June 1, 2017
Honorable President Donald Trump, the United States of America
Honorable President-Elect Moon Jae-in, the Republic of Korea
Honorable Chairman Kim Jong-un, the People’s Republic of Korea
Dear President Donald Trump, President-Elect Moon Jae-in, and Chairman Kim Jong-un,
We are writing as concerned citizens of the world to express our grave concern over the deterioration of relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and to urge the use of nuclear energy as a way to achieve peace, prosperity and environmental protection for all three nations.
Nuclear power was a key element of the Agreed Framework, which was negotiated in 1994 and from which the DPRK withdrew in 2003.
Under a new framework, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) would help the DPRK to develop nuclear power for electrical generation in exchange for the DPRK accepting United Nations inspectors, ending its missile tests and limiting its nuclear arsenal. And all three nations would agree not to attack or invade each other.
A new peace agreement is in the security, economic and environmental interests of all three nations. The DPRK needs affordable electricity to develop economically, while the ROK is a global leader in building affordable nuclear power plants.
Such an approach will prevent war and save lives. Nuclear energy has already saved an estimated 1.8 million lives by eliminating harmful pollution from fossil fuel power plants. It could save more in South Korea, which is suffering from severe air pollution. And nuclear energy is essential to moving the planet away from fossil fuels, which are fueling catastrophic climate change.
President Trump has said he would meet with Chairman Kim under the right circumstances. Last month’s election of President Moon, who campaigned for a negotiated peace, provides those circumstances.
All three nations will need to make compromises. The United States must pledge not to attack the DPRK and to gradually lift sanctions. The DPRK must agree to stop testing its missiles and increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal. And the ROK must stop the nuclear phase-out effort currently underway there and support plans for civilian nuclear power development in DPRK.
Nuclear energy is a proven solution to security, economic and environmental challenges. The US and Russia reduced the number of operational warheads from 30,000 to 1,500, in part by using the weapons uranium as fuel in nuclear power plants. The ROK’s prosperity rests in large measure on its nuclear-power program. And only nuclear energy is capable of replacing fossil fuels on a one-to-one basis.
Nuclear can play that role once again. We encourage all three countries to use atoms for peace, not for war.
James Hansen, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions Program, Columbia University, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize recipient, author of Nuclear Renewal and The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Nobuo Tanaka, Chairman, Sasakawa Peace Foundation; Former Executive Director, International Energy Agency
Robert Stone, filmmaker, “Pandora’s Promise”
John Asafu-Adjaye, PhD, Senior Fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana, Associate Professor of Economics, The University of Queensland, Australia
Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World
Chris Dickman, Conservation Scientist, University of Sydney
David Dudgeon, Chair of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, China
Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Christopher Foreman, author of The Promise & Peril of Environmental Justice, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
Kirsty Gogan, Executive Director, Energy for Humanity
Mel Guymon, Guymon Family Foundation
Steven Hayward, Senior Resident Scholar, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
Sunjoy Joshi, Director, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi, India
Steve Kirsch, CEO, Token
Joe Lassiter, Professor, Harvard Business School
John Lavine, Professor and Medill Dean Emeritus, Northwestern University
David Lea, Professor, Earth Science, University of California
Martin Lewis, Department of Geography, Stanford University
Steve McCormick, Former CEO, The Nature Conservancy
Alan Medsker, Coordinator, Environmental Progress - Illinois
Steven Pinker, Harvard University, author of Better Angels of Our Nature
Peter Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden; Winner of the National Medal of Science, 2001
Samir Saran, PhD, Vice President, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi, India
Peter Schwartz, author of Art of the Long View
Jeff Terry, Professor of Physics, Illinois Institute of Technology