Energy industry is off-track for climate goals

Summary

Article

The majority of sectors and technologies are currently failing to keep up with their long-term climate, energy, and air pollution goals. This is according to a recent report about the energy industry by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In the report, researchers from the IEA have assessed a full range of energy technologies to offer a clear outline of clean energy progress made in 2019. The report revealed that only 6 out of 46 technologies and sectors were “on track” to reach the necessary goals that would allow them to meet the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The list of sources that remain “off track” includes the power sector, which accounts for approximately 40 per cent of energy-related CO2 emissions. This is the third year in a row that the power sector has failed to meet its target.

Examples of technologies that are “on track” include electric vehicles, lighting and data centres. However, according to the authors of the reports, these industries account for only a small share of potential emissions reductions.

An additional area of concern that the report identifies is the reduction in fuel economy improvements as car buyers continue to purchase bigger vehicles. This is also impacting targets to reduce air pollution.

According to the authors, the crisis of COVID-19 could be detrimental to future clean energy progress. With a prolonged economic decline and perhaps low fossil fuel prices, we could see a delay in investments in clean energy and sustainability slip down political agendas.

Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director said: “Here were warning signs even before the crisis, which is now threatening to further slow the development of clean energy technologies”

“This is not the time to take our foot off the pedal. Our latest findings make clear the urgent need for governments to do more to foster the growth of these technologies, which can create jobs, stimulate economic growth and also help us accelerate transitions to cleaner energy systems.”

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