COP28 Witnesses Calls for Increased Nuclear Energy, Reduction of Methane Emissions

Sat Dec 02 2023
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DUBAI: The United States spearheaded calls during the UN climate talks at COP28 on Saturday for intensified efforts to curb methane emissions while advocating a controversial drive to expand nuclear energy as part of the strategy to combat global warming and climate change.

Over 20 nations, including the US, Ghana, Japan, Britain, France, South Korea, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates, declared in a joint statement that nuclear energy plays a “key role” in achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century. The declaration called for tripling nuclear energy capacity by 2050 from 2020 levels.

US climate envoy John Kerry, addressing COP28, emphasized the necessity of nuclear energy in the pursuit of net-zero emissions by 2050. “You can’t get to net zero 2050 without some nuclear,” he asserted. The declaration did not include nuclear powers Russia and China.

However, environmental group expressed concerns about the dangers associated with nuclear power, citing the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Jeff Ordower, the North American director of, cautioned against investing in nuclear energy, referring to it as a “dangerous distraction.”

Critics also highlighted the extended timelines associated with nuclear plants, which can take decades to become operational. emphasized that nuclear energy takes significantly longer than renewable energy to contribute to the energy mix.

World Leaders Discuss Impacts of Climate Change at COP28

At COP28, more than 50 world leaders, excluding US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, addressed the conference for the second consecutive day. US Vice President Kamala Harris announced a $3 billion contribution to a global fund aimed at supporting developing countries in their energy transition and addressing the impacts of climate change.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized the urgency of transitioning away from fossil fuels, particularly coal. Meanwhile, Colombia joined a group of climate-vulnerable island nations in calling for an end to new developments in coal, oil, and gas projects.

On the issue of methane emissions, the US and China, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters, are set to hold a summit with the United Arab Emirates. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley stressed the importance of reducing methane, the second driver of global warming after fossil fuels.

The US announced plans to tighten regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The proposed standards include phasing out routine flaring of natural gas and implementing comprehensive monitoring of methane leaks. Methane emissions from the agriculture sector, particularly from livestock, were also acknowledged as a significant contributor to global methane levels.

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