13 October (NWN) — The International Energy Agency said ahead of the upcoming climate change conference that commitments by world governments to zero-zero emissions by 2050 will be reduced by 60%.
In its annual World Energy Outlook, the agency said that if all countries successfully fulfill their stated promises, energy-related carbon emissions would drop by 40% by mid-century.
“Governments need to do a lot more to fully deliver on their declared promises,” the agency said in the report.
COP26, a major world climate change conference, will begin next week in Glasgow, Scotland. More than 50 countries, including the entire European Union, have pledged to meet net-zero targets, the report said.
While the agency’s report said its findings are “dire,” it said its message is “still an optimistic one.” There is a need for a “laser-like focus” on clean electrification, reducing methane emissions and increasing investment in green energy, the report said.
“Many of the functions described are cost-effective, and the cost of the remaining is insignificant compared to the extreme risks of inaction,” it said.
The report also pointed to progress in phasing out coal, noting that China’s commitment to building no more plants using the carbon-intensive fuel is significant. But it said phasing out coal would require a “broad-based and dedicated policy effort” that takes into account the impacts on jobs and energy security.
However, the investment will come at a cost. According to the report, $4 trillion will be spent on clean energy projects and infrastructure upgrades over the next decade.
It said that seventy percent of the additional spending would be needed on emerging markets and developing economies. The report has placed the responsibility of fully meeting these targets in the hands of governments.
But the agency’s executive director Fatih Birol told the Guardian that major economies reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic had already missed opportunities to invest in clean energy.
“We are seeing a sustained recovery from the pandemic,” he told the paper.
Birol provided a possible way forward. He called on world leaders to make investment in clean energy profitable and to prioritize clean energy investment from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.