Energy agency urges greater global push to cut emissions

The International Energy Agency urges governments to make stronger commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the upcoming UN climate summit, warning that the world is not on track to meet environmental targets and that a new investment in clean energy to “push the energy system a new set of rails”.

The Paris-based international organization said Wednesday in its annual global energy outlook that great strides have been made to move away from fossil fuels by relying on more wind and solar power, while electric vehicles are setting sales records.

But the economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic has also seen an increase in the use of coal and oil, according to the report, as well as a jump in emissions. Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas to which scientists attribute climate change.

“The world’s hugely encouraging clean energy push is colliding with the stubborn role of fossil fuels in our energy systems,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the 30-country IEA.

Governments attending the summit were to “give a clear and unequivocal signal that they are committed to rapidly scaling up the clean and resilient technologies of the future. The social and economic benefits of accelerating transitions to clean energy are enormous, and the costs of inaction are immense. ” . ”

The report said the recovery was putting great pressure on parts of the energy system, prompting sharp increases in prices for natural gas, coal and electricity, as global energy demand will regain ground lost last year during the pandemic.

Demand for electricity, in particular, has returned “strongly” in Asia, leading to an increase in the use of coal plants. Those energy reductions were the prelude to more disruptions to come if investment in new energy sources did not increase, according to the report.

Representatives from more than 200 countries will meet for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, to discuss new targets to reduce or slow the growth of emissions that contribute to climate change. .

The goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement is to limit the rise in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing efforts to limit the rise to 1, 5 degrees.

The UN’s scientific committee on climate change has said that emissions must be reduced to zero, when greenhouse gases are offset by their removal from the atmosphere, by 2050 to reach the 1.5-degree limit.

Birol said current government pledges would result in only 20% of the reduction by 2030 needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. He said investment in clean energy and infrastructure would have to triple over the next decade “to drive the energy system to a new game or rails. ”Most of that spending would have to come from emerging and developing economies, where funding may be scarce and still facing a public health crisis.

There was only a “narrow but achievable” path to net zero left, according to the agency.

The financial think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative said the report was “a real guide to managing the climate crisis,” but cautioned that it “remains overly cautious about declines in renewables costs and growth rates across the board. the world”.

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