At the 21st Conference of the Parties on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, a binding agreement was reached based on national climate protection contributions. This clears the way for an ambitious climate policy. Of crucial importance is the implementation of national commitments which in many countries represents a major technological, economic and social task. There are no universal panaceas, in fact the countries each have to find their own adequate way in which to achieve the objectives reliably, cost-effectively and with public acceptance.
Nuclear energy makes a significant contribution to climate protection worldwide and, with an approximately 11 percent share of global electricity production, it is the second most important source of low-carbon electricity after hydropower. According to Dr. Ralf Güldner, President of the German Atomic Forum (DAtF), "In many countries, nuclear energy is also part of the long-term energy and climate strategy. Together with the expansion of renewables, it can be a key part of the climate policy where there is acceptance and the general economic conditions are right." Particularly in countries with sharply increasing electricity demand, a significant reduction or strict limitation of greenhouse gas emissions poses a major challenge and requires a broad approach in which all low-carbon technologies are used appropriately. So far this year, eight nuclear power plants have been commissioned in China alone. According to current planning, a further 80 nuclear power plants will become operational there by 2030.
Güldner continued, "In Germany, nuclear power plants will reliably continue during their operating times to make their contribution to reducing emissions and to providing power as in past decades." Since the use of nuclear energy had begun, the production of electricity in nuclear power plants had prevented the emission of about 5 billion tons of CO2 in Germany. To achieve the same effect in the transport sector, there would have to have been no road traffic in Germany since 1983.
Güldner explained, "With their expertise in the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy, industry and research in Germany will continue to make a contribution to climate policy where nuclear power remains or is intended to become a part of the energy future."