom Burke, which advised the Prime Minister against considering new nuclear power stations, largely on cost grounds.

In their response to this letter, George Monbiot, Stephen Tindale, Fred Pearce, Michael Hanlon and Mark Lynas today tell the Prime Minister that anti-nuclear advice from former environmental leaders should not be used to guide policy. They say it threatens to undermine the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change.

Their letter points out that according to the Climate Change Committee’s figures, nuclear is amongst the lowest-cost options for reducing carbon emissions.  Renewables alone will not be sufficient to generate the energy the UK’s economy needs – and therefore fossil fuels will be used instead. They point to Germany and Japan, where fossil fuels consumption has increased since both countries began to abandon nuclear power, harming the battle against climate change and threatening the lives and health of millions because of air pollution released during the combustion of coal and oil.

George Monbiot, activist and writer for The Guardian, said: “We are facing perhaps the greatest challenge humanity has ever encountered and instead of tackling the source of the problem, fossil fuels, some environmentalists are attacking one of the solutions. People will look back at this era and wonder how such madness took hold.”

Stephen Tindale, a former director of Greenpeace UK, said: “I urge David Cameron to listen to all sides in this debate, and in particular to that given by the Climate Change Committee and DECC which states clearly that nuclear must be a growing part of the energy mix in future if the UK is to meet its climate change targets and remain energy secure.”

The letter to David Cameron is appended.

Further information:

George Monbiot,; 07890 444271

Stephen Tindale,; Mark Lynas,; Fred Pearce,; Michael Hanlon,


  1. Colin Megson

    “….All four additionally act as ambassadors for the renewables lobby, which we consider an interest group like any other….”

    We’ve got to get at the 3 million Greenpeace members and the 2 million Friends of the Earth members to make them accept and openly comment on the not-so eco-friendliness of wind turbines compared to closed-cycle nuclear (which has to be the ‘New Nuclear’ of the not too distant future). See:

  2. Barry Woods

    I wonder how many members greenpeace had in the UK?

    There website says 2.8 mill world wide..
    So why should this unelected lobby group have any influence in the UK..
    As do the members vote on policy/lobbying activities..
    It is just at the whim of the leadership.


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