TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - In a keynote address before the 2009 Congress of the International Nuclear Lawyers Association, the Honourable Donald J. Johnston, former Secretary General of the OECD, expressed pessimism about the likelihood of any enforceable agreements being reached at the upcoming Copenhagen Conference on climate change. Citing Lewis Mumford as being "optimistic about the possibilities, but pessimistic about the probabilities," Johnston reminded the audience of the concerns expressed about CO2 emissions for over 100 years.
"...Declarations of good intentions will do nothing to seriously confront
global environmental problems which lie ahead unless extraordinary
actions are taken.... The world is caught in a dilemma ... trying to
arrest or slow down greenhouse gas emissions, especially CO2 which stays
in the atmosphere for up to 100 years, while trying to develop other
renewable energy sources and at the same time meeting the energy needs of
billions of people who have been living in poverty in the developing
world and who have access to ample supplies of fossil fuels, especially
coal, needed for economic development and the reduction of unimaginable
He sees nuclear energy and perhaps fusion in the longer term as the answer
to global base load energy needs.
"Had the world embraced nuclear energy as a source of electrification as
France did, where over 80% of electricity is nuclear, we would not be
faced with global warming and climate change today. Those who opposed
nuclear and used scare tactics to frighten the public and politicians
have much to account for."
While lauding the efforts of those trying to address global warming through various alternative energy options as well as conservation and efficiency, he is convinced it will not be enough and will be too late.
While nuclear energy is revived after years of neglect in many countries, Johnston believes that geo engineering of the atmosphere will be the technology of last resort, both to protect the earth's biosphere and to provide time for other technologies, especially nuclear, to come on stream.
The full text of the speech can be read at http://www.heenanblaikie.com/en/nouvelles/pdf/Johnston_Speech_20091013.pdf
About the Honourable Donald J. Johnston
The Honourable Donald J. Johnston, P.C., O.C., Q.C., has a long and prestigious career in the private and public sectors. He served as Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) between 1996 and 2006, the first non-European to hold the post. He was the MP for Westmount from 1978-1988, and held several key ministerial posts, including President of the Treasury Board, Minister for Science and Technology, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. A lawyer by training, Mr. Johnston is a founding partner of the national law firm Heenan Blaikie, which he co-founded in 1973 in Montreal. He returned to the firm as Counsel in 2006 after completing his second term at the OECD.
About Heenan Blaikie LLP
Heenan Blaikie LLP is a national law firm with more than 500 lawyers and professionals. The firm has 9 offices in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia and representative offices in Paris and Singapore. The firm's lawyers are recognized leaders in business law, labour and employment law, litigation, intellectual property, tax and entertainment law.
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