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Data: International Energy Agency; Chart: Axios Visuals

Nuclear power could fall by as much as two-thirds in developed nations by 2040 absent policy support and more investment, making it vastly harder to keep global warming in check, a new International Energy Agency report warns.

Why it matters: Nuclear is cumulatively the biggest zero-carbon power source in the nations IEA examined, which include the EU, the U.S. and Japan. A "significant" amount of this lost nuclear generation would be replaced by gas (and some coal) despite the surge in renewables, IEA said.

The big picture: The report is the latest to show how nuclear power is likely needed to help with the uphill climb of holding global temperature rise below 2°C.

Threat level: If nuclear drops by two-thirds, "cumulative CO2 emissions would rise by 4 billion tons by 2040, adding to the already considerable difficulties of reaching emissions targets."

  • The report arrives as long-running plants are shutting down and the pipeline of expensive new projects is small.

The intrigue: Building new plants is really expensive. But losing nuclear is even more costly, IEA argues.

  • "Without widespread lifetime extensions or new projects, electricity supply costs would be close to USD 80 billion higher per year on average for advanced economies as a whole," it states.

What's next: The report calls on regulators to extend operation of decades-old plants at risk of shutting down due to licenses ending or competitive pressures. It also has proposals to help spur new development.

  • Recommendations include various changes in market rules to better make continued operation of aging plants more attractive.
  • New projects can be made more likely and less risky with a combination of policies like price guarantees, carbon pricing, government-backed financing and more support for small modular reactors.

Go deeper: Green New Deal activists dismiss nuclear power

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.

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