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UN climate change agreement December 2015, Paris

The major emphasis of the November-December 2015 COP21 meeting in Paris was on producing a global, binding agreement to cut carbon emissions. At the Paris meeting there was clear international agreement that reducing carbon dioxide emissions was a global priority built on a groundswell of public opinion in many countries, albeit with a range of different timelines involved. It was agreed to aim for a temperature increase well below 2°C and with the aim of moving to 1.5 degrees, which suggests that governments will have to introduce additional mitigation actions to move more rapidly to low-carbon technologies, especially in electricity generation. The main and widely recognised implication (which fuelled some extravagant hype stigmatising coal) is that more use must be made of low- or zero-carbon energy sources, including nuclear power.The International Energy Agency (IEA) described it as “nothing less than a historic milestone for the global energy sector” that would “speed up the transformation of the energy sector by accelerating investments in cleaner technologies and energy efficiency.” With wide support, especially from likely beneficiaries, a clean energy innovation fund was to be set up under the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) to develop cleaner, more affordable and more reliable energy sources. Also the GCF should “aim to ensure efficient access to financial resources through simplified approval procedures” for developing countries. Whatever the advances in electricity storage associated with intermittent renewables, there is now more clearly an inexorable logic for low-cost continuous reliable supply from expanded nuclear power. The IEA had already made it plain that keeping the global temperature increase below 2°C would require a significant contribution from nuclear energy.