IEA says carbon budget will be exhausted by 2040
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Policy and market developments will not be enough to stem the rise in carbon dioxide emissions by 2040, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned in its annual analysis of world energy.
The agency has calculated that the share of fossil fuels in primary energy demand will fall to just under 75% by 2040. However, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will grow by 20% over the next 25 years, leading to an average global temperature rise of 3.6°C, higher than the 2°C cap scientists say is consistent with averting dangerous climate change.
To limit temperature rise to 2°C, the world cannot emit more than around 1,000 gigatonnes of CO2 from this year, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, the IEA calculates that this budget will be used up by 2040. “Since emissions are not going to drop suddenly to zero once this point is reached, it is clear that the 2°C objective requires urgent action to steer the energy system on to a safer path,” the agency’s latest report states.
“Advances in technology and efficiency give some reasons for optimism, but sustained political efforts will be essential to change energy trends for the better,” it concludes.
Changes to policy and markets, and a structural shift in world economies towards services and “lighter” industrial sectors, will limit the rise in the annual demand for energy to 1% after 2025, says the IEA. Over the past two decades, global demand has increased by more than 2% a year.
The agency predicts that energy demand will be “essentially flat” in much of Europe, Japan, Korea and North America. By contrast, demand in other Asian countries, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America will increase.
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