Extinction Rebellion Communication Head Quits After Researching Nuclear Power
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Zion Lights, who featured in WUWT last October when BBC Andrew Neil shredded her defence of Extinction Rebellion on national TV, has quit Extinction Rebellion and defected to the pro-nuclear Environmental Progress group.
Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Zion Lights quits green movement to become lobbyist for nuclear power saying: ‘I changed my mind’
- Zion, 36, dramatically quit the group to join pro-nuclear Environmental Progress
- Miss Lights said she felt she had been duped by anti-nuke activists around her
- Now she believes the energy source is the future to save the planet
- She became worried about the environment after seeing an advert as a child
PUBLISHED: 01:11 AEST, 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 01:23 AEST, 26 June 2020
Extinction Rebellion’s spokeswoman has quit the protest group to become a nuclear power campaigner.
Mother-of-two Zion said: ‘The facts didn’t really change, but once I understood them I did change my mind.’
I’m really impressed at Zion’s courage. It takes a lot of guts to admit you made a mistake, after working hard for the wrong team.
Environmental Progress was founded by Michael Shellenberger, a high profile pro-nuclear environmental campaigner whose no nonsense pragmatic views are frequently praised by WUWT.
Michael Shellenberger wrote the following about Zion leaving XR;
Why Climate Activists Will Go Nuclear—Or Go Extinct
Published on June 25, 2020
Lights told me she changed her mind after a scientist told her nuclear energy was, in fact, safer than other energy sources. “I said, ‘That’s not what I’ve been told.’ And he said, ‘Don’t just listen to what people tell you.’ And so I looked it up and he was right. The data shows it is safe. And I realized solar panels and batteries are not going to meet demand. The more I read the more I realized, ‘Oh no! These things I believed aren’t true!’”
“I then—perhaps somewhat naively—went to people thinking they’d want to know the truth, and then realizing that they don’t. And that’s always difficult. I really struggled to get Greenpeace to listen to the evidence. At times, they have made things up, disingenuously, and they don’t care! It was like dealing with anti-vaxxers,” she said with a rueful laugh. “I couldn’t deal with it. It was like identity politics. I got fed up.”
Lights said she pushed back against other Extinction Rebellion activists who wanted to promote renewables and criticize nuclear. “When they’re pushing solar, or battery storage, and I say to them ‘I heard that 10 years ago! We have nuclear! We have an option! And what we’ve done is descale all of that and shut it down and look at Germany when they did that! Their emissions went up!’”
Zion Lights has appealed to other environmentalists to embrace nuclear power;
A message from a former Extinction Rebellion activist: Fellow environmentalists, join me in embracing nuclear power
Thursday 25 June 2020 6:04 am
Zion Lights is director of Environmental Progress UK. She was formerly the editor of The Hourglass newspaper
As the lockdown measures we have become so familiar with over the past three months are slowly eased, discussions are turning to how to move forward with recovering from the economic hit of Covid-19 in a way that also addresses climate change.
I have a long history of campaigning on environmental issues, most recently as a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion UK and the founder of its climate reporting newspaper The Hourglass.
Now, I have quit the organisation to take up a position as a campaigner for nuclear power.
For many years I was skeptical of nuclear power. Surrounded by anti-nuclear activists, I had allowed fear of radiation, nuclear waste and weapons of mass destruction to creep into my subconscious. When a friend sent me a scientific paper on the actual impacts, including the (very small number of) total deaths from radiation at Chernobyl and Fukushima, I realised I had been duped into anti-science sentiment all this time.
Reading up on safety, I found that the nuclear accidents that have occurred in my lifetime were due to unusual and extreme circumstances, or human errors. Chernobyl, for example, occurred due to the use of a flawed reactor design which caused a power surge and explosion at one of the reactors, and Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi disaster was triggered by the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
However, even when including these disastrous events, scientific research has found that nuclear power is still safer than fossil fuels, once air pollution, accidents (from energy extraction) and greenhouse gas emissions are taken into account.
What of renewable alternatives? Alongside my fellow activists, I had been singing the praises of renewable energy for years. But while renewables can and should be part of the mix in supplying energy to the UK, the technology simply doesn’t stretch to powering our country 24/7.
For every courageous green like Zion Lights, no doubt there are thousands of greens who choose to stay silent. But if you are a green, and you truly believe CO2 is a major threat to the planet, the time for silence has past.
I’m not saying every climate skeptic is pro-nuclear, but many of us are. If you really want to end decades of pointless policy paralysis, deadlock and stalemate, please consider following Zion Lights and Michael Shellenberger’s lead.
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