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All announced pledges to limit global warming will not get us to 1.5C, IEA warns – Buzz.ie

Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if countries meet their climate pledges.

However, according to the latest World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA), plans to cut global carbon emissions will fall short of their 2050 net zero target by 60 per cent.

A ‘guidebook’ for Cop26

This year’s World Energy Outlook has been designed as a “guidebook to Cop26”.

It highlights the gaps between the policies in place, the ambitions set out in countries’ climate pledges and the significant additional efforts needed to keep global warming below 1.5C. The IEA calls this decade up to the year 2030 “crucial”.

“Government leaders in Glasgow must play their part by making the 2020s a decade of massive clean energy deployment,” the report said.

In order for this to happen, low-carbon electricity sources such as wind and solar need to be utilised. There also needs to be a focus on energy efficiency and clean energy innovation as well as “a broad drive to cut methane emissions from fossil fuel operations.”

It says a successful transition towards 1.5C would avoid “immense risks” from climate inaction and create a $1.2 trillion (€1.037 trillion) market for clean energy that would rival the current size of the oil industry.

For the first time, the IEA has put a Paris-compliant pathway at the heart of its report.

Changes required to reach the net zero target

The necessary changes to reach the new zero target are “stark”, the outlook said.

“This [outlook] provides stark warnings about the pathway that we are on, but also clear headed analysis of the actions that can bring the world onto a path towards a 1.5C future,” the report said.

Up to $4 trillion (€3.46 trillion) in investment is required over the next decade to bridge the divide between current plans and a 1.5C future.

Up to 70 per cent of that $4 trillion must flow into emerging markets and developing economies if we are to reach net zero.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director said, “We are witnessing an unsustainable recovery from the pandemic.”

The report found that global energy-related carbon emissions are on track to rise by 1.2 billion tonnes in 2021. That increase represents the second largest absolute rise in history.

Looking to Cop26

While Birol called for developing economies in particular to make tougher commitments to reducing carbon emissions, he said this could not happen without leaders of wealthier nations attending Cop26 and taking steps to unlock the flow of money into emerging economies.

Birol said the most powerful world leaders could make it a “mandatory task” for organisations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to prioritise clean energy projects in those countries, acting as a catalyst for private capital.

The current global energy crisis

The report also outlines what it believes are the key reasons for the soaring energy prices at the moment. In spite of what many EU nations have been saying, it is “inaccurate and misleading” to blame the transition to clean energy for the spike in prices.

Instead the report blames a rapid economic rebound for last year’s pandemic-induced pause in the industry, weather-related factors and some planned and unplanned outages on the supply side.

Economic opportunities of net zero

While the IEA warns that there is not enough progress towards net zero, the organisation said much of the extra investment required to reach the target could be done relatively easily.

More than 40 per cent of the actions required are cost-effective, the report said. These include improving efficiency, limiting gas leakage and installing wind or solar in areas where they are already cheap and efficient.

The report also found that a total of 13 million jobs would be created if all announced pledges are fulfilled, under net zero that figure doubles.

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