IEA sees some hope on GHG; wants billions more in renewable funds

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued a report saying there is some encouraging news about curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but to ensure continued progress, nations should increase investment in renewable energy.

The IEA posted its report “Energy and Climate Change” on its website June 15. It is part of IEA’s continuing World Energy Outlook series.

Energy production and use account for two-thirds of the world’s GHG emissions, meaning that the pledges made at the upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) must bring deep cuts in these emissions, while yet sustaining the growth of the world economy, IEA said.

The use of low-carbon energy sources is expanding rapidly, and there are signs that growth in the global economy and energy-related emissions may be starting to de-couple, IEA said in a 10-page executive summary of the report.

“The global economy grew by around 3% in 2014 but energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions stayed flat, the first time in at least 40 years that such an outcome has occurred outside economic crisis,” IEA said.

Renewables accounted for nearly half of all new power generation capacity in 2014, led by growth in China, the United States, Japan and Germany, with investment remaining strong (at $270bn) “and costs continuing to fall,” IEA said.

The energy intensity of the global economy dropped by 2.3% in 2014, more than double the average rate of fall over the last decade, a result stemming from improved energy efficiency and structural changes in some economies, such as China, IEA said.

Further progress depends on five measures, IEA said. They include: 1) increased energy efficiency; 2) reducing the use of the least-efficient coal power plants and banning their construction; 3) increase investment in renewable energy technology from $270bn in 2014 to $400bn in 2030; 4) phasing out fossil fuel subsidies by 2030 and 5) reducing methane emissions in oil and gas production.

IEA “has long emphasized to its members and the world at large that energy production and use which is not compatible with international environmental requirements is not sustainable: it fails the test of energy security,” the organization said.

The IEA is an autonomous organization which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond. Canada, the United States and many major European economies were among the IEA founding members in 1974.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.