Greenpeace, Monbiot to debate nuclear future at Chemistry Centre

07 July 2011

Greenpeace UK's chief scientist and director of policy, Douglas Parr, will this week be one of four high-profile debaters at an event staged by the Royal Society of Chemistry to weigh the future need for nuclear power in Britain.

The debate will also feature contributions by George Monbiot, Malcolm Grimston and Roget Levett.

Karl Rose, director of policies and scenarios at the World Energy Council, has agreed to chair the session at The Chemistry Centre, Piccadilly, which has become a focus for discussion of major scientific issues affecting the country and the wider world.

The motion for the debate will be: "New carbon targets requires reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 50% for 2030. This house believes that it will be impossible to meet the emissions reductions required to fulfil these obligations without the use of nuclear power."

The RSC recently warned the Government not to shut down the country's entire nuclear industry as Germany plans to, in the wake of the Japanese nuclear incident. 

The 47,500 member society says that there has to be a balance of energy sources, including nuclear, to meet the demands of the coming decades.

To give some perspective on the challenge, the RSC estimates that for wind turbines to replace nuclear plants at current levels of output the nation would have to sacrifice land for wind farms the size of Oxfordshire and Derbyshire combined or 750,000 football pitches.

Speaking for the motion will be George Monbiot and Malcolm Grimston 

George Monbiot

George Monbiot is the author of the best selling books Heat: how to stop the planet burning; The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain; as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. He is a freelance journalist and writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper

Malcolm Grimston

Educated at Scarborough College and Magdalene, Cambridge, Malcolm Grimston graduated in 1979 having read Natural Sciences and specialised in psychology. Malcolm taught chemistry before joining the Atomic Energy Authority in 1987. In 1995 he joined Imperial College as a Senior Research Fellow and in 1999 became a Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House, where he is now an Associate Fellow, conducting an investigation into the future of civil nuclear energy. He is a regular media contributor on energy and nuclear matters.

Speaking against the motion will be Dr Douglas Parr and Roger Levett

Dr Douglas Parr

Douglas Parr is Chief Scientist and Policy Director at Greenpeace UK. Currently working on climate change policy in the power, heat and transport sectors, he has previously worked on a number of issues including GM crops, chemicals policy, green refrigeration, marine conservation, biofuels and nuclear power. He obtained a D.Phil in Atmospheric Chemistry from Oxford University in 1991. 

Roger Levett

Roger Levett is a partner in Levett-Therivel Sustainability Consultants. Roger's publications include A Better Choice of Choice, which argues that we can reconcile quality of life and environmental sustainability by abandoning consumer choice as a motor of public policy.  He drafted the Local Government Association's energy manifesto and led the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Boris Johnson's energy strategy, among other strategic plans.  He is currently adviser to the Jersey Parliament's scrutiny of energy policy.

Contact and Further Information

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