The International Energy Agency (IEA) has highlighted that while the adoption of electric vehicles and solar power is growing rapidly, other efforts to combat global warming are lagging behind. The IEA released an updated road map outlining the steps necessary to reduce global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050. This would help limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, a goal endorsed by world leaders to mitigate the risk of catastrophic climate disruptions.
Although progress has been made, with a 40% increase in global investment in low-emissions energy to $1.8 trillion this year and significant growth in solar power and electric vehicles in countries like China, the United States, and Europe, the report emphasizes that these solutions alone are not enough. The IEA suggests that additional measures are required, including reducing emissions from industries such as steel and cement production, upgrading electricity grids to support renewable energy, and increasing the use of nuclear power and clean hydrogen fuels.
The report also warns that countries are moving too slowly to meet the necessary targets. While it remains technically possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the window to do so is narrowing. Geopolitical conflicts, such as the tensions between China and the United States and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, could further complicate efforts to combat climate change.
To achieve net-zero emissions, nations must significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, factories, and vehicles. Any remaining emissions would need to be offset through means such as reforestation or carbon capture technologies.
Many countries have committed to net-zero targets, with the United States and European Union aiming for 2050, China for 2060, and India for 2070. However, the report suggests that these targets may need to be brought forward, particularly for wealthier nations. Meeting these targets will require substantial transformations in various sectors, including phasing out coal plants, transitioning to electric heat pumps for buildings, increasing the adoption of electric vehicles, and reducing emissions from heavy industry.
The IEA’s report recommends investments in technologies like clean hydrogen and carbon capture. Implementing these measures could result in a 20% decline in global fossil fuel demand by 2030. While the prediction that global oil demand could peak this decade has received criticism from the oil cartel OPEC, the IEA clarified that it is not calling for a complete halt to oil and gas investments. Instead, the focus should be on reducing fossil fuel use while managing supply investments to ensure a smooth transition.
Overall, stronger international cooperation and faster implementation of measures are needed to effectively tackle global warming and limit temperature rise to safer levels.
– International Energy Agency (IEA)