At an upcoming United Nations climate summit, the International Energy Agency is urging governments to make stronger commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, warning that the world is not on track to meet environmental goals and that new clean energy investment is needed to “jolt the energy system onto a new set of rails.”
In its annual world energy outlook released Wednesday, the Paris-based international group stated that significant progress has been achieved in moving away from fossil fuels by depending on more wind and solar energy, while electric vehicles are establishing sales records.
However, the research claims that as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 epidemic, there has been a resurgence in the consumption of coal and oil, as well as an increase in emissions. Carbon dioxide is produced when fossil fuels are burned, and it is this gas that scientists blame for climate change.
“The world’s enormously promising clean energy momentum is colliding with fossil fuels’ tenacious incumbency in our energy systems,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, which represents 30 countries.
The summit’s governments must “send a clear and unequivocal signal” that they are committed to swiftly scaling up future clean and resilient technologies. The social and economic benefits of hastening clean energy transitions are enormous, as are the consequences of doing nothing.”
According to the research, the recovery is putting huge stresses on portions of the energy system, resulting to substantial increases in natural gas, coal, and power costs as global energy consumption is expected to reclaim ground lost during the epidemic last year.
In Asia, in particular, electricity demand has “roared back,” resulting in an increase in the usage of coal-fired power plants. According to the study, such energy shortages were a foreshadowing of more disruption to come if investment in alternative energy sources did not grow.
Representatives from more than 200 nations will convene in Glasgow, Scotland, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, often known as COP26, to debate new objectives for reducing or slowing the increase of emissions that contribute to climate change.
The objective of the 2015 Paris climate agreement is to keep global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, with attempts to keep it under 1.5 degrees.
To meet the 1.5-degree limit, the United Nations’ scientific committee on climate change has said that emissions must be reduced to net zero — when greenhouse gases are cancelled out by their removal from the atmosphere — by 2050.
According to Birol, existing promises will only achieve 20% of the reduction needed by 2030 to attain net zero emissions by 2050. To “jolt the energy system onto a new set of tracks,” he added, investment in renewable energy and infrastructure will have to quadruple over the next decade. The majority of that money would have to come from emerging and developing nations, where finance is often short and public health is still a problem.
According to the EPA, there is only a “narrow but realistic” road to net zero.