Nuclear energy, climate change and COP26

The COP26 climate change conference, that took place in Glasgow, Scotland, was the latest international effort aimed at tackling the threat of climate change.

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

Nuclear and the Sustainable Development Goals

Find out how nuclear technologies can contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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World Nuclear Performance Report 2021 COP26 Edition

A special edition of the World Nuclear Performance Report, released for COP26, providing construction, generation and CO2 avoidance analysis.

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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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Events at COP26

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Delivering a just transition to a clean energy future and supporting the UN SDGs

Watch on demand - Organized by World Nuclear Association, Canadian Nuclear Association, Nuclear Energy Institute and International Youth Nuclear Congress.

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A Path Towards Affordable Zero Carbon Technologies

Watch on demand - Organized by the American Nuclear Society, European Nuclear Society, Foratom and Japan Atomic Industrial Forum

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The Role of Nuclear Energy in a Net Zero Future

4 November 2021: This event will discuss the role nuclear can play in transitioning to a diverse net-zero energy mix.

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World Nuclear News articles

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WNN: COP26 approaches deadline (12 Nov 2021)

After two weeks of talks, the COP26 meeting on climate change has only hours to produce a text on emissions reductions that every country in the world can sign up to.

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WNN: Nuclear a vital tool in achieving decarbonisation, panel says (4 Nov 2021)

Nuclear energy provides enormous opportunities to bring about a fast, cost-effective and just decarbonisation, Director General Sama Bilbao y León said

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WNN: Grossi 'absolutely confident' of nuclear's inclusion in EU taxonomy (4 Nov 2021)

IAEA's Rafael Mariano Grossi said he is "absolutely confident" that "some arrangement" will be made to accept nuclear energy in the EU's taxonomy

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WWN: Birol calls for nuclear acceleration (4 Nov 2021)

Countries have "re-appreciated" the value of nuclear power, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said at COP26

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WNN: India sets target for net-zero (2 Nov 2021)

India has set a target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. This was the fifth pledge made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his National Statement at COP26

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WNN: G20 leaders reaffirm commitment to Paris Agreement (1 Nov 2021)

The leaders of the G20, who met in Rome on 30-31 October, said they are committed to tackling the "critical and urgent threat" of climate change

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Statements from World Nuclear Association

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Nuclear industry calls for successful conclusion to COP26 (10 Nov 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

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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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Further information

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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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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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