According to a report released by the International Energy Agency, limiting carbon emissions and preventing a catastrophic increase in the temperature of the earthâs atmosphere is still possible, but nuclear power and renewables will be an essential part of the solution.
In order to keep carbon emission to a minimum, such that the earthâs average temperature only rises by two degrees centigrade, the energy sector globally must change, says the IEA, specifically in countries with relatively little renewable or nuclear capacity in their energy mixes. Even with increasing the share of renewables in the mix, we are constrained in limiting carbon emissions to switching increasingly âto gas-fired power plants or more efficient coal plants up to 2020, as the additional reliance on nuclear power is constrained by long construction lead times,â the report says.
Over the long term, according to the report, the economic impact of moving away from carbon emitting sources is clear and substantial. If a policy is adopted to keep the temperature increase to just two degrees centigrade, ânet revenues for existing nuclear and renewables-based power plants would be boosted by $1.8 trillion (in year-2011 dollars) through to 2035, while the revenues from existing coal-fired plants would decline by a similar level.â
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