New technologies could transform the global energy system, reducing carbon emissions, increasing energy security and generating a huge investment return, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In the latest version of its biennial energy technology publication, Energy Technology Perspectives 2012, the IEA says the technologies necessary to effect a transformation are there but nine out of ten are not on track to make the needed emission reductions.
Renewable technologies including hydro, biomass, onshore wind and solar photovoltaics are all making good progress, reports the IEA. But other key technologies like carbon capture and storage are lagging behind.
Earlier this year, the IEA issued a stern warning that more effort is urgently needed to rollout renewables and other carbon-saving technologies at a faster pace.
“While our efforts to bring about a clean energy transformation are falling further behind, I want to stress the golden opportunity before us: if significant policy action is taken, we can still achieve the huge potential for these technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and boost energy security,” says executive director Maria van der Hoeven.
Implementing new technologies may not be cheap, warns the IEA, but the benefits in the long-term will far outweigh the costs.
While some $36 trillion will be required to overhaul the world’s energy system by around 2050, reduced fossil fuel use could net $100 trillion in savings.
“With the window of opportunity closing fast, when will governments wake up to the dangers of complacency and adopt the bold policies that radically transform our energy system?” asks van der Hoeven.
For further information:
Global renewables investment soars to $257 billion (11-Jun)
IEA sets out rules for ‘golden age of gas’ (31-May)
WWF corporate ‘climate savers’ cut 100 million tonnes of emissions (11-May)
Clean energy is not being deployed quickly enough, warns IEA (25-Apr)
13 June 2012