What does the “return to nuclear energy” announced at the climate conference mean?

Turning to nuclear energy to eliminate (some of) the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. This is the leitmotif emerging from negotiations among nearly 200 countries meeting at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai. If the next ten days are to be dominated by promises to cut climate-changing emissions through quotas, the meeting began with the usual promises looking at renewables as a solution to curb climate warming. If the Paris agreements, which aim to limit the temperature increase to one and a half degrees, are now just waste paper, Dubai has been implemented with a call for nearly twenty countries to triple the world’s nuclear energy capacity by 2050.

There was a general revival of interest in the atom after the Fukushima accident in 2011. The new buzzword is “SMR” small 300-megawatt reactors designed to be modular.

“Without nuclear power, we cannot achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” US climate envoy John Kerry said.

Under pressure from Polish President Andrzej Duda, Emmanuel Macron immediately said, “I want to repeat that nuclear energy is clean energy, it needs to be repeated.” Pro-nuclear countries include Japan, South Korea, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates, which have just built their first power plant.

Meanwhile, Belgium announced that the first world nuclear summit will be held in March 2024 together with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The joint declaration of 20 countries to triple their nuclear energy capacity is actually a voluntary and non-binding call within the framework of the official COP28 negotiations held under the auspices of the United Nations. The aim is to proactively promote alternative energies to fossil fuels, giving them ammunition to hope to negotiate the end of oil, coal and gas with a final agreement at the COP.

Another call with more consensus is to triple renewable energy capacity (solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, etc.) by 2030. The European Union launched a call in this direction in the spring, with the support of the COP28 presidency. and is then addressed by G7 and G20 countries (80% of global greenhouse gas emissions). “Today our call has turned into a powerful movement. More than 110 countries have already joined,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. said.

While leaders operate in public, thousands of negotiators from nearly 200 countries gather in rooms hidden from cameras to advance the central theme of COP28: texts that must be agreed by consensus by December 12. The most difficult paragraphs to negotiate deal with reducing or even ending the use of fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal). But the propositions are not positive in this sense: when the G20 in September committed to promoting efforts to triple renewable energy, the final declaration was silent on the fate of fossil energy sources.

Source: Today IT