Last Updated on October 11, 2022
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg seemingly moderated her stance on nuclear energy as Europe’s energy woes continue. Thunberg, a vocal opponent of nuclear energy as well as fossil fuels, admitted that shutting down Germany’s nuclear power plants would be “a mistake” during a recent interview on a German news program.
German TV interview with climate activist @GretaThunberg
Are the nuclear power plants the better choice for the time being now?
"If we have them already running, I feel that it's a mistake to close them down in order to focus on coal.”#EnergyCrisis pic.twitter.com/r0Na2P1CfO
— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) October 11, 2022
Thunberg was asked whether nuclear power provides a viable alternative as Germany struggles to cope with the loss of Russian energy. “If we have them already running, I feel that it’s a mistake to close them down in order to focus on coal,” Thunberg said.
Prior to the war in Ukraine, Germany was receiving 31% of its crude oil imports from Russia.
Thunberg gained notoriety in 2018 when she protested in favor of green energy outside the parliament building in her native Sweden. She has since become a darling of the western establishment, as she has spoken at numerous large forums, including in front of the United Nations General Assembly. She has also graced the cover of Time magazine.
Nuclear energy has been seen by many as a viable compromise between those on the right and left. Those on the right often support nuclear as a safe, cost-effective solution to rising energy prices. Many, though not all, on the left see nuclear power as a clean source of energy that can be part of the fight against man-made climate change. Thunberg and many other far leftists oppose nuclear energy, often citing outdated claims about the safety of nuclear power.
Currently, nuclear power accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s electricity. According to ourworldindata.org, nuclear power accounts for less greenhouse gas emissions than solar and wind energy. Safety concerns from nuclear energy are largely unwarranted, as nuclear power has led to a lower death rate than wind and hydroelectric power, and that number even accounts for the infamous Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents.
It is also worth noting that past nuclear disasters have occurred on older plants that did not have the luxury of modern nuclear technology, as today’s nuclear plants are largely considered to be second and third generation plants.
As the energy situation in many European countries has become dire as winter approaches, Thunberg has given her tepid approval to nuclear energy, arguing that it is still better than coal if not ideal by her standards.
Thunberg and her biggest supporters have used apocalyptic rhetoric when advocating for green energy, accusing those who have disagreed with her stances of betraying young people.
It is a year since Greta Thunberg delivered this speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.
What have you done to make a change? pic.twitter.com/wHOTceLR0g
— One World (@oneworlder) September 23, 2020