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Europe’s Nuclear Power Divide

Climate activists oppose its use even as alternatives lead to increased emissions and rising electricity prices.

Last week was a big week for the Fridays For Future, the environmentalist group inspired by Greta Thunberg. Thunberg spoke at a large rally in Berlin on Friday before hundreds of thousands of followers, launching what seems to be the big comeback for the climate-action movement in Europe following months of restrictions on large gatherings due to the pandemic. In 2019, about 6 million protesters had joined the movement on the streets, demanding more radical policy changes to tackle climate change. “We must not give up, there is no going back now,” said Thunberg, appealing to her supporters to keep pressure on European governments.  

But one incident from the demonstration illustrates a large divide in Europe over how to achieve the goals of the environmental movement. A pro-nuclear environmentalist was violently attacked by the surrounding crowd, having her sign removed and destroyed. Even as climate activists push to eliminate carbon-based fossil fuels, many in the movement remain opposed to nuclear power. 

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