A global investment of $10.5 trillion in low-carbon technologies, particularly renewables and energy efficiency, is needed if the worst effects of climate change are to be staved off, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) published yesterday indicates that the recession has been good news on one hand by driving down energy use for the first time since 1981, but has also seriously curtailed investment in new low-carbon technologies.
The IEA is concerned that as the world starts to move out of recession, development of low carbon technologies will have fallen behind.
To redress the balance, the IEA is calling for a major shift in electricity generation to low-carbon sources and a switch to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles by 2030.
The ‘Green Growth’ or ‘450 Scenario’ modelled in the report, which would see fossil fuel demand peak by 2020, also relies very heavily on energy efficiency – accounting for half of the energy savings achieved by 2030.
The 450 Scenario would limit the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million and global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
The IEA report also modelled a scenario based on a continuation of the current trajectory of global energy consumption, which would see energy demand and emissions rise 1.5% a year until 2030.
“The outlook provides both a caution and grounds for optimism,” says Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the IEA. “Caution, because a continuation of current trends in energy use puts the world on track for a rise in temperature of up to 6°C and optimism, because there are cost-effective solutions.”
For further information:
Energy efficiency could yield energy savings worth $1.2 trillion, says McKinsey (30-Jul)
IEA urges international government action on renewables (2-Oct 2008)
International Energy Agency launches ‘landmark’ report ahead of G8 Summit (7-Jul 2008)
11 November 2009