Energy sector key to climate deal, says IEA

15th June 2015


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Any deal at Paris climate summit in December must have the energy sector at its core or risk failure, the chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today.

In a special report on energy and climate change, the IEA said global emissions of greenhouse-gases from the production and consumption of energy double those from all other sources combined, so action to combat climate change must focus first on the energy sector. “Any climate agreement reached at COP21 must have the energy sector at its core or risk being judged a failure,” said IEA chief economist Fatih Birol.

The IEA has proposed four pillars it believes are necessary to make the UNFCCC negotiations in Paris in December a success:

  • Set the conditions to achieve an early peak in global energy-related emissions through existing policies and technologies, such as increasing energy efficiency and reducing methane emissions from oil and gas production.
  • Review national climate targets regularly, to test the possibility of raising ambition.
  • Translate the world’s climate goal into a collective long-term target to reduce emissions, making it more straightforward to apply in the energy sector.
  • Establish a process for tracking achievements in the energy sector to provide clear evidence to the international community of progress and to identify countries that are struggling with implementation.

Collectively, countries accounting for around two-thirds of global energy-related emissions have so far either formally submitted their climate pledges, known as intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), or have signalled their possible content, according to the IEA.

The organisation believes that these pledges will have a positive impact on future energy trends, but fall short of limiting temperature rise to 2°C. They show that the growth in global energy-related emissions slows but does not peak by 2030, said the IEA.

“Climate pledges submitted for COP21 are an important first step to meeting our climate goal, and our report shows that they will have a material impact on future energy trends,” said Birol.

The agency’s research shows that link between economic growth and emissions will weaken significantly between now and 2030, with the global economy set to grow by 88% and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 8% over the next 15 years. It forecasts that renewables will be the leading source of electricity by 2030, but warns that inefficient coal-fired power generation capacity will only decline slightly.

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