IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today officially opened the first ever nuclear-related pavilion at COP27 — the IAEA-led #Atoms4Climate pavilion — in an event focused on how the nuclear community can help address the impacts of climate change and combat global warming.
High-level representatives from governments and international organizations took part in the event, as well as industry and civil society representatives. Participants heard about how the IAEA and its partners were enabling the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear energy and nuclear science and technologies in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Remarking on the uniqueness of the presence of a nuclear pavilion for the first time at a COP, Mr Grossi said that this was “in itself, a reflection of how things are changing, and how – we hope – at long last, we are looking at problems with a realistic perspective of getting to solve them.”
The pavilion brings together international organizations, countries, and the nuclear community, to showcase the possibilities of, and provide perspectives on, how nuclear can help address the pressing climate problems the world is facing. “We know that if we take the right decisions; if we avail ourselves of all the existing tools, including nuclear; it will be possible to start mitigating the problem; it will be possible to have a future for the next generations,” Mr Grossi said.
“Nuclear is here. Nuclear is already part of the solution, and nuclear will continue to be in this path,” he added.
Nuclear science and technology provide a wide range of proven and effective tools to support sustainable development and to help adapt to the impacts of climate change. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Ghana’s Minister of Energy, said Ghana has long used nuclear in the furtherance of science, medicine and technology. Highlighting the country’s national energy transition framework, launched at COP27, he said Ghana aimed for 50 per cent of its electricity to be generated by nuclear by 2070. “We have come to the realization that […] nuclear energy should be part of our mix of energy solutions that we envision to attain,” he said.
Speakers underscored the importance of cooperation among organizations to enable equal access to the benefits of nuclear science and technology. Cecilia Nicolini, State Secretary of Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Innovation from Argentina, said that investment, collaboration, and trust were key to working together towards decarbonization of the global economy. Argentina has completed 70 per cent of the development and construction of its first small modular reactor (SMR), which Nicolini said “will be not only important for our country – for Argentina – but also for the region and for the rest of the world.”
Event participants heard about how nuclear techniques assist in adapting to the consequences of rising global temperatures by supporting climate-smart agriculture and helping to improve food and nutrition security worldwide.
Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), highlighted that since 1964 the IAEA and FAO have been working together to fight food insecurity and malnutrition, and to make the agrifood system more resilient, more sustainable and more green, through innovative solutions. “What we do doesn’t stay in the laboratories,” she said. “We bring it to the countries to help them to improve adaptation and mitigation.” One third of greenhouse gas emissions comes from the agrifood sector, she said.
In the final part of the event, Mr Grossi announced the IAEA’s new Atoms4NetZero initiative, through which the IAEA will use its analytical tools and expertise to help countries that request it, to model how with the contribution of nuclear power they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible by 2050.
The Atoms4NetZero initiative will help countries assess the potential of innovative nuclear technologies, including SMRs, as potential contributors to their long term strategies to decarbonize the electricity and other carbon-intensive sectors. The initiative will develop credible scenarios through the IAEA’s analytical tool MESSAGE, or Model for Energy Supply System Alternatives and their General Environmental Impacts.
At the #Atoms4Climate pavilion, more than 40 events will take place over the course of the COP, all of which will be livestreamed, highlighting the wide-ranging potential of nuclear science and technology to contribute to sustainable efforts to address the impacts of climate change and to help combat global warming. See the full list of IAEA events at COP27, and learn more about nuclear solutions for climate change.
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