IEA says carbon budget will be exhausted by 2040

26th November 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Generation

Author

Leslie Harrod

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.

The IEA advocates reforming energy subsidies. These totalled $550 billion for fossil fuels in 2013, which the agency says held back investment in efficiency and renewables. Global renewable energy subsidies totalled $120 billion in 2013.

Renewable energy will account for almost half of the global increase in total electricity generation to 2040, with its share increasing most in developed countries, reaching 37%. Renewable power generation is also forecast to grow in China, India, Latin America and Africa.


Transform articles

National climate plans could see fossil fuel demand peak by 2025

Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if all national net-zero pledges are implemented in full and on time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.

15th October 2021

Read more

The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.

23rd September 2021

Read more

COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.

23rd September 2021

Read more

Half of the world's 40 largest listed oil and gas companies will have to slash their production by at least 50% by the 2030s to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, new analysis has found.

9th September 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert