Message: Nuclear industry calls for successful conclusion to COP26

10 November 2021

World Nuclear Association Director General Sama Bilbao y León has called for more action, not more rhetoric, to come out of the ongoing COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland. In a video address, she said the important role nuclear energy plays in combatting climate change still needs more recognition. A transcript of her video message follows.

"Greetings from Glasgow, Scotland! I'm speaking from COP26, the United Nations climate change conference.

Over the past nine days, the world has come together to take firm action on one of our time's most defining issues: climate change.

With nuclear power increasingly being recognised as an essential player in achieving global net-zero by 2050, World Nuclear Association and the broader nuclear community are here, explaining why nuclear power should be at the heart of any climate change action plans - because it is a proven, low-carbon, round-the-clock energy source, deployable at scale.

Since it was first formed more than 20 years ago, World Nuclear Association has represented the global nuclear industry at many of these climate change conferences.

Over the past week, I have participated in many different events, and my team and I here in Glasgow have spoken with delegates from around the world - conversations that in many cases will continue long after we all leave Scotland.

In the negotiations themselves, good progress was made last week, but now they have reached a crucial stage.

Many countries have committed to achieving net-zero emissions, committed to end the use of coal and committed to reducing emissions of methane, including those that come from fossil gas.

Now ministers must resolve their remaining difficult differences if COP26 is to reach a successful conclusion.

But this conference can only be a first step on the path to net-zero.

It has become abundantly clear that the 1.5-degree target can only be achieved with bold actions and inspiring leadership - we will need more action, not more rhetoric.

We look to our political leaders to step up to the challenge and develop urgent, pragmatic and actionable plans to make sure these promises become reality.

And for that we will be needing the fast deployment of all proven and available low carbon technologies, including nuclear.

At this COP, more countries have been recognising nuclear energy for its role in combatting climate change.

Russia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Brazil, Ghana, Romania and the USA are some of the countries that have expressed strong support.

And only yesterday the United Kingdom announced its intention to invest in new nuclear as a once in a lifetime opportunity for the UK to deploy more low-carbon energy than ever before and ensure greater energy independence.

At this COP, I have been so impressed and inspired by the energy and creativity of the many young nuclear professionals that are here.

They have represented the nuclear community with passion, engaging with new audiences from across the globe.

Now let me be clear - nuclear energy still doesn't get the credit it deserves for what it has done, and what it could do, to help combat climate change. But we are moving in the right direction. And we need to make sure we keep up the momentum.

We at World Nuclear Association will continue to represent the global nuclear industry here at COP and in the energy debate to put nuclear at the heart of the world response to climate change in the months and years ahead."

The video message, which Bilbao y León shared on YouTube, can be seen here.