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IAEA Collaborating Against Climate Change

Rafael Mariano Grossi

Rafael Grossi

The scale of climate change driven disasters is growing. This year, over a third of Pakistan was submerged in flooding from rainfall and glacier melt, displacing and impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Wildfires burn forests in Europe, droughts destroy crops in southern Africa and storms batter the Caribbean. Climate change affect us all, but the most vulnerable communities are shouldering the heaviest burden. 

While the global situation looks grim, hope lies in the ingenuity of human solutions to address a human-caused problem. Our climate crisis is driven by the burning of fossil fuels, releasing greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. While coal, oil and natural gas have been critical to societal and technological development over the past 200 years, the heat-trapping properties of their emissions are warming our planet and affecting our weather systems, our ocean and the health of our planet.  

Cutting our emissions and adapting to the increasingly challenging future conditions of our planet is now a priority for every country and region in the world. To this end, the IAEA has an important role to play.

Cutting our emissions and adapting to the increasingly challenging future conditions of our planet is now a priority for every country and region in the world. To this end, the IAEA has an important role to play.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General

In this edition of the IAEA Bulletin, we delve into how nuclear science and technologies can help address climate change and meet our Member States’ priorities. We show how the IAEA collaborates with governments and researchers around the world to bring climate solutions to fruition and bolster the capacity of communities to tackle the challenges they face. 

Good data is the basis of sound decisions. Scientists and decision makers rely on IAEA isotopic data to measure climate change. Our reference materials for greenhouse gases are the global standard and are used to quantify, trace and identify emission sources. Together with the World Meteorological Organization we are working to expand the use of isotope measurements for greenhouse gases across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

In mitigation, nuclear energy has played a central role. Over the past five decades it has avoided the release of more than 70 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Globally, more than 400 reactors still supply the world with about a quarter of its low-carbon energy and today around 30 countries are considering or embarking on new nuclear power programmes.  This Bulletin looks at one of those programmes and describes how its lessons are being shared with other countries. Nuclear energy already plays a crucial role in mitigating climate change and providing energy security. In these pages the International Energy Agency’s executive secretary elaborates this point. 

While mitigation is fundamental to climate action, it is evident we also need to adapt to the current impacts of climate change. Nuclear science offers us a suite of climate adaption tools and solutions and we share examples from Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

Nuclear science and technology have for decades been crucial parts of the climate change solution, both in mitigation and adaptation. It is clear the world needs more low-carbon energy and more opportunities to adapt. That means the world needs more nuclear.

December, 2022
Vol. 63-4

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