IAEA Event at COP25 Climate Change Conference Explores Decarbonization Strategies

Bertrand Magne, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy

Matt Fisher, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy

How can the world rapidly decarbonize the energy sector to meet both climate goals and a growing demand for energy? At an IAEA event yesterday on the sidelines of the United Natuions Climate Change Conference in Madrid, thought leaders and sustainable energy experts discussed the role of low carbon energy options including nuclear power in national decarbonization strategies.

“Not only do we need to replace our entire fossil fuel infrastructure—heat, power, transport—but probably double or triple it to meet rising global energy demand,” Kirsty Gogan said at the IAEA event. “All credible studies have concluded that to have a serious chance of success, we need all the low carbon solutions we have available to us, and, given the scale and urgency, should be pursuing all the fast, cost effective, most feasible pathways to decarbonize.”

Rapid decarbonization must be linked to raising living standards worldwide, according to Eric Ingersoll, Managing Director of LucidCatalyst, a global energy consultancy.

“We need prosperity and decarbonization,” Ingersoll said.

Additional “climate scale” energy options will be needed to complement the “massive buildout of renewable energy” required over the coming decades, he said. While innovative nuclear reactor designs, coupled with heat storage capability, will be viable alternatives to gas-based electricity in the medium term, “designs must be targeted at hard to reach sectors, such as fuels, heat and flexible dispatch, and developing country markets,” Ingersoll added.

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