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IEA Bids to Keep Climate Goals Alive Without Harming Economic Growth

The International Energy Agency has today urged governments to put in place four energy policies that it claims will “keep climate goals alive without harming economic growth”.

Speaking in London, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said: “Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities. But the problem is not going away – quite the opposite.”

The IEA wants to see a global temperature increase of no more than 2°C by 2020, but van der Hoeven said the figure was more likely to be between 3.6°C and 5.3°C.

Yet she stressed that “much more can be done to tackle energy sector emissions without jeopardising economic growth – an important concern for many governments”.

Last year in the U.S., a switch from coal to gas in power generation helped cut emissions by 200 million tonnes (Mt), bringing emissions back down to mid-1990s levels. Meanwhile, China experienced the largest growth in CO2 emissions (300 Mt), “but the increase was one of the lowest it has seen in a decade, driven by the deployment of renewables and improvements in energy intensity”, says the IEA.

The IEA wants to see four measures put into policy by governments worldwide:

  • Targeted energy efficiency measures in buildings, industry and transport;
  • Limiting the construction and use of the least-efficient coal-fired power plants;
  • Actions to halve expected methane (a potent greenhouse gas) releases into the atmosphere from the upstream oil and gas industry;
  • Implementing a partial phase-out of fossil fuel consumption subsidies.

Lead image: climate change via Shutterstock