The Mahurangi Magazine

Concerned conservation scientists send short open letter to environmentalists

by | 15 Dec 2014 | Nuclear power | 2 comments

Professor Corey J A Bradshaw
Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change
The Environment Institute
University of Adelaide Australia
Professor Barry W Brook
Chair of Environmental Sustainability
University of Tasmania Australia
Professor Corey Bradshaw

Professor Corey Bradshaw: Has published more than 115 scientific papers based on work using mathematical models and biological data to understand how species respond to environmental factors including habitat loss, fragmentation, anthropogenic global warming, over-exploitation, and invasive species. image University of South Australia

As conservation scientists concerned with global depletion of biodiversity and the degradation of the human life-support system this entails, we, the co-signed, support the broad conclusions drawn in the article Key Role for Nuclear Energy in Global Biodiversity Conservation published in Conservation Biology (Brook and Bradshaw, 2014).

Brook and Bradshaw argue that the full gamut of electricity-generation sources—including nuclear power—must be deployed to replace the burning of fossil fuels, if we are to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change. They provide strong evidence for the need to accept a substantial role for advanced nuclear power systems with complete fuel recycling—as part of a range of sustainable energy technologies that also includes appropriate use of renewables, energy storage and energy efficiency. This multi-pronged strategy for sustainable energy could also be more cost-effective and spare more land for biodiversity, as well as reduce non-carbon pollution (aerosols, heavy metals).

Given the historical antagonism towards nuclear energy amongst the environmental community, we accept that this stands as a controversial position. However, much as leading climate scientists have recently advocated the development of safe, next-generation nuclear energy systems to combat global climate change (Caldeira et al. 2013), we entreat the conservation and environmental community to weigh up the pros and cons of different energy sources using objective evidence and pragmatic trade-offs, rather than simply relying on idealistic perceptions of what is ‘green’.

Professor Barry Brook

Professor Barry Brook: Leading environmental scientist has published three books, 240 refereed scientific papers, is an ISI highly cited researcher, and regularly writes popular articles for the media. He received the Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal and was awarded the 2010 Community Science Educator of the Year for his public outreach activities. His research interests are anthropogenic global warming impacts, species extinctions, simulation and statistical modelling, energy systems analysis (with a focus on modelling future nuclear and large-scale renewable energy scenarios), and synergistic human impacts on the biosphere. image frompro.com

Although renewable energy sources like wind and solar will likely make increasing contributions to future energy production, these technology options face real-world problems of scalability, cost, material and land use, meaning that it is too risky to rely on them as the only alternatives to fossil fuels. Nuclear power—being by far the most compact and energy-dense of sources—could also make a major, and perhaps leading, contribution.

As scientists, we declare that an evidence-based approach to future energy production is an essential component of securing biodiversity’s future and cannot be ignored.

It is time that conservationists make their voices heard in this policy arena.

Signatories

Listed alphabetically

Professor Andrew Balmford, Professor of Conservation Science, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. apb12@cam.ac.uk

Professor Andrew J. Beattie, Emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Australia. abeattie@bio.mq.edu.au

Assistant Professor David P. Bickford, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore. dbsbdp@nus.edu.sg

Professor Tim M. Blackburn, Professor of Invasion Biology, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, University College London, United Kingdom. t.blackburn@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Daniel T. Blumstein, Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Los Angeles, USA. marmots@ucla.edu

Professor Luigi Boitani, Dipartimento di Biologia, e Biotecnologie Charles Darwin, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy. luigi.boitani@uniroma1.it

Professor Mark S. Boyce, Professor and Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada. boyce@ualberta.ca

Professor David M.J.S. Bowman, Professor of Environmental Change Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Australia. david.bowman@utas.edu.au

Professor Scott P. Carroll, Institute for Contemporary Evolution and Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California Davis, USA. spcarroll@ucdavis.edu

Associate Professor Phillip Cassey, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Australia.

Professor Stuart Chapin III, Professor Emeritus of Ecology, Department of Biology and Wildlife, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA. terry.chapin@alaska.edu

Professor David Choquenot, Director, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Australia. david.choquenot@canberra.edu.au Dr Ben Collen, Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, University College London, United Kingdom. b.collen@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Richard T. Corlett, Director, Centre for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. corlett@xtbg.org.cn

Dr Franck Courchamp, Director of Research, Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution – UMR CNRS, Member of the European Academy of Sciences, Université Paris-Sud, France. franck.courchamp@u-psud.fr

Professor Chris B. Daniels, Director, Barbara Hardy Institute, University of South Australia, Australia. chris.daniels@unisa.edu.au

Professor Chris Dickman, Professor of Ecology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia. chris.dickman@sydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Don Driscoll, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, The Australian National University, Australia. don.driscoll@anu.edu.au

Professor David Dudgeon, Chair Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China. ddudgeon@hku.hk

Associate Professor Erle C. Ellis, Geography and Environmental Systems, University of Maryland, USA. ece@umbc.edu

Dr Damien A. Fordham, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Australia. damien.fordham@adelaide.edu.au

Dr Eddie Game, Senior Scientist, The Nature Conservancy Worldwide Office, Australia. egame@tnc.org

Professor Kevin J. Gaston, Professor of Biodiversity and Conservation, Director, Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, United Kingdom. k.j.gaston@exeter.ac.uk

Professor Dr Jaboury Ghazoul, Professor of Ecosystem Management, ETH Zūrich, Institute for Terrestrial Ecosystems, Switzerland. jaboury.ghazoul@env.ethz.ch

Professor Robert G. Harcourt, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Australia. robert.harcourt@mq.edu.au

Professor Susan P. Harrison, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California Davis, USA. spharrison@ucdavis.edu

Professor Fangliang He, Canada Research Chair in Biodiversity and Landscape Modelling, Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Canada and State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol and School of Life Sciences, Sun-yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China. fhe@ualberta.ca

Professor Mark A. Hindell, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia. mark.hindell@utas.edu.au

Professor Richard J. Hobbs, School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, Australia. richard.hobbs@uwa.edu.au

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Professor and Director, Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland, Australia. oveh@uq.edu.au

Professor Marcel Holyoak, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, USA. maholyoak@ucdavis.edu

Professor Lesley Hughes, Distinguished Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Australia. lesley.hughes@mq.edu.au

Professor Christopher N. Johnson, Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Australia. c.n.johnson@utas.edu.au

Dr Julia P.G. Jones, Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology, School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, United Kingdom. julia.jones@bangor.ac.uk

Professor Kate E. Jones, Biodiversity Modelling Research Group, University College London, United Kingdom. kate.e.jones@ucl.ac.uk

Dr Menna E. Jones, Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Australia. menna.jones@utas.edu.au

Dr Lucas Joppa, Conservation Biologist, United Kingdom. lujoppa@microsoft.com

Associate Professor Lian Pin Koh, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Australia. lianpin.koh@adelaide.edu.au

Professor Charles J. Krebs, Emeritus, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Canada. krebs@zoology.ubc.ca

Dr Robert C. Lacy, Conservation Biologist, USA. rlacy@ix.netcom.com

Associate Professor Susan Laurance, Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Studies, James Cook University, Australia. susan.laurance@jcu.edu.au

Professor William F. Laurance, Distinguished Research Professor and Australian Laureate, Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation, Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Australia. bill.laurance@jcu.edu.au

Professor Peter Ng Kee Lin, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore. dbsngkl@nus.edu.sg

Professor Thomas E. Lovejoy, Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and University Professor in the Environmental Science and Policy department, George Mason University, USA. tlovejoy@unfoundation.org

Dr Antony J Lynam, Global Conservation Programs, Wildlife Conservation Society, USA. tlynam@wcs.org

Professor Anson W. Mackay, Department of Geography, University College London, United Kingdom. ans.mackay@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Helene D. Marsh, College of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research, James Cook University, Australia. helene.marsh@jcu.edu.au

Professor Michelle Marvier, Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University, USA. mmarvier@scu.edu

Professor Lord Robert M. May of Oxford OM AC Kt FRS, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. robert.may@zoo.ox.ac.uk

Dr Margaret M. Mayfield, Director, The Ecology Centre, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia. m.mayfield@uq.edu.au

Dr Clive R. McMahon, Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia. clive.mcmahon@utas.edu.au

Dr Mark Meekan, Marine Biologist, Australia. m.meekan@aims.gov.au

Dr Erik Meijaard, Borneo Futures Project, People and Nature Consulting, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. emeijaard@gmail.com

Professor Scott Mills, Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program in Global Environmental Change, North Carolina State University, USA. lsmills@ncsu.edu

Professor Atte Moilanen, Research Director, Conservation Decision Analysis, University of Helsinki, Finland. atte.moilanen@helsinki.fi

Professor Craig Moritz, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Australia. craig.moritz@anu.edu.au

Dr Robin Naidoo, Adjunct Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability University of British Columbia, Canada. robin.naidoo@wwfus.org

Professor Reed F. Noss, Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor, University of Central Florida, USA. reed.noss@ucf.edu

Associate Professor Julian D. Olden, Freshwater Ecology and Conservation Lab, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, USA. olden@uw.edu

Professor Maharaj Pandit, Professor and Head, Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi, India. mkpandit@cismhe.org

Professor Kenneth H. Pollock, Professor of Applied Ecology, Biomathematics and Statistics, Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, USA. pollock@ncsu.edu

Professor Hugh P. Possingham, School of Biological Science and School of Maths and Physics, The University of Queensland, Australia. h.possingham@uq.edu.au

Professor Peter H. Raven, George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden, Washington University in St. Louis, USA. peter.raven@mobot.org

Professor David M. Richardson, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. rich@sun.ac.za

Dr Euan G. Ritchie, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Australia. e.ritchie@deakin.edu.au

Professor Terry L. Root, Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, USA. troot@stanford.edu

Dr Çagan H. Sekercioglu, Assistant Professor, Biology, University of Utah, USA and Doçent 2010, Biology/Ecology, Inter-university Council (UAK) of Turkey. c.s@utah.edu

Associate Professor Douglas Sheil, Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway. douglas.sheil@nmbu.no

Professor Richard Shine AM FAA, Professor in Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia. rick.shine@sydney.edu.au

Professor William J. Sutherland, Miriam Rothschild Professor of Conservation Biology, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. w.sutherland@zoo.cam.ac.uk

Professor Chris D. Thomas, FRS, Department of Biology, University of York, United Kingdom. chris.thomas@york.ac.uk

Professor Ross M. Thompson, Chair of Water Science, Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Australia. ross.thompson@canberra.edu.au

Professor Ian G. Warkentin, Environmental Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. ian.warkentin@grenfell.mun.ca

Professor Stephen E. Williams, Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Australia. stephen.williams@jcu.edu.au

Professor Kirk O. Winemiller, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and Interdisciplinary Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Texas A&M University, USA. k-winemiller@tamu.edu

Note: Affiliations of signatories are for identification purposes, and do not imply that their organizations have necessarily endorsed this letter.

References

Brook, B. W., and C. J. A. Bradshaw. 2014. Key role for nuclear energy in global biodiversity conservation. Conservation Biology doi:10.1111/cobi.12433.

Caldeira, K., K., Emmanuel, J. Hansen, and T. Wigley. 2013. An Open Letter to those influencing environmental policy but opposed to nuclear power. CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter (Accessed 14 March 2014).

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