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Nuclear energy can prevent climate change essay

Policy Responses to Climate Change Updated June 2017 The human enhancement of global warming leading to climate change is seen as a worldwide problem. Policy responses have been led by international negotiation, but have been qualified or indecisive at the national level, and so far largely ineffective, despite strong international agreement on the matter.

Climate Change and Nuclear Energy: We Need to Talk

The principal focus is on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Nuclear power is seldom acknowledged as the single most significant means of limiting the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations while enabling access to abundant electricity.

Emissions of greenhouse gases have a global impact, unlike some other forms of pollution. Whether they are emitted in Asia, Africa, Europe, or the Americas, they rapidly disperse evenly across the globe. This is one reason why efforts to address climate change have been through international collaboration and agreement.

However, more recently other international approaches have been put in place, the Asia Pacific Partnership and agreements under the G8, starting with their 2005 meeting in Gleneagles, UK.

In December 2015 the Paris agreement consolidated years of negotiations with agreement among 188 countries to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

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Although climate change agreements emphasising carbon emission reduction have been reached through international approaches, the policy measures to meet the obligations and objectives set by such agreements have been implemented at the national or regional level. Here they are supplemented by policy instruments such as efficiency standards and incentives to invest in infrastructure which does not give rise to carbon emissions.

Pricing carbon emissions is seen as putting a price on a major external cost from energy production and transformation. The convention included the commitment to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2000. The Kyoto Protocol set out specific commitments by individual developed countries to reduced emissions by an average of 5.

However, it would take three further meetings until the "Marrakesh Accords" were agreed, which provide sufficient detail on the procedures for pursuing objectives set out in the Kyoto Protocol.

How Nuclear Power Can Stop Global Warming

The Kyoto Protocol involved several decisions: By 2012, developed countries would reduce their collective emissions by 5. The emissions covered by the Protocol are not only carbon dioxide, but also methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. These commitments would be reckoned on a net basis, considering sinks as well as sources, and each country must credibly measure its contribution and meet its commitment.

Countries may fulfil their commitments jointly such as with regional agreements and they may improve the efficiency of compliance through "flexibility mechanisms".

In 2001 the US Government nuclear energy can prevent climate change essay had earlier signed the Protocol announced that it would not ratify the Protocol. As the USA emits more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions from developed countries, this put the ratification of the Protocol in jeopardy. Australia also declared that it would not ratify, though it would pursue emission reductions as agreed.

Eventually, entry into force depended on the decision of Russia, another large greenhouse gas emitter. After some delay Russia notified the United Nations of its decision to ratify the Protocol in November 2004 and 90 days later, on February 19, 2005, the Protocol finally came into force.

Australia subsequently ratified the Protocol in December 2007. While countries that are party to the Protocol are expected to rely mainly on reducing their own emissions domestically, three "flexibility mechanisms" were identified to improve the economic efficiency of reductions and make it easier for parties to comply.

The three mechanisms are emissions trading, Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism. A market-based approach to achieving environmental objectives that allows those countries or entities reducing greenhouse gas emissions below what is required to use or trade the excess reductions to offset emissions at another source, inside or outside the country.

In general, trading can occur at the domestic, regional EUinternational and intra-company levels. A precedent is the USA acid rain program, which successfully trades permits for sulfur dioxide. A project-based mechanism, whereby one developed nuclear energy can prevent climate change essay — with emissions caps — can work with another to reduce emissions or enhance sinks, and share the resulting emission reduction units accordingly.

A project-based mechanism where certified projects proposed by developed countries — or companies from those countries — can be used to reduce emissions in developing countries. The developed country — or company — earns certified emission reduction units, which may be used against the country's own reduction commitment.

  1. A rush to phase out nuclear power privileges natural gas—as is planned under Germany's innovative effort, dubbed the Energiewende energy transition , to increase solar, wind and other renewable power while also eliminating the country's 17 reactors. In other words, it would not be competing for market share.
  2. Nuclear is one of the technologies available today—and with room for significant improvement and innovation.
  3. The second step is to realize that the climate change community is a potential ally, and that openly addressing the subject of climate change in our communications is in the best interest of the nuclear community. August 2, 2012 at 22.

CDM is primarily focused on development aid and secondly on emission reduction. This was due to the entrenched anti-nuclear position of some of the environment NGOs lobbying at the negotiations and the tendency for national delegations to be dominated by those from Environment Departments, with a historically more negative position towards nuclear energy than their overall national position.

Nuclear energy is discriminated against within the Marakesh Accords, specifically within the sections dealing with the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation, but currently the effect of this discrimination is largely symbolic.

The Marakesh Accords state: Parties are free to put forward such projects, as they would do any other candidate project. However, the text says that developed counties Annex I Parties should refrain from using any credits earned from those projects for meeting their commitments — which are the emissions targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol.

The meaning of "should refrain" is a matter of debate. Annex I Parties are also meant not to exceed their emissions targets. Should they refrain from using nuclear project credits unless it means they would miss their target?

Nuclear Power & Global Warming

Ultimately, this is a symbolic discussion, as the current low price of CDM and JI credits and the short time period over which credits would be awarded mean that the availability of such credits is unlikely to be a significant factor in the decision on whether to invest in nuclear energy.

Concerns over the efficacy of CDM and JI in general have been expressed, many potential investors in projects being frustrated by the bureaucratic process involved in gaining approval for a project and the relatively small rewards for doing so.

  • What nearly all nuclear advocates failed to recognize was that reason the coal industry was one of the biggest proponents of the fast breeder was that they knew it would require a couple of decades of research before it was ready for full deployment;
  • Parties are free to put forward such projects, as they would do any other candidate project;
  • Emissions of greenhouse gases have a global impact, unlike some other forms of pollution;
  • Parties are free to put forward such projects, as they would do any other candidate project;
  • The problem with our current slow pace of advance is that too many entrenched interests have the power to block disruptive innovation;
  • But there are other mitigation options, having to do with re-thinking land use.

Moreover, there are concerns over the limited geographical distribution of CDM projects, with the majority of projects taking place in China, India and Brazil. However, in the longer term the CDM and JI may become a more viable mechanism for encouraging low carbon projects and development. However, it is also possible that new mechanisms will be introduced in subsequent agreements and the role of the CDM and JI may diminish.

Approaches to emissions trading and alternatives, European ETS The question of emission permits of some kind as a basis for trading in them or trading them off has been approached in several different ways.

  • And in terms of pumping out oxygen cyanobacteria got there first, not diatoms;
  • The emissions covered by the Protocol are not only carbon dioxide, but also methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

They may be auctioned, or they can be allocated to firms on the basis of historical emissions known as grandfathering. Within countries, emissions e. An attractive feature of tradable permits is that any national scheme can be linked internationally. However, the emission caps need to be set by regulators, who have an impossible task in the light of normal uncertainties, as shown the first decade of the EU system.

Also it tends to reward traders more than innovators. The ETS is a cap-and-trade system, which means that a limited cap is set on the total amount of certain greenhouse gases, notably CO2.

  • Pricing carbon emissions is seen as putting a price on a major external cost from energy production and transformation;
  • The developed country — or company — earns certified emission reduction units, which may be used against the country's own reduction commitment;
  • The situation is not unlike that of the seemingly unified support for the fast breeder reactor in the early 1960s;
  • If policymakers provide financial assistance to existing nuclear plants, they should at the same time strengthen policies such as renewable electricity standards RES that stimulate the growth of low-carbon renewable energy as well as energy efficiency programs and policies;
  • In 2001 the US Government which had earlier signed the Protocol announced that it would not ratify the Protocol.