Nuclear energy, climate change and COP26

The COP26 climate change conference, due to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in November, will be the latest international effort aimed at tackling the threat of climate change.

This page outlines how nuclear energy is helping reduce emissions today, and how it can contribute to a sustainable net zero emissions future.

Nuclear energy in a clean energy future

What is COP26

The 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26)  is the next in a series of more than 20-years of climate conferences organized by the United Nations. 

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How can nuclear combat climate change?

To combat climate change, the world must rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear energy is low-carbon and can supply the world with clean and affordable electricity. 

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The Silent Giant: the need for nuclear in a clean energy system

In a world centred on short-term fixes, many of the traits that make nuclear energy a key player in the transition to a sustainable world are often taken for granted.

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Press Statements from World Nuclear Association

G7 pledges to accelerate progress on nuclear for decarbonization (14 June 2021)

Leaders of the G7 countries have committed accelerate deployment of ‘zero emissions energy’ to achieve a decarbonized power system.

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Response to the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 report (18 May 2021)

Nuclear energy makes a “significant contribution” to the IEA's Net Zero Emissions scenario, and will provide an “essential foundation” in the transition to a net-zero energy system.

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Net Zero Needs Nuclear (14 May 2021)

Ahead of the forthcoming IEA report on Net Zero, national and regional associations joined World Nuclear Association in calling for acceleration of the scale and timeframe for investment in new nuclear capacity

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World Nuclear News articles

WNN: Dalton Institute outlines eight actions for net zero (15 June 2021)

Nuclear experts at The University of Manchester have identified the eight actions required to assess objectively the role of nuclear in the UK's net-zero future.

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WNN: G7 highlights technology-driven clean energy transition( 14 June 2021)

The Group of Seven (G7) countries will lead a technology-driven transition to net zero, according to a joint statement

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WNN: Advanced nuclear for the hydrogen economy

Innovation and energy have long been intertwined, , there is an abundance of momentum towards a greener future, writes Steve Threlfall, U-Battery.

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Further information

Climate Change - The Science

Atmospheric concentrations of some of the gases that produce the greenhouse effect are increasing due to human activity and the vast majority of the world's climate scientists believe this causes global warming and resulting climate change.

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Policy Responses to Climate Change

Climate change is a worldwide problem and policy responses have accordingly had an international basis, the principal focus has been on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Renewable Energy and Electricity

Like nuclear power, renewable energy provides electricity significant carbon dioxide emissions. However,  solar and wind require back-up generating capacity due to their intermittent nature.

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Electricity and Energy Storage

Energy storage on a large scale has become a major focus of attention and research as intermittent renewable energy has become more prevalent.

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'Clean Coal' Technologies

Burning coal without adding to global carbon dioxide levels is a major technological challenge. The greatest challenge is bringing the cost of capture and storage technology down sufficiently for 'clean coal' to compete with nuclear power.

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UN COP Climate Change Conferences

Every year the UN holds a climate change conference. Our association has been involved in many of the COP event over the course of more than 20 years. 

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