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Day 4 – COP23 in Bonn – When everything went Bananas…

17 marraskuun, 2017

Day 4 was a bit calmer. I was manning the Nuclear for Climate booth, giving out Climate Gamble books, Climate Leadership Reports and other materials, and having some nice discussions with people who wanted to know more about nuclear power’s role in our climate fight. Perhaps the most striking observation was that there were many people, especially from developing countries, who did not even know that one could produce energy with nuclear power. They were only aware of nuclear weapons. In general, they were very interested when we presented the potential benefits of nuclear power as an energy source as well. We really, really, need to get out there and tell people this stuff.

Three activists from Generation Atomic attended a side-event on 100% Renewable Energy, taking place a few blocks from the COP.  They carried with them the sharpest weapons in a war of ideas – well cited facts on a printed piece of paper, presented with a smile.

Eric Meyer, Sam Brewer, and Grant Hasbrouck went from table to table during a networking hour, presenting the facts that nuclear power has proven to be the fastest decarbonization tool, while requiring the least mining and land footprint of any zero-carbon source.

The response varied from genuine interest and inquiry, to curt rejection, to an open endorsement of burning fossil fuels and conceding climate change, as long as we phase out nuclear. Notably, one Danish anti-nuclear campaigner we met early this week (of whom I wrote in my Day 1 -piece) was there, and had further evolved on his position towards nuclear, identifying it as the ideal backup technology to a wind build-out. We continue to make progress, one conversation at a time.

Me and Tay (From GenA as well) also ran around Bonn, trying to secure a permission for a side event that our group would like to organize on Monday, when the UNEP Sustainable innovations forum, from which the nuclear industry was kicked out from, starts. They eventually ended up denying us the permission.

The evening was spent in one of the weirdest way I have ever spent an evening: By sticking up stickers on Bananas. Read more on Day 5!

A normal (radioactive) banana on the front and a normal (radioactive) Ben Heard on the back, who had arrived in Bonn a couple hours before after almost 30 hours of travel (giving him a radiation dose equivalent to eating hundreds of bananas). Sleeping next to Ben (or anyone else) would give you about half a banana worth of radiation per year. 

Ps. I have now returned home safely and did not have time to finish and post this earlier. A lot has happened since I left Bonn so stay tuned…

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