The UN Climate Change Conference COP26 was held in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12, 2021. More than 190 world leaders, as well as tens of thousands of government representatives, business people and citizens, came together to address the imminent threat of climate change and set clear pathways for transitioning to a net-zero economy. The topic of nuclear fusion was also represented at several events at the climate summit.
On November 4, ITER presented the status of fusion research worldwide at the Action Hub, an amphitheater in the middle of the conference site. After an introduction on the history of fusion research, a "world tour" featured seven nuclear fusion projects in two-minute videos: JT-60SA in Japan, KSTAR in Korea, the EAST tokamak in China, the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator in Germany, the European JET in the United Kingdom, the U.S. fusion start-up Commonwealth Fusion Systems, and General Fusion, a privately funded project in Canada that uses a technology called magnetized target fusion. The full video from the Action Hub can be viewed here.
On "Youth Day" on November 5, two panel discussions were held that addressed the Net Zero transition from a youth perspective. While the first discussion, "Youth and Net Zero", focused on the role of youth in the Net Zero transition, the topic of the second discussion, "Net Zero Beyond 2050", was the role of fusion energy in long term, sustainable energy world. Both panel discussions can be viewed here.
Finally, on November 12, UKAEA hosted a panel discussion with an international panel at the UK Pavilion to talk about the future of nuclear fusion. The panel discussion "Looking to the Future with Fusion Energy", chaired by ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot, featured Amanda Quadling (UKAEA's Director of Materials), Aneeqa Khan (University of Manchester), Sibylle Günter (Scientific Director of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics), and Jane Hotchkiss (President of Energy for the Common Good). Participants stressed the importance of nuclear fusion as a sustainable and clean future energy source and called for more support and input from science, technology, engineering, education and communication. You can watch the panel discussion here.