(Bloomberg) -- Russia welcomed a US-led initiative to triple global nuclear power capacity in a rare instance of agreement as nations seek to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

The US and 21 other countries, including France, the UK and Ukraine, signed a declaration at the weekend to work toward tripling global nuclear power capacity by the middle of the century to help limit an increase in the global temperature to 1.5C.

“Without nuclear energy it is impossible to achieve climate goals,” Deputy Economy Minister Vladimir Ilyichev said an in interview during the COP28 UN climate conference in Dubai.

While Moscow didn’t sign up to the pact, Ilyichev described the formal document on the role of nuclear power as a “positive shift.” Russia, which is one of the world’s biggest producers of nuclear energy and fossil fuels, will also continue to promote natural gas as a low emission source of energy, he said.

Although neither the US nor European countries currently work with Moscow in a bilateral format, sooner or later discussions should return to a reasonable set-up given Russia’s place on the climate change map, Ilyichev said. Sanctions imposed by the US and allies over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year hinder climate negotiations with Russia, he said. 


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