LONDON – Countries’ current pledges for greenhouse gas cuts will fail to achieve a peak in energy-related emissions by 2030 and likely result in a temperature rise of 2.6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the International Energy Agency said on Monday.
An international deal to combat climate change is meant to be agreed in December but a meeting in Bonn, Germany, last week ended with little progress towards an agreement to keep average temperature rises within 2C.
The proposed emissions cuts from 2020 offered by governments so far are unlikely to meet the 2C goal, a threshold scientists say is the limit beyond which the world will suffer ever worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas.
While the pledges are a “good start,” if governments do not strengthen policies, the world would be on a path to an average temperature increase of 2.6C by 2100 and 3.5C after 2200, the Paris-based IEA said.
This translates into an average temperature rise of 4.3C over land in the northern hemisphere where most of the world’s population lives, and even more in urban areas.
“Then we can say goodbye to the planet we have seen for centuries,” IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told reporters at a briefing in London.
That kind of temperature rise would lead to more frequent extreme weather events around the world, with the biggest impact felt in Africa, but heatwaves, for example, every two years in Paris, he added.
To avoid this, governments at climate talks in Paris this December need to set conditions that will achieve an early peak in global energy-related emissions, review their commitments every five years, and translate the 2C goal into a long-term emissions goal, the IEA said.
Global energy-related emissions could peak by 2020 if energy efficiency is improved; the construction of inefficient coal plants is banned; investment in renewables is increased to $400 billion in 2030 from $270 billion in 2014; methane emissions are cut in oil and gas production and fossil fuel subsidies are phased out by 2030.
“In 15 years’ time, every inefficient coal plant should be phased out. If there is resistance, it could be addressed by providing support for those countries (in the Paris agreement),” Birol told Reuters.
Under the IEA’s strategy, the use of coal peaks before 2020 and then declines; oil demand rises to 2020 then levels off and total energy-related greenhouse gas emissions peak around 2020.
Last week, the G7 leaders pledged to eliminate “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” but talks on phasing out a form of coal subsidy ended in stalemate.
Subsidies that support the consumption of fossil fuels are typically aimed at making energy more accessible to the poor.
However, only 8 percent of the money spent on them reaches the poorest 20 percent of the world population, the IEA said.
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(Editing by Dale Hudson)
This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.