Climate change

Nuclear and isotopic techniques are important tools to study climate change, which can help alleviate its effects on land, water and the oceans, and on food security. The IAEA helps Member States apply these techniques and assists them in developing safe and sustainable nuclear energy to mitigate climate change.

  • Ocean acidification refers to the series of chemical changes occurring as seawater takes up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While this uptake of carbon dioxide may limit some of the effects of climate change, it may also modify marine environments and have major impacts on organisms and ecosystems.

  • Nuclear power is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases available to generate electricity. The IAEA assists Member States that wish to introduce nuclear power and provides information to a broader audience engaged in energy, environmental and economic policy-making to support global climate change goals. 

  • Climate dynamics affect the sources and distribution of rain and snow worldwide. This can change river flows and the rates of replenishment of aquifers. Since the 1960s, the IAEA has been a world leader in generating and exchanging isotope hydrology scientific information through its global isotope observation networks.

  • While the full impacts of climate change on the oceans are unclear, studies predict increasing temperatures, rising sea levels and changes to the ocean chemistry, among others. The IAEA uses nuclear and isotopic techniques to evaluate the effects of climate change on marine organisms and biogeochemical cycles.