Former Secretary General of the OECD tells INLA that he is pessimistic about
controlling green house gases emissions and a combination of nuclear energy
and geo engineering may be the answer

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

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.

SOURCE Heenan Blaikie

For further information: For further information: Karyn McLean, Marketing and communications, Heenan Blaikie, T (416) 643-6863, F (416) 360-8425,

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