Carbon emissions spiking despite clean energy surge

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The year is putting the second largest global carbon emissions jump on record as fossil fuel use rebounds after the pandemic-fueled recession of 2020, a new international energy agency Gets the report.

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why it matters: It shows how, despite increases in renewable energy, the global energy system is far from an emissions-reduction path that achieves the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming.

  • The IEA calls the World Energy Outlook – a data-rich, nearly 400-page look at policy, technology, investment and supply trends and landscapes – a “handbook” for COP26, the major UN climate summit that will take place on 31 October. Starts in Glasgow. , Scotland.
  • The summit aims to encourage countries to take strong steps to promote the deployment of technologies including solar, electric cars, clean hydrogen, efficiency and more, while reducing fossil fuels – particularly coal.

threat level: “The world’s extremely encouraging clean energy momentum is going against the stubborn power of fossil fuels in our energy systems,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement.

  • He said the UN summit should provide a “clear and unmistakable signal” that nations are committed to “rapidly enhancing the clean and resilient technologies of the future”.
  • “Public spending on sustainable energy in economic recovery packages has mobilized only a third of the investment needed to shock the energy system,” the report said.

how it works: The report covers scenarios ranging from countries’ current policies on expected emissions and temperature rise, what happens if they actually implement existing pledges under the Paris Agreement, and more.

  • This compares with Paris goals of limiting temperature rise to “well below” 2 °C (3.6 °F) and ideally to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) compared to pre-industrial levels. – Benchmark climate change to avoid some of the worst impacts.

big picture: if – else it’s a Huge If nations deliver on their Paris promises and announce long-term goals, the IEA projects a 40% drop in energy-related emissions by 2050.

  • Clean energy investment and finance will double over the next decade, but it is “not enough to overcome the inertia of today’s energy system.” The global temperature rise in 2100 is 2.1 °C (3.9 °F) but is still rising.
  • However, even those commitments are projected to create and implement policies. “Governments need to do a lot to fully deliver on their declared promises,” the report said.
  • In contrast, under existing and announced policies, the IEA projects temperature rise to reach and continue to rise to 2.6 °C (4.7 °F) above pre-industrial levels in 2100, surpassing the Paris target.
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yes but: The report models investments and policies over the next 10 years that will set the world on a path to net-zero emissions in 2050 that avoids slipping the 1.5°C target.

  • These include a “huge” push toward electrification that, among other steps, doubles the wind and solar deployment than foreseen under current pledges.
  • Also on the menu: “relentless” focus on efficiency, more aggressive moves to cut methane emissions from oil and gas operations and technological innovation that sets the stage for post 2030 emissions reductions achievable with existing technologies Is.

By numbers: Going down the 1.5°C path requires an “increase” of about $4 trillion annually by 2030 in annual investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure, the IEA said.

However, Birol notes: “The social and economic benefits of accelerating the clean energy transition are enormous, and the cost of inaction is enormous.”

  • The report provides significant emissions reductions at no additional cost to electricity consumers, and that the energy efficiency benefits save consumers money.
  • It also sees huge market opportunities for manufacturers of solar panels, batteries, hydrogen production equipment and more.

Intrigue: The report comes amid the recent surge in the prices of natural gas, electricity, oil and coal.

  • The IEA notes “the major reasons for these sharp increases in energy prices are not related to efforts to transition to clean energy.”
  • But that doesn’t mean that “the clean energy transition in the coming years will be free of instability,” the IEA says.


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