While countries around the world are laying down their targets for achieving net zero emissions, Australia is still yet to commit to a net zero timeline.
But pressure is mounting, and according to Benjamin Heard and Jonathan Armstrong, we need to face the reality that nuclear energy should be part of the transition to net zero in Australia.
The expression net zero has swiftly become a global rallying cry that has taken a firm hold at the highest levels of policy.
It is an elegant, scientifically-robust concept, focused on an outcome – emit no more greenhouse gas than we can remove.
Given global emissions of carbon dioxide alone from combustion of coal, oil and gas are around 33 billion metric tonnes per year, the emphasis must be on the “zero”.
We cannot plausibly remove or store emissions on that scale – we must in fact halt emissions on that scale.
This requires technologies, processes and systems of social organization with zero climate impact that enable people to continue to live in health, safety, security and reasonable prosperity.