Climate change is now on us and there is a very urgent need to take actions to stabilize the warming to an acceptable level.  The 1.5° target that was set 5 years ago during the Paris conference is probably out of reach, and the same fate is likely for the 2° target given our incapacity to take the right measures.

About 20 years ago, during the Earth summit conference at Johannesburg, the French president had these famous words “the house is burning, but we are looking elsewhere”.  The reality of climate change is now such that the world is not looking elsewhere anymore, but it is debating on the color of the water hoses.

Nuclear power can be one of these hoses.  It cannot be the only one, but arguing against its use given the urgency of the climate crisis is like arguing against a water hose because of its color when a house is burning.

Nuclear will not be sufficient to stop climate change.  Yet, it can definitely provide a large contribution.  Coal fire power plant generate roughly one third of global CO2 emissions.  These may be replaced by nuclear plants in many countries such as Europe, the USA, China, India and others.  The world needs to engage into nuclear power at the same rate as France did during the 70s and 80s.  This simple example shows that it is possible to ramp up nuclear at a rate that is compatible with the climate crisis urgency.

Francois-Marie Breon
Climate Scientist
Lead author of the 5th IPCC report

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