IPCC Report Underscores Need for Nuclear for Rapid Decarbonization
So, what’s the solution? The IPCC report makes clear that we need to use everything in our arsenal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, we need immense sources of energy that do not produce greenhouse gases, that support a reliable electricity grid.
Nuclear energy fits this bill as a very powerful tool to be used to combat climate change, but is an often overlooked part of the climate change solution. For example:
- Effective: Nuclear is a zero-emission source of energy during operation and is far more efficient in certain key metrics than other clean energy sources. For example, it can produce reliable, continuous energy, on far less land.
- Contributing: Nuclear power currently provides over 50% of clean energy generation in the U.S. (despite the current U.S. nuclear fleet actually decreasing in size over the past few decades, along with a massive scale-up of renewables). And on the global front, it is the second largest source of low carbon power, making up 10% of the world’s electricity.
- Innovating: Advanced reactors in the U.S. are on the brink of deployment, showing that nuclear power can play a key role in the energy transition from fossil fuels. Advanced reactors, which produce process heat, can decarbonize the electric grid as well as heavy industry (which accounts for 23% of U.S. emissions itself).