Faith And (Nuclear) Power – CEL Report

FAITH AND POWER: The Case for a Low Consumption, Non Nuclear Energy Strategy is CEL’s Energy Paper:

It has not been superceded, and is worth downloading.

These are crucial times in the nuclear energy debate;

Only ten days ago (i.e. in beginning of February 2013) – a Lib Dem backbencher was pushing the case against subsidising nuclear power (which the new carbon price floor threatens to do).

The CEL Report was written in March 2006 in response to an invitation from Government for greater dialogue with representatives of faith communities in order to improve public policy. We have sought an energy strategy that reflects love of the Creator, expresses care for the whole creation, and is informed by Christian principles of wise stewardship, peacemaking, justice, loving our neighbours and moderation in consumption.

Download the report here (pdf): Faith and Power

Read an online summary of the report here (link will be added shortly)

Read the original press release below:


CEL Press Release:

24 th March 2006



Church leaders have backed a new report that describes a low consumption, non-nuclear, energy strategy as a “moral imperative.” The report, entitled Faith and Power , urges an energy strategy informed by Christian principles of wise stewardship, peacemaking, justice, love for neighbours and moderation in consumption.

Launched on 24 March by leading church-based environmental organisation Christian Ecology Link, the report states that these principles

  • “require much greater attention to promoting energy efficiency and restraining consumer demand,
  • a bold switch from using fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy
  • and the phasing out of nuclear reactors in electricity generation.”

The Bishop of Liverpool, Rt Rev James Jones, commented:

“Christian Ecology Link’s paper Faith and Power comes to conclusions similar to those of the Sustainable Development Commission which I welcome. What we lack is the commercial leadership to invest in renewable sources of power and the political leadership to reduce our energy consumption.

People of faith and goodwill must work together to educate and inspire the public to use their own power as consumers and citizens to ensure the future health and safety of the planet.”

Other Church of England bishops are known to be sympathetic to the report’s conclusions.

Fr Sean McDonagh, a widely respected Catholic priest and author of several books on environmental issues, voiced his support:

“This document presents a very convincing case. The study is grounded in an authentic understanding of Christian discipleship in terms of the contemporary challenge to love God, our neighbour and God’s creation, which is now deeply wounded. It calls all of us to a change of heart in the way we view and use energy.”

The report was also welcomed by Elaine Storkey, a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and President of TEAR Fund, who highlighted the report’s call for restraint in energy consumption and commented:

“The report shows we need to be meek to inherit a good earth.”

The report responds to an invitation from Government for greater dialogue with representatives of faith communities. It says that energy strategy should be characterised by efficiency, conservation and restraint and welcomes newly emerging decentralised renewable energy supply options. While recognising that Christians will disagree on the detail of public policy, the report argues that such a strategy is the most appropriate in order to take proper care of God’s creation:

“The high consumption, nuclear path may appear easier for government to pursue in the short term, but we believe that there is a moral duty to follow a more challenging and more sustainable option.

We conclude that substantially enhanced Government support for efficient, less profligate energy consumption and investment in renewable sources of energy supply rather than nuclear power is a moral imperative.”

Faith and Power is available, price £3, from Christian Ecology Link, 10 Beech Hall Road, London E4 9NX

Editor’s notes:

(1) References above are to Sustainable Development Commission (2006) The Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon Economy and Home Office (2004) Working Together: Co-operation between Government and Faith Communities, Home Office Faith Communities Unit.

(3) The report was written on behalf of Christian Ecology Link by Dr Tim Cooper, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Consumption (in 2006), Sheffield Hallam University .



Author: | Date: 18 February, 2013 | Category: Energy Media Release | Comments: 3

Comments on "Faith And (Nuclear) Power – CEL Report"

Davey Boon:

November 11, 2014

I agree; we need to do absolutely everything within our powers to stop carbon emissions. We can not be picky about how we are going to achieve our targets!

God gave us sun and wind & we won’t be nuked! - SAFCEI:

November 4, 2014

[…] Faith And (Nuclear) Power – Christian Ecology Link Report […]


February 19, 2013

You state that the report has not been superceded - it may be that you have not revised and reissued it, however much has changed over the seven years since 2006 which means that it has been overtaken by events. 1) The report is based on a target reduction of 60% in emissions by 2050. The target adopted by the government is 80%. There is a substantial body of opinion that even this is not sufficient to give a high enough probability of avoiding dangerous climate change. Many call for complete decarbonsiation of electricity generation by 2030. 2) The report places emphasis on demand reduction but recognises that even to achieve the target of 60% reduction the effort required would be substantial. The challenge of achieving >80% reduction would be even greater and therefore the report needs to be updated to provide evidence that this is achievable with a sufficiently high confidence level. 3) The report would benefit from revision to include reference to more recent information on the relative costs and carbon emissions from different means of generating electricity 4) It would be useful to update to refer to Prof Mackay's book "Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air and the government's pathways to 2050 spreadsheet and the Zero Carbon Britain report to enable the reader to better evaluate the claims in the report and come to an informed view as to whether the strategy proposed is viable. 5) Rather than merely argue against nuclear power more information should be given regarding the renewable energy mix that CEL would support - how much on-shore wind and how much energy crops in particular. Where does CEL stand on a Severn Barrage My own view is that in addition to demand reduction we need to proceed in parallel with the deployment of both nuclear and renewables as rapidly as possible in order to decarbonsie our electricity generation as rapidly as possible. To see the magnitude of the challenge facing us it is worth viewing the lecture given by Kevin Anderson to the Cabot Institute at Bristol University recently (there is a link on the Cabot Institute website).

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