International Energy Agency

International Energy Agency

Ministries with energy responsibilities must step up now to mitigate climate change - IEA


Source: International Energy Agency

“On this 10th Anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol agreement, we do not feel it is the time to celebrate”, said Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) today at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-13) in Bali. “CO2 emissions are already some 20 percent higher today than in 1997 and are set to increase even further and faster.” He referred to the IEA World Energy Outlook 2007 – China and India Insights (WEO), showing that, absent new policies, energyrelated carbon emissions will increase by almost 60%, reaching 42 billion tonnes (Gt) in 2030. This is higher than last year’s projection by 1.5 Gt because of much greater coal use than expected, driven by high oil and gas prices. Despite many ambitious policy instruments and rising energy prices, emissions continue to rise in IEA countries.

“More than ever, we need to act NOW. Energy production and uses are a big part of the problem: the energy sector and players must deliver the solution. For a start, all parts of governments with energy responsibilities must rapidly engage in designing effective policies”, Mr. Tanaka stressed. “Much stronger action is needed everywhere to curb, stabilise and reduce man-made CO2 emissions in the foreseeable future. We don’t have any time to lose; decisions need to be taken now and implementation has to begin immediately. The cost of inaction will be high otherwise. This is a
global problem and needs to be tackled on a global basis with the participation of all emitters.” IEA analyses show that a departure from current trends is possible by exploiting the immediate benefits of energy efficiency and deployment of known technologies, reinforced by new technologies that will only be available with much greater effort. “Whatever the outcome of this conference and the architecture of a new climate regime will be, these must form the foundation”, Mr. Tanaka said.

Year on year, IEA projections reinforce the critical role that energy efficiency and a better use of our resources can deliver on climate, energy security and welfare. The WEO demonstrates that by implementing policies under discussion today, CO2 emissions from OECD countries could begin declining by 2015; global emissions would stabilise by 2025 – with energy efficiency delivering the bulk of avoided emissions. The past two G8 Summits have endorsed 16 IEA concrete recommendations covering all energy end-uses, such as buildings (40% of OECD energy use), transport (using 60% of world oil) and lighting. If implemented globally, these initiatives alone could save 5.7 Gigatonnes of CO2 by 2030 – nearly a quarter of what we need to accomplish worldwide.

“The triple-win potential of energy efficiency ─ higher economic performance, higher energy security and less climate change ─ leads to three recommendations: implement, implement, implement”, Mr. Tanaka said, “for developed and emerging economies alike.”  “All parts of governments have a stake in energy. It is not just about the people gathered here in Bali, to come to grips with the climate change challenge. To realise the tremendous potential for improvements across the board, energy efficiency needs a well-designed and sustained policy push”, urged Mr. Tanaka. “This will pave the way for a least-cost strategy to reduce energy-related emissions in the long run.”

Energy-intensive industry around the world is increasingly sensitive to its responsibilities meeting the climate change challenge. Policy makers worldwide will have to set the policy framework within which industry can respond to the climate change challenge without detriment to their competitive position, without arbitrarily inducing migration of industrial activity and indeed, creating commercial incentive to adopting cleaner industrial processes. The IEA is well-engaged on this agenda. Abundant, secure, economical coal cannot be and is not being ignored. But our ability to use that coal in a sustainable way will depend on CO2 capture and storage (CCS). Yet we are not doing enough.

“The IEA calls on governments to step up their support to research in CCS – its development will not happen without it”, Mr. Tanaka emphasised and added, “We have said there is no single technology silver bullet, nor is there a single policy solution. We need a full range of mechanisms including sectoral approaches, emissions trading, tax incentives, performance-based regulation, fees or taxes, consumer labelling, technology co-operation and development. We need them all to achieve the massive energy transformation that the climate challenge poses to us. The IEA stands ready to advise on best policy choices in light of the energy sector realities.”

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