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03 / 06 / 2004
Gorbachev warns that closing down nuclear plants would cause chaos

Toyota vice-president encourages using hydrogen as a the main alternative to gas
The oil crisis was the main theme of the press conference held to present the “Energy and Sustainable Development” dialogue held at Forum Barcelona 2004. Green Cross International president, Mikhail Gorbachev, and members, Mark Petersen and Ángel Luís del Castillo, as well as Akihito Sato, vice-president of Toyota Motors Corporation took part in the event.

While at the Forum, former USSR president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mikhail Gorbachev, reiterated that he is in favor of using nuclear energy and warned of the chaotic situation that would result from closing down nuclear power plants. “I was a witness to the Chernobyl accident, but despite the dangers, I do not agree with those who argue against nuclear energy. Closing down the plants would reap havoc. How would countries like Japan and France survive without nuclear energy?”, said the “perestroika” pioneer.

Gorbachev described nuclear energy as “a very important source of energy” and calls for measures to ensure that plants are safe and well-protected, while also expressing disappointment about the current passiveness regarding the search for funding to develop alternative energies. “But the funding is found for wars”, he remarked sarcastically. Gorbachev also explained that the fact that he defends nuclear energy does not mean he is not sensitive to environmental issues and mentioned that renowned “green” British leaders agree with him on this matter.

As part of the “Energy and Sustainable Development” dialogue held at Forum Barcelona 2004, Gorbachev called for “international reflection” in the light of rise in oil prices and the “very negative” impact this will have on the world’s economies. “The US made a mistake by going to war in Iraq: it has affected oil production and has made things worse. We need to find alternative energies. We cannot continue to burn so much oil because we only have enough reserves for another 40 years”, warned Gorbachev.

Hydrogen-Powered Cars
Akihito Sato, vice-president of the multinational Toyota Motors Corporation, discussed the problem of finding alternative energies and stated that he was in favor of using hydrogen. “It could be a definitive alternative because it can be produced from many different sources”, he mentioned. Sato stated that although oil is a very efficient source of energy, it is also very limited. He also commented on the fact that there is research being done in the are of synthetic fuel and biofuel.

Sato mentioned that car manufacturers have a major responsibility in applying ecological technologies and expressed his disappointment about the high carbon dioxide emission generated by producing so-called “sustainable vehicles” that run on hydrogen. “We need to come up with less-polluting alternative technologies. Productivity must be associated with cutting energy consumption down to a minimum,” said Sato as an example of the commitment multinationals should make to sustainability.

Renewable Energies
Mark Petersen, of Green Cross International, called for de-centralized solution for the two billion people without access to energy. He called for more state aid and more support from companies to promote renewable energies. Angel Luís del Castillo, also a representative of Green Cross, stated that the organization centers its activity in Spain on international co-operation projects and public awareness campaigns.

More information about Energy and Sustainable Development