The 28th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) kicked-off on November 30 in Dubai. While there is still one week of meetings and negotiations left on how to forge a path forward toward a more climate resilient world, there are already a number of notable outcomes and pledges.
Amongst the pledges announced to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions was the pledge to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 and to eliminate CO2 emitting fossil fuels by 2050. The pledge, which was announced on December 2 and led by the European Union, United States, and the United Arab Emirates, was backed by over 100 governments. In order for the pledge to be included in the final COP28 final summit decision, consensus will be required amongst the nearly 200 countries present.
Also announced that day was the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy, signed by over 20 countries to triple nuclear power capacity by 2050. Amongst the commitments of the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy to mobilize investments in nuclear power and to support the development and construction of nuclear reactors, the participating countries also commit to “supporting responsible nations looking to explore new civil nuclear deployment under the highest standards of safety, sustainability, security, and non-proliferation.” The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) statement on nuclear power delivered on December 1 at COP28 decisively stated that “net zero needs nuclear power.”
There remains a contested debate regarding the role that nuclear energy can and should play in the transition to global net-zero carbon emissions. As this declaration demonstrates, however, nuclear energy is increasingly being considered by countries as a component of the strategies required to meet their climate change commitments.