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Day 6 – A really long day

4 joulukuun, 2015

After a reasonable 7 hours of sleep, it was time to start what would likely be a very busy and long day. Early in the morning I got a notice that the next 1,000 books were arriving at our friend Julie’s place in one hour. So we grabbed our stuff and headed there. All went well, and we got the books packed to another Uber, and decided to take all of them straight to the Le Galerie.

When we got there, a small disaster decided to enter my life once again. Due to an unfortunate typo, TNT had a wrong phone number for the friend that was supposed to receive the rest – 3,000 or so – Climate Gamble books. So she never got any calls. When she tried to call TNT to inform them of this, she got stuck with some computer problems at TNT France and could not get through. Of course.

Meanwhile I was standing in the middle of a huge parking lot, trying to message back and forth to Finland on my smartphone, so someone there could help us. I even tried to call TNT France, and got as far as an automatic response which I did not understand, and decided it was not a good idea to start randomly pressing numbers for the automated system. Oh well, TNT Finland has now apparently emailed TNT France the new phone number, so hopefully we will get them tomorrow.

Gallery of solutions

In we went, and after security checks got to the booth of Nuclear for Climate.

After unpacking we thought it would be a good idea to hand out our books to the visitors at the Gallery of Solutions (which was basically like any other trade fair). That went well, we were handing out a lot of books, and eventually James Hansen, Tom Wigley, Robert Stone and the rest got there as well.

I have to say it is a very nice feeling to be signing one’s own book for some of these people who have affected one’s thinking and perspectives so much. Something to feel very grateful.


The best, most goal-focused panel discussion on climate change and energy I have ever seen. 

We were soon following what was the most straightforward debates on nuclear and climate change that I have ever witnessed, handing out more books to the audience.

Clouds started gathering

Then another thing which started to look like a disaster entered the picture. Suddenly there was lots of security guys eyeballing us, and a guy the size of large wardrobe promptly told us to stop giving out our books to the visitors in the general area. Or they would presumably remove our behinds from the premises.

So what to do but carry our books back to the booth, and to lay low (read: go for a beer) for a while.

A couple of hours later, we heard what had actually happened.

Apparently, the people in charge of the security and the gallery of solutions had somewhat limited English skills (and a lot in their minds). Some of them had checked our book, and had seen that it says “Anti-Nuclear” in the cover. So they thought we were anti-nuclear activists from this or that well-known environmental NGO. After they had had a chat with the people at the Nuclear4Climate booth, and had seen the cover of the French translation, it had dawned to them that we were not anti-nuclear activists trying maybe to stir trouble (the security with various environmental NGO’s and people is very strict I hear). Oh well.

There is a slight problem here for us. I will try to explain why. For me and Janne, it is not OK to ban or throw out (peaceful) activists who are against the “establishment”, and yet allow similar activists who are NOT against the establishment to stay. And in France, where the nuclear companies are practically owned by the government, nuclear power represents the establishment. This kind of cherry-picking is to be expected, but we would like to think it should not be supported. Therefore we won’t be handing out any more books at the event.

There are other sides to this as well. Environmental organizations and anti-nuclear protesters have – with their own behaviour – burned a lot of bridges on this as well.

Lastly, my personal view on this is that anti-nuclear activists move the goal posts on the public discussion to suit their agenda as well.

Nuclear power companies owned by government? That’s bad, they say, government should not support nuclear.

Nuclear power companies owned by private utilities? That’s maybe even worse, just capitalists ripping the people off and leaving them with all the risks implied (never mind the toughest regulatory environment of practically any industry…).

Nuclear power plants owned by part government, part municipalities and their energy companies, part private businesses? This is the situation in Finland pretty much, and so the anti-nuclear people pick any of these to suit their needs. They often argue that they hope public and private money to invest in their own favourites, but would like to ban anyone from investing in something they dislike.

We still got our ID’s checked and written down by the police while we were helping an old man hold a banner of Citizens climate lobby (this sounds naïve, but we were really just helping him).


Me and Ben, hanging out, taking selfies.

We also met Ben Heard, signed a book for him (of course) and even took a selfie. I am a big fan of his work. I will be speaking at a panel with him next week at the Galerie (I know: awesome).

Later that day, we gathered to hear James Hansen give a bit more private presentation on his upcoming research on ice sheets and sea level rise. The message was clear: we need to find a way to leave most fossil fuels in the ground. The new, improved model they had in their study showed that it will be possible we will see multi-meter sea-level rise this century (might be even during my assumed lifetime).

After the talk and Q&A, in which Janne made some good comments and got an ovation from the people there (here is a link to the video of that), we also got to hand James our book, dedicated to him of course.

As the clock closed in on 19:00, I realised I had had nothing to eat that day after a light breakfast. So we (Janne, David, Derek…) joined the others (Robert Stone, Tom Wigley, Kirsty Gogan and several other people) for a dinner. There was a screening of Robert’s documentary Pandora’s Promise going on, but we simply did not have time to get there. Or we might have, but then we would have had nothing to eat the whole day. We went for the debate that happened afterwards. You can read more about it on Janne’s blog.

After the debate, when people started to leave, there was a final surprise for the audience. Eric fired up his Bluetooth-orchestra and sand his climate change / thorium –aria for them, and got a cheering ovation. He is great. We, of course, handed our book to everyone there.


Robert, liking our book.

Any sensible person would have called it a day and go to sleep. But I guess sensible was not an adjective available for us at that time. So off we went for a beer (and ice cream) with the gang (Robert, Tom, Kirsty, Eric and few others). It was so much fun, and even at those hours, I managed to learn a lot, this time about fusion.

It was a hell of a day, of which I managed to catch just some highlights. In addition, we chatted up with people from American Nuclear Society, got our books displayed at the Blue Zone as well (where we do not have accreditation), met people from Terrestial Energy and the Department Of Energy, being very interested in our book… You get the picture.






Robert and Tom having a midnight-snack.


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