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IEA: More Must Be Done to Avoid Climate Catastrophe


The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that existing climate policies will not be enough to end the upward trend in energy emissions.

The global energy watchdog says that governments and investors need to form a ‘grand coalition’ in order to prevent energy emissions rising beyond 2040.

According to the IEA, despite the progress made in renewable energy in recent times, carbon emissions reached a new record in 2018 from the global energy industry.

The growth of renewable energy is expected to accelerate over the next few decades, however the IEA warns that it will not be enough to put a stop to the energy sector’s emissions by 2040.

The IEA’s executive director, Dr Fatih Birol, said there is a big gap between existing policies and the aims to tackle climate change, claiming that these policies have facilitated a ‘relentless upward march’ in emissions.

Figures from the IEA predict that with the current policies in place, carbon emissions are to increase by 100m tonnes year-on-year for the next two decades at the very least.

Despite being about two-thirds slower than the increase in emissions recorded over the last few decades, it would not be anywhere near enough to hit the targets of the Paris agreement.

The energy watchdog said that it aimed to ‘hold up a mirror’ to government’s across the world by presenting the consequences of their combined policies.

“We will need to see great political will around the world,” Birol said. “This is why I believe that the world needs to build a grand coalition encompassing governments, investors, companies and everyone else who is genuinely committed to tackling climate change.”

“We think that governments’ current plans could bring us to a catastrophic implications for the climate of this planet. In order to be in line with the Paris targets there is a need for huge efforts in pushing energy efficiency, renewable energy and all other clean energy technologies,” Birol added.

The carbon emissions recorded for 2018 fell marginally short of levels that were forecasted by the IEA a decade ago. This is despite a rollout of wind and solar power that was much quicker than predicted.

The rapid increase of coal use in China, as well as lacklustre efforts towards improvements in energy efficiency, have been cited as reasons for the slow-down in the momentum of the switch to cleaner energy sources.

The IEA’s report outlines energy efficiency as being one of the most important factors in helping governments reduce carbon emissions. However even with the climate crisis climbing up the political agenda, record lows have been measured in the efforts to cut wasted energy.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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