Participants at the Montreal Conference on Climate Change this week were briefed on the role of nuclear power in the context of the world´s concerns over global warming and climate change. The IAEA and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency hosted a side event session that reviewed the global status and outlook for nuclear power.
"Expectations for nuclear power are rising", said Holger Rogner, Head of the IAEA´s Planning and Economic Studies Section, who led the briefing. "Since nuclear power generates few greenhouse gases, an accurate picture of its prospects is important for climate negotiations." The session focused on recent projections, specific national plans, changing markets and the impact of greenhouse gas constraints.
Canada is hosting the first meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Montreal in conjunction with the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention, from 28 November to 9 December 2005.
The conference is an historic event. The parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) be meeting for the first time as the "Meeting of the Parties" (MOP) to the Kyoto Protocol, following its entry into force in February 2005, as well as the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. The United Nations Climate Change Conference is set to be the largest intergovernmental climate conference since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997, with up to 10,000 participants expected.
Nuclear energy is not a panacea to global energy or environmental problems, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei recently said. "The surge in global energy demand will require continued usage of most, if not all, available energy sources. But with the reduction of carbon emissions becoming a top priority, increasing emphasis will be given to energy conservation and 'clean' energy sources. Within this array of choices... countries are increasingly looking to nuclear as an important part of the future energy mix."
At an IAEA international conference earlier this year in Paris, France, governments underscored support for sustainable energy development, concluding that a diverse portfolio of energy will be needed in the 21st century worldwide on social, economic, and environmental grounds.