‘Pragmatic’ environmentalists pin hopes on a technological fix

by Graham Lloyd

An international group of scientists from some of the world’s leading institutions has declared a new era of environmentalism that is pro-human and pro-nature, and says better use of technology is the answer to conserving the wild world.

The group, which sees nuclear power as a key to tackling climate change and future sustainability, says “old-style” environmental groups must learn the lesson of why developing nations are looking to China to fund future coal-fired power generation.

International support for the creation of a China-led regional infrastructure bank has been widely viewed as a way for regional economies to avoid US restrictions on lending to new coal plants by established bodies such as the World Bank.

The US has been isolated on the China bank initiative, which has the support of Australia and other traditional US allies.

A provocative “Ecomodernist Manifesto” signed by respected scientists and environmentalists from the US, Britain, India and Australia says “plentiful access to modern energy is an essential prerequisite for human development and for decoupling development from nature”.

Barry Brook, professor of envir­onmental sustainability at the University of Tasmania, said: “China and other developing countries need cheap and concentrated energy and today that comes from coal and gas.

“We can’t ignore that reality.”

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