Press release

FORATOM welcomes landmark Paris climate agreement

Dec 18, 2015

The UN Paris Agreement, adopted at COP21 on 12 December, is a historic and pivotal decision to limit the effects of climate change.

FORATOM shares the vision of the Nuclear for Climate grassroots initiative, which brings together more than 140 associations and technical societies, and welcomes the Paris climate change agreement and the efforts made by the French Presidency of COP21. Nuclear for Climate’s active participation in the COP21 climate change conference demonstrated how nuclear energy, as a low carbon technology, is already helping keep greenhouse gas emissions low and playing an important role in tackling climate change.

Jean-Pol Poncelet, Director General of FORATOM, said: “We firmly believe that the commitment of the parties to the COP to hold the increase in global average temperatures to ‘well below 2 degrees Celsius’ above pre-industrial levels and to ‘pursue efforts’ to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius requires the use of nuclear energy. The additional commitment by all Parties to peak greenhouse gas emissions ‘as soon as possible’ is only feasible through the use of all low carbon technologies, including the continued use of nuclear energy.”

In the short-term and as a result of the Paris Agreement, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will produce a technical report by 2018 on the possible solutions which should be used to limit the effects of climate change. The IPCC acknowledged in its 5th Report from April 2014 that nuclear energy offers the advantage of being a low carbon technology. FORATOM is convinced that nuclear energy will once again form a fundamental part of the IPCC’s report as an indispensable tool for tackling climate change.

In the long-term, the outcomes of the UN climate conference require countries to continue to submit national climate action plans that detail their undertakings to achieve the targets set in the Agreement. Several Parties to the COP have already taken up the recommendations from the IPCC and identify nuclear energy in their national plans. However, the current plans set the world on a course for a temperature increase of about 3 degrees Celsius. FORATOM is certain that nuclear energy is imperative for the national plans if the obligations under the Agreement are to be fulfilled and the temperature increases are to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In the European Union at the moment, nuclear energy contributes 53% of all low carbon electricity produced. It is also the single largest electricity generation technology in the EU, supplying 27% of the Member States’ clean, secure and competitive electricity. The European Commission has also recognised in its first State of the Energy Union report that nuclear energy is a key technology which has already helped three major global economies – the EU, Brazil and Canada – produce more than half of their electricity without greenhouse gas emissions.

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