The 25th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change hosted by the Government of Chile with the logistic support of the Government of Spain in Madrid, starst today, December 2 and will last until the 13.
"If we look at the European Union, 50% of low-carbon electricity is produced by the 126 operating reactors"
This climate summit, presided by the Chilean Minister for the Environment, expects to bring together around 25,000 people from approximately 200 countries under the motto #TimeForAction. This is a clear message that sends out an invitation to support and encourage measures of climate action with, in the words of the United Nations, "the growing conviction of a need for urgent action".
In this scenario of urgent action and measures to stop polluting emissions, Foro Nuclear, the Spanish nuclear industry association, welcomes COP25 to Madrid and sends out a reminder that nuclear energy has a crucial role in the fight against climate change. Nuclear energy in Spain is the source of power that generates the most electricity, contributing to over 20% of the total electricity in one year. It is also the source that helps the most to avoid emissions. In the past years, nuclear energy generated 35% to 40% emissions-free electricity.
Therefore, given the fiscal overload to which Spanish nuclear power plants are subjected, it is necessary to ensure technological neutrality in the market rules so that in a wholesale market of a marginalist nature the economic viability of the nuclear power generation is not put at risk.
If we look at the European Union, 14 of the 28 Member States have nuclear power plants that contribute to 25% of electricity generation, and 50% of low-carbon electricity is produced by the 126 operating reactors. These numbers are relevant and key, as they strengthen the major role of nuclear power in the energy transition to a decarbonization of the economy.
"The impacts of climate change are being seen everywhere, and are having very real consequences in people's lives"
Thus, we consider that putting a stop to greenhouse gases emissions is easier with nuclear energy. This opinion is shared by key international organizations such as the European Commission; in their long-term vision strategy "A Clean Planet For All" they indicate that, in order to reach a zero emissions goal, renewables "together with a nuclear power share of ca. 15%, will be the backbone of a carbon-free European power system" by 2050.
The experts that recently met in Vienna at the International Conference on Climate Change hosted by IAEA have stressed the role that nuclear energy plays in ending polluting emissions. Along with this, studies from the International Energy Agency (IEA) show that "a steep decline in nuclear power would threaten energy security and climate goals". We must not forget the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which conducted a study titled "Global Warming of 1.5 °C" that recognizes the role of nuclear energy as a source with low-carbon emissions and presents the clear advantages of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C instead of 2 °C.
According to the United Nations, emissions of greenhouse gases are at unprecedented levels. "The impacts of climate change are being seen everywhere, and are having very real consequences in people's lives". Thankfully, the UN adds, "we have the Paris Agreement -a visionary, viable, forward-looking policy framework that sets out exactly what needs to be done to stop climate disruption and reverse its impact. But the agreement itself is meaningless without ambitious action".
COP25's goals are precisely to set down the criteria for compliance with the Paris Agreement and improve the countries' emission-reducing goals. This is a challenge that we are also embracing at the Spanish Nuclear Forum as representatives of a technology that is capable of providing large quantities of electricity without polluting the atmosphere, thus advancing towards the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations 2030 Agenda.