Investments in new fossil fuel supply projects must stop immediately if the world is to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.
The Paris-based energy watchdog also said in a report that reaching the goal of net zero would require a rapid acceleration in wind and solar capacity and a halt in sales of combustion-engine cars. ‘by 2035.
The IEA said it was crucial to achieve net zero emissions to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – a target set in the Paris climate agreement. 2015.
The United States joined the deal earlier this year and is proposing to cut emissions in half by the end of the decade. Other signatories such as the European Union and the UK have said they plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Large companies in several highly polluting sectors have set similar net zero targets before the United Nations COP26 climate conference later this year.
However, the IEA has said that government climate commitments so far – even if fully met – will be a long way from reaching net zero emissions by the middle of this century.
Offering what it claims to be the first comprehensive roadmap to achieving that goal, the IEA has said greater investment is needed along with seismic changes in the way the world produces and uses energy.
The report highlights the changes needed to ensure that a path to “net zero emissions by 2050 – narrow but still achievable – is not lost,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, who added that he expected the increase in clean energy spending to increase. the global economy and the labor market.
Several of the world’s largest oil companies, including BP BP 1.61%
PLC, Royal Dutch Shell RDS.A 1.46%
PLC and Total HER,
signaled their intention to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and invest more in low-carbon energy.
However, the IEA’s suggestions go far beyond what any of these companies have undertaken so far, with many still relying on oil and gas revenues to fund their operations. transition plans.
Most countries have also stopped calling for an end to new fossil fuel projects.
Among the world’s oil-producing countries, only Denmark – a small producer by global standards – has said it will halt further oil and gas exploration, similar moves from France and New Zealand. -Zeeland being considered more as symbolic gestures.
The IEA has said that if the global supply of oil and gas shrinks in line with its roadmap, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – the cartel that currently controls more than a third of the world’s supply – would control by 2050 more than half of the world’s oil. supply.
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The IEA’s call to end sales of combustion-engine cars by the middle of the next decade also goes beyond the stated policies of many developed countries, although the UK recently presented its plan to phase out the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars. until 2030.
While companies and governments are pushing the adoption of electric vehicles, they accounted for just 4.6% of vehicles sold in 2020, the IEA said.
At the same time, the IEA has said that investment in the global energy sector will need to more than double to reach $ 5 trillion by 2030 from its current level of $ 2 trillion to secure supply. reliable and energy efficient with low carbon emissions. This will quadruple the annual growth of solar and wind power by the end of the decade, according to the report, even after the record growth rate of 2020.
While most of the carbon emission reductions needed by 2030 can be met through methods already widely used, the IEA said, nearly half of the reductions needed by 2050 will depend on technologies that are currently little used or at their disposal. prototype stage.
The IEA highlighted low-carbon hydrogen, advanced batteries and carbon capture among the technologies it said needed to be scaled up quickly.
Write to David Hodari at [email protected]
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