Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The U.N. Climate Summit

climate_summit The United Nations Climate Summit September 24 has an interesting format. It brings together 120 heads of state (or their representatives)to “announce bold actions that they will be taking in their countries.” These, I assume, could be anything on-topic, so there may be some nuclear energy-related announcements. Everything could be kind of vague and feel-good – gestures toward energy efficiency, for example – or countries get very ambitious with their announcements. This is a U.N. effort, but should not be confused  with the Framework Convention on Climate Change. I suppose it’s okay to call the summit a bit more casual – or at least as casual as such a high-level meeting could be.

Write Jerry Kremer over at the Huffington Post connects the summit with its location, focusing on New York state’s own emissions profile.

While New Yorkers produce 8 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita annually, the national average is more than 150 percent higher -- and in some states 300 percent higher!

That’s pretty good – for New York. But why?

With 30 percent of the state's electricity coming from nuclear, 23 percent hydro, and four percent wind, solar and other renewables, New York's generation mix is comparatively light on the burning of fossil fuels. The air pollutants and greenhouse gases that are prevented by New York's nuclear fleet amount to tens of thousands of tons annually.

Kremer wants the summit to note the nuclear-friendly atmosphere of New York and even more:

The United Nations Climate Summit provides a unique opportunity to highlight the many benefits of nuclear energy at a time when some domestic reactors face economic and regulatory headwinds. I encourage worldwide attendees to consider the vital importance of New York's nuclear plants, starting with nearby Indian Point, which supplies more than 10 percent of the state's power, and whose continuous operation has been critical to improving New York City's once abysmal air quality.

As far as countries that might make nuclear energy-related announcements, UAE, Vietnam and Bolivia seem like possibilities. We’ll see. The U.N is setting up a live stream of the event, so check back over there to watch.

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