North Atlantic Treaty Organization


Topic Summary

Should We Go Nuclear?: Deciding the Future of Nuclear Energy

Under current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, scientists predict that the world will likely face a climate catastrophe by the end of this century. Evidently, something needs to change. The 2015 Paris Climate Accords point to the critical role of nuclear energy in helping countries to reach net zero emissions in the near future. With almost no greenhouse gas emissions aside from water vapor, nuclear energy seems to present an obvious and sustainable solution to the world’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy production.

Nevertheless, many countries have been slow to transition to nuclear energy. The issue stems from a variety of ethical, national security, and health concerns that proponents of nuclear energy have had trouble confronting. There are questions of distributive justice: Should all countries be obligated to invest in nuclear energy? Should developed countries provide funds to developing countries to start their nuclear energy programs? There are also questions of health and security: How can countries develop the necessary infrastructure to pursue nuclear energy safely? How should countries prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials in underground markets? While nuclear energy may seem the obvious solution to the world’s climate crisis, these questions are daunting, and they will ignite debate in this committee about how the world should address not only nuclear energy but also the overarching issue of climate change.

Director’s Letter

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the International Atomic Energy Agency! My name is Michael Wallace, and I am beyond excited to serve as your director for HMUN 2020.


I am a sophomore at Harvard College studying Social Studies and Philosophy. I grew up in Wilton, Connecticut, and in high school I competed in parliamentary debate and ran cross country. At Harvard, in addition to directing for HMUN, I am a leader with the Harvard Outing Club, a member of the Environmental Policy Program at the Institute of Politics, and a writer for the Crimson. Although I participated in Model Congress rather than Model United Nations in high school, I have quickly come to love the Model United Nations community at Harvard. As a freshman, I served as an assistant director for the International Monetary Fund at HMUN 2019. This year, I am a director for business for HNMUN 2020 as well as your director for the International Atomic Energy Agency. All of my experiences with Model United Nations at Harvard have been incredibly fulfilling and memorable, and I am looking forward to seeing what this year’s conference has in store. I am especially excited to hear what ideas and innovations you will bring to committee.

In our committee, we will be considering the future of nuclear energy and its potential role in helping the world meet its responsibilities to reduce the effects of climate change. I hope that your experience in this committee gives you an appreciation of the policy challenges regarding nuclear energy and climate change. I also hope that it will inspire you to return to your own communities with new ideas about how to meet the world’s growing energy crisis. In my time with Harvard Model United Nations, I have learned that everyone has the potential to make an impact, and I am excited to see what impact you will make in this committee.

Best of luck as you prepare for HMUN 2020! If you have any questions or concerns before the conference, feel free to reach out to me.


Michael Wallace

Director, International Atomic Energy Agency

Harvard Model United Nations 2020