COP28 agreement recognizes accelerating nuclear energy as part of the solution

Updated Monday, 13 May 2024

Issued 13 December 2023

Accelerating nuclear energy has been recognized[1] as a means to achieve ‘deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions’ in the Global Stocktake agreed today at COP28. This represents the first time nuclear energy has been formally specified as one of the solutions to climate change in a COP agreement.

Dr Sama Bilbao y León, Director General, World Nuclear Association said, “This marks a 180o turn-around in the treatment of nuclear energy in the COP process, from the lone technology excluded from the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms to COP28’s inclusion among a range of zero and low-emissions technologies.”

The inclusion of nuclear energy in the Global Stocktake, unanimously agreed by all Parties, comes on the heels of two other significant agreements reached at COP28:

  • The Ministerial Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy, signed on 2 December, saw 22 countries set a goal of tripling global nuclear capacity by 2050, with two more countries, Armenia and Croatia, later signing the declaration.
  • The Global Renewable and Energy Efficiency Pledge recognized that, for those countries that choose to use it, nuclear energy will have a critical role in decarbonizing the energy sector.

COP28 also saw more than 120 companies, headquartered in 25 countries, and active in over 140 nations worldwide sign the Net Zero Nuclear[2] Industry Pledge[3], echoing the goal set by the Ministerial Declaration.

Dr Bilbao y León said, “We established the Net Zero Nuclear initiative this year to give the global nuclear industry a more visible presence at COP, uniting pragmatic action from governments, industry and civil society. With governments agreeing that nuclear energy is part of the solution, and with the coalition of ambitious governments setting a clear tripling goal for nuclear capacity, it is now time to move on from pledges and goals to delivering the rapid acceleration in global nuclear capacity needed to achieve net zero.”


[1] The first Global Stocktake of progress on the implementation of the Paris Agreement recognizes the need for deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in line with 1.5 °C pathways and calls on Parties to contribute to … global efforts, in a nationally determined manner, taking into account the Paris Agreement and their different national circumstances, pathways and approaches,  including by accelerating zero- and low-emission technologies, including, inter alia, renewables, nuclear, abatement and removal technologies such as carbon capture and utilization and storage, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors, and low-carbon hydrogen production;

[2] The Net Zero Nuclear initiative was established by World Nuclear Association, in partnership with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the COP28 ‘home team’.

[3] The Industry Pledge was coordinated by World Nuclear Association, in collaboration with national and regional nuclear trade associations.