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IEA warns world’s clean energy transition is ‘too slow’

Funding in renewable power might want to triple by the top of this decade if the world’s local weather pledges are to be met, the Worldwide Vitality Company (IEA) stated on Wednesday.

The IEA, which advises governments on power coverage, launched its annual World Vitality Outlook (WEO) report Wednesday, simply weeks earlier than the United Nations COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The report additionally comes as energy costs surge to report ranges amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions worldwide.

The broadly watched annual outlook shapes expectations amongst governments, corporations and traders over the longer term use of coal, oil and gasoline.

Critics have lengthy accused the IEA of underestimating the velocity at which the world might swap to renewables, thereby undermining the struggle in opposition to local weather change.

However on this yr’s WEO report, the IEA has urged governments to strengthen commitments to chop greenhouse gasoline emissions.

What did the report spotlight?

Renewable power sources, reminiscent of photo voltaic, wind, hydropower and bioenergy, must type a far greater share within the rebound in power funding after the coronavirus pandemic, the Paris-based company stated.

“We aren’t investing sufficient to fulfill for future power wants, and the uncertainties are setting the stage for a risky interval forward,” stated IEA chief Fatih Birol.

The IEA famous that demand for renewables continues to develop. Nevertheless, “this clear power progress continues to be far too gradual to place international emissions into sustained decline in the direction of web zero” by 2050, which the IEA believes will assist restrict the rise in international temperatures to 1.5 levels Celsius (2.7 levels Fahrenheit).

The IEA additionally stated that the additional funding won’t be as tough because it sounds.

“Greater than 40% of the required emissions reductions would come from measures that pay for themselves, reminiscent of enhancing effectivity, limiting gasoline leakage, or putting in wind or photo voltaic in locations the place they’re now essentially the most aggressive electrical energy era applied sciences,” it stated.

Two situations

The IEA analyzed two attainable situations.

The primary state of affairs seems on the measures and insurance policies that governments have already put in place. Regardless of the measures, annual worldwide emissions would nonetheless be the identical as growing international locations construct up their infrastructure, the company stated.

Below this state of affairs, temperatures within the yr 2100 could be 2.6 C larger than preindustrial ranges.

The second state of affairs seems at governments’ pledges to realize net-zero emissions, probably doubling clear power funding over the following decade.

If international locations handle to implement these pledges in time, the worldwide common temperature enhance could be round 2.1 C by the yr 2100 — an enchancment, however nonetheless nicely above the 1.5 Celsius agreed underneath the Paris accord, the IEA concluded.

A change of tone

Environmental activists and organizations had beforehand accused the IEA of supporting continued funding in fossil fuels.

Mans Nilsson, govt director of the environmental group Stockholm Surroundings Institute, informed DW that the IEA has progressively moved towards a “extra distinct tone urging resolution makers to mitigate local weather change.”

“Historically, [the] IEA has been slightly ‘tender’ on fossil power and bearish on the potential of renewables. Their overly pessimistic forecasts of the event of set up prices for photo voltaic and wind have been notorious,” he added.

“This has now been rectified,” he stated, including that he believes the IEA appears “nonetheless too constructive on oil and gasoline.”

“In a method, it’s a shift to a extra rational and real looking view on the power transition. It is usually a shift to a extra activist method, which is a development in lots of multilateral [organizations],” Nilsson stated.

Stress forward of COP26

Wednesday’s report signaled strain on governments to push for better local weather motion on the COP26 summit.

Environmental group Avaaz stated this yr’s WEO is “is a vital milestone within the lead as much as COP26.”

Avaaz stated Wednesday’s report means no new oil fields for COP26 host the UK, no gasoline within the Mediterranean for G20 president Italy and no coal mining for incoming G7 president Germany.

“Many governments have relied on the WEO up to now to justify their assist for fossil fuels,” stated David Tong of the Worth of Oil nongovernmental group, which advocates transitioning to wash power.

“At COP26, [governments] will compromise their credibility in the event that they ignore the IEA’s steering now, when it’s lastly per the 1.5-degree restrict they agreed to in Paris,” he informed DW.

“We want our leaders to cease listening to fossil gasoline CEOs and as a substitute comply with the science. Will they again up web zero and 1.5 diploma commitments with quick motion to cease new oil, gasoline and coal extraction, and surge cash into clear power and effectivity options?”

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