Warning that the world is not on track to limit the global temperature
increase to 2 degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Monday
urged governments to swiftly enact four energy policies that would keep climate
goals alive without harming economic growth.
The IEA is the energy watchdog for 28 industrialised countries, including
“Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy
priorities. But the problem is not going away – quite the opposite,” Maria van
der Hoeven, IEA executive director, said in London at the launch of a
World Energy Outlook Special Report,
'Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map,'
[pdf] which highlights the need for
intensive action before 2020.
The new IEA report presents the results of a
4-for-2 °C Scenario, in which four energy policies are selected that can deliver
significant emissions reductions by 2020, and rely only on existing technologies,
which already been adopted successfully in several countries.
“We identify a set of proven measures that could
stop the growth in global energy-related emissions by the end of this decade at
no net economic cost,” said IEA chief economist Fatih Birol, the report’s lead
author. “Rapid and widespread adoption could act as a bridge to further action,
buying precious time while international climate negotiations continue.”
In the 4-for-2°C Scenario, global energy-related
greenhouse-gas emissions are 8% (3.1 Gt CO2‑equivalent) lower in 2020
than the level otherwise expected.
Targeted energy efficiency measures in buildings, industry and transport
account for nearly half the emissions reduction in 2020, with the additional
investment required being more than offset by reduced spending on fuel
Limiting the construction and use of the least-efficient coal-fired
power plants delivers more than 20% of the emissions reduction and helps
curb local air pollution. The share of power generation from renewables
increases (from around 20% today to 27% in 2020), as does that from natural
Actions to halve expected methane (a potent greenhouse gas) releases
into the atmosphere from the upstream oil and gas industry in 2020 provide
18% of the savings.
Implementing a partial phase-out of fossil fuel consumption subsidies
accounts for 12% of the reduction in emissions and supports efficiency
Also on Monday, The New York Times
reported that the rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly
slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in
warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere
at a record pace.
says it turns out we had an earlier plateau in global warming, from roughly the
1950s to the 1970s, and scientists do not fully understand that one either. A
lot of evidence suggests that sunlight-blocking pollution from dirty factories
may have played a role, as did natural variability in ocean circulation. The
pollution was ultimately reduced by stronger clean-air laws in the West.
factory pollution from China and other developing countries could be playing a
similar role in blocking some sunlight."