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Young clean energy heroes set out on COP26 campaign trail

Saralyn Thomas · 16 March 2021

Saralyn Thomas, Vice-Chair of the Nuclear Institute’s Young Generation Network, writes about their exciting plans for a year of climate action leading up to COP26.

2021 is a pivotal year for the climate. In November, Glasgow will host the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, COP26.

The climate talks will be the biggest international summit the UK has ever hosted, bringing together over 30,000 delegates including heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

COP26 is particularly important as it will be the first time nations come together to discuss the commitments they made in the Paris Agreement at COP21.

Saralyn Thomas

An unique opportunity for the YGN

The YGN is partnering with the European Nuclear Society (ENS), a UN accredited Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), to coordinate their presence in the UN controlled zone at COP26.

As a result, the YGN has set up a team of young, international volunteers who are passionate about saving our planet. Their mission is to accelerate the ability of the world to achieve Net Zero by 2050, by driving collaboration between nuclear and renewable technology.

To deliver our mission, we’re running a series of advocacy activities in the run up to and at COP itself. All the way from speaking at webinars and podcasts to STEM outreach and canvassing MPs so we can make a real impact.

A key part of our mission is to collaborate with other clean energies so we can break the nuclear bubble and reach a new audience to promote nuclear as the low carbon source it is.

 

The #NetZeroNeedsNuclear Campaign

Our international #NetZeroNeedsNuclear campaign, launched in February, is the backbone of our activities. It aims to:

  • Promote and raise awareness of nuclear as a low-carbon energy source;
  • Drive support for nuclear as a key part of our path to Net Zero;
  • Influence policy makers who are involved in COP26 to take a scientific and technology neutral approach to energy policy and financing; and
  • Envision sustainable collaboration between nuclear and renewables.

The heart of our campaign lies in a scientifically underpinned position paper we have written on behalf of Nuclear for Climate.

The position paper has been written using reputable references from a range of sources such as the International Energy Agency, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, International Atomic Energy Agency and many more.

Alongside the position paper is our call to action set up on change.org. We plan to approach international decision makers with the position paper and call to action to share the scientific justification on why Net Zero Needs Nuclear and demonstrate the level of support for nuclear. Our ask:

“We are calling on all negotiators and policy makers who are involved at COP26 to take a scientific and technology neutral approach to energy policy and financing that can promote sustainable collaboration between nuclear and renewables.”

Get involved!

We truly believe we need to work together to meet net zero so we can save our planet – and that includes nuclear energy as part of the energy mix.

We want to make a big impact at COP26 and ensure that nuclear is at the table and considered alongside renewables and we need YOUR help to do so! You can support us by getting involved in the #NetZeroNeedsNuclear campaign as such:

  • Sign the call to action
  • Read the position paper
  • Sign up to our mailing list
  • Take part in our social media campaign (including videos, pictures, quotes and social media frames) and re-share our messages
  • Donate to our crowdfund

You can do all these things and learn more about the campaign at our brand new dedicated campaign website: NetZeroNeedsNuclear.com. You can also contact us on [email protected] if you have any questions about the campaign.

Our future’s at stake and we need your help!

Saralyn Thomas is a Senior Consultant working for Abbott Risk Consulting Ltd, specialising in safety case development for the nuclear industry.

She is currently the Vice-Chair and International Liaison for the Young Generation Network (YGN) of the Nuclear Institute (NI), the learned society and professional membership body for the UK nuclear sector.


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