The International Energy Agency released a new report today, Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, finding that global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2012 increased by 1.4 percent, reaching a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes. Energy-related emissions account for around two-thirds of total global greenhouse gas emissions. The report contains four specific recommendations to keep the world within 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise.
Following is a statement by Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute:
“Global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions are heading toward dangerous and unfamiliar territory. Projected temperature rise is approaching thresholds where the consequences would be truly dire. It’s not too late to prevent such an outcome, but the window to avoid dire impacts is closing quickly. These are some of the takeaways from the new report from the IEA, the autonomous organization focused on energy and economics, made up of 28 member countries.
“The common assumption is that action to reduce emissions is prohibitively expensive, but the evidence confirms that this is a flawed view. In fact, inaction is far more costly, risky and irresponsible. There are clear advantages to getting ahead and investing in low-carbon energy sources today, rather than trying to make corrections and retrofit equipment and infrastructure later on.
“The IEA’s new report offers affordable and common sense measures to rein in energy-related emissions. The core steps are to increase energy efficiency; limit emissions from coal-fired power plants; reduce leakage of methane from oil and gas production; and cut subsidies for fossil fuels. Importantly, the report finds that these steps can be achieved with no net economic cost.
“The IEA’s recommendations are consistent with WRI’s recent analysis, which finds that the U.S. Administration needs additional federal actions to reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
“It’s time for the Obama Administration to lay a national climate plan, including the specific steps it intends to take. Fittingly, the recent announcement by th eU.S. and China to work together to reduce HFCs is a welcome step to address a potent greenhouse gas outside of the energy sector.
“As UN climate talks continue this week in Bonn, Germany, IEA’s analysis should jolt negotiators into a far greater sense of urgency to develop an ambitious and equitable climate agreement by 2015. At the same time, this agreement would not go into effect until 2020, so countries need to ramp up their ambition in the near term.
“The report confirms that further delays will gravely shift the burden to future generations. They would be the ones to endure the economic cost of retrofitting infrastructure, and moreover the societal weight of flooded cities, risks to food production, far greater water scarcity, loss of coral reefs, and other climate-related impacts.
“Our national leaders—in government, business, and civil society—have it within their power to prevent this future. It’s our collective responsibility to accelerate action on this global challenge.”