The world’s surging demand for fossil fuels is overshadowing progress on renewables and energy efficiency, warned the International Energy Agency (IEA) yesterday.
The warning came as the IEA presented its first Clean Energy Progress Report, which looks at the global deployment of clean energy technologies, at a meeting in Abu Dhabi.
Over the past decade, coal has met nearly half (47%) of new global electricity demand. To change this dependence, much more aggressive clean energy policies will be needed, the IEA says.
The Agency is calling for the end to fossil fuel subsidies, which are worth around $312 billion a year, and the implementation of long-term reliable, transparent and flexible incentives for clean energy.
“Despite countries’ best efforts, the world is coming ever closer to missing targets that we believe are essential for meeting the goal agreed in Cancun to limit the growth in global average temperatures to less than 2° Celsius,” deputy executive director of the IEA Richard Jones told the meeting in Abu Dhabi.
He added that the transition is possible for a number of countries demonstrating major changes in their use of cleaner technologies. Ten countries – up from just three in 2000 – now boast sizable domestic solar markets, and wind power has also seen massive growth, according to the report.
But despite these positive trends and the progress in other renewable technologies, overall renewable electricity generation has grown an average of 2.7% a year since 1990, less than the 3% growth in total electricity generation.
“Achieving the goal of halving global energy-related CO2 emissions by 2050 will require a doubling of all renewable generation use by 2020 from today’s level,” concludes the report.
As well as increasing reliance on renewables, the IEA also says that “extensive deployment” of carbon capture and storage (CCS) – around 100 large-scale demonstration projects by 2020 and over 3000 by 2050 – will be necessary.
The report also urges governments around the world to accelerate the introduction of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles through long-term price incentives, support for infrastructure construction and consumer education programmes.
For further information:
Commission unveils plans for car-free European city centres by 2050 (29-Mar)
Global wind market will grow again this year, says forecast (17-Mar)
Global carbon capture projects increase by 10% in 2010, according to report (9-Mar)
Much stronger action on energy needed, says IEA (10-Nov 2010)
Eight countries join IEA to promote electric vehicles (7-Oct 2010)
07 April 2011