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 Power Company (IEA) mentioned on Wednesday.

The IEA, which advises governments on power coverage, launched its annual World Power 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 buyers over the long run use of coal, oil and fuel.

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

However on this 12 months’s WEO report, the IEA has urged governments to toughen commitments to chop greenhouse fuel emissions.

What did the report spotlight?

Renewable power sources, similar to photo voltaic, wind, hydropower and bioenergy, must kind a far larger share within the rebound in power funding after the coronavirus pandemic, the Paris-based company mentioned.

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

The IEA famous that demand for renewables continues to develop. Nonetheless, “this clear power progress remains to be far too sluggish to place international emissions into sustained decline in direction of internet 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 mentioned that the additional funding may not be as troublesome because it sounds.

“Greater than 40% of the required emissions reductions would come from measures that pay for themselves, similar to bettering effectivity, limiting fuel leakage, or putting in wind or photo voltaic in locations the place they’re now probably the most aggressive electrical energy technology applied sciences,” it mentioned.

Two eventualities

The IEA analyzed two potential eventualities.

The primary state of affairs appears 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 mentioned.

Below this state of affairs, temperatures within the 12 months 2100 can be 2.6 C larger than preindustrial ranges.

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

If international locations handle to implement these pledges in time, the worldwide common temperature enhance can be round 2.1 C by the 12 months 2100 — an enchancment, however nonetheless properly above the 1.5 Celsius agreed beneath 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 Atmosphere Institute, informed DW that the IEA has regularly moved towards a “extra distinct tone urging choice makers to mitigate local weather change.”

“Historically, [the] IEA has been somewhat ‘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 mentioned, including that he believes the IEA appears “nonetheless too constructive on oil and fuel.”

“In a approach, it’s a shift to a extra rational and reasonable 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 mentioned.

Stress forward of COP26

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

Environmental group Avaaz mentioned this 12 months’s WEO is “is a vital milestone within the lead as much as COP26.”

Avaaz mentioned Wednesday’s report means no new oil fields for COP26 host the UK, no fuel 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 help for fossil fuels,” mentioned 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 according to the 1.5-degree restrict they agreed to in Paris,” he informed DW.

“We’d like our leaders to cease listening to fossil gasoline CEOs and as an alternative comply with the science. Will they again up internet zero and 1.5 diploma commitments with quick motion to cease new oil, fuel and coal extraction, and surge cash into clear power and effectivity options?”

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