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.

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 limit the impacts of climate change, the world must rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear energy is low-carbon and can supply the world with clean, reliable, 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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Statements from World Nuclear Association

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Letter sent to the COP26 President (16 August 2021)

A letter sent to Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, President, COP26 from Dr Sama Bilbao y Leon, Director General, World Nuclear Association

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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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World Nuclear News articles

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WNN: Leaders gather for pre-COP climate forum (20 September 2021)

Leaders joined US President Joe Biden in a closed-door forum

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WNN: Doubling of nuclear capacity by 2050 requires concerted action says IAEA (17 Sept 2021)

World nuclear generating capacity will double to 792 GWe (net) by 2050 from 393 GWe in 2020 under the high case scenario

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WNN: Policies must allow nuclear to play its vital role, says UNECE (11 August 2021)

Nuclear power can be part of a broader portfolio alongside deploying other sustainable low- or zero-carbon technologies.

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Further information

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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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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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