Monday, June 10, 2013

Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map: World Energy Outlook Special Report

The world is not doing enough to combat climate change. This June 10, 2013 report offers  four policy suggestions that would curb emissions and enable us to stay within 2 °C without incurring a net cost. 

This report is part of the IEA's efforts to provide reliable and unbiased research, statistics, analysis and recommendations. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. Founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis, the IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets.

To address the urgent need for action to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions situation the report recommends four specific energy measures which can be quickly and effectively implemented to arrest emissions at no net economic cost. Governments have agreed upon the need to collectively limit the average global temperature increase to no more than 2 °C but we are not expected to find an agreement before 2015 and new legal obligations will not begin before 2020. While many dismiss the hope of staying within 2 °C, this Special Report states that this goal is still viable if government put reforms to the energy sector at the top of their policy agendas.

1. 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 bills.

2. 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 gas.

3. 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.

4. Implementing a partial phase-out of fossil fuel consumption subsidies accounts for 12% of the reduction in emissions and supports efficiency efforts.

The report also reviews elements of action to achieve further reductions, after 2020. It also demonstrates that the energy sector, acting in its own best interest needs to immediately address the risks implicit in climate change.

To download the entire report click here (PDF)

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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