International Energy Agency says limiting warming to 1.5 degrees still possible

Global spending on the switch to cleaner energy must be ramped up significantly, an IEA report says.

Global spending on the switch to cleaner energy must be ramped up significantly, an IEA report says. Photo: AP

Record growth in clean energy technology, including solar panels and electric vehicles, means it is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says.

But it also says the world will need to invest nearly $US4.5 trillion ($7 trillion) per year in the transition to cleaner energy from the start of the next decade, up from spending of $US1.8 trillion ($2.8 trillion) expected in 2023.

Temperatures have hit record levels this year and global averages are about 1.1 degrees higher compared with the pre-industrial average.

That compares with the goal set by the 2015 UN Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rises well below 2 degrees, while pursuing efforts to limit them to 1.5 degrees to prevent the most severe consequences, such as drought, floods and increased wildfires.

In its update to its Net Zero Roadmap, which proposes scenarios to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century, the IEA said an increase in solar power capacity and in electric vehicle (EV) sales since 2021 were in line with targets, as well as infrastructure plans in both fields.

Much more effort, however, is still required as a tripling of global renewable capacity, a doubling of energy-efficient infrastructure, an increase in heat pump sales and a further rise in EV use are needed by 2030, the IEA said on Tuesday.

It also called for a 75 per cent cut in energy sector methane emissions by 2030, which would cost an estimated $US75 billion ($117 billion), just 2 per cent of net income received by the oil and gas industry in 2022.

The IEA pathway to net zero will also require an equitable transition, taking into account national circumstances and requiring advanced economies to reach net zero sooner than developing economies, the report said.

Despite this year’s extreme weather, politicians, mindful of the cost-of-living crisis and seeking re-election. have been backsliding on climate pledges.

“Governments need to separate climate from geopolitics, given the scale of the challenge at hand,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol.


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