The International Energy Agency (IEA) calls for a greater effort to continuously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, for the first time, projects a demanding horizon of CO₂ neutrality – points out its annual report published this Tuesday (13) .
The covid-19 pandemic has hurt the energy world: the latest IEA forecasts show a 5% drop in demand this year, a 7% reduction in CO₂ emissions related to the energy sector and investment in this area will fall 18%.
Likewise, oil (-8%) and coal (-7%) decrease, while renewables have a better result. In addition to this crisis, the IEA requires a greater commitment to reducing emissions.
“Despite this year’s record drop, states still have a lot to do to achieve a decisive reduction in global emissions,” emphasized its executive director, Fatih Birol.
“We will only be able to correct the current emissions trend with structural changes in the way we produce and consume,” added Birol.
As every year, in its more than 450 pages, the IEA report presents a series of scenarios for the future.
From the policies, existing commitments and the forecast of a later economic recovery, the IEA concludes that the fall in emissions will not be maintained after this year.
The IEA then decided to present a new horizon: “zero net emissions” from now until 2050 (NZE2050, in English), more ambitious than its 2019 “sustainable development” scenario.
Some companies, countries and regions, starting with the European Union (EU), have set a carbon neutral target for the middle of this century in order to limit climate change.
They seek to reduce CO₂ emissions to a minimum and compensate the rest through different absorption systems (forests, plants, carbon capture and storage, etc.).
– “An insufficient first step” –
Achieving this horizon of carbon neutrality, however, implies applying a series of radical actions in the next ten years.
For example, to reduce emissions by 40% in 2030, it would be necessary for low-emission sources of electricity generation, such as renewables, to represent 75% of production (less than 40% in 2019), and more than 50% of the cars sold in the world are electric (about 2.5%, currently).
“Decarbonisation of electricity, greater ambition for energy efficiency and changing habits will play an important role, as well as accelerating the development of technologies such as electrolysers to produce hydrogen, or small reactors [nucleares] modular “, informs IEA.
The Agency insists that all actors need to be involved in this unprecedented effort: governments, companies, the financial sector and also citizens, who will have to start making decisions about the way they travel, or heat their homes.
In charge of advising developed countries on its energy policy, the IEA is often criticized by environmental advocates for their excessive caution, the lack of climatic ambition, the weight it attaches to gas as a transitional energy, or even the hope it has. technologies like carbon capture and storage.
And this new report is far from pleasing to some environmental NGOs.
“The IEA’s NZE2050 program is halfway there. It is an incomplete perspective, limited to ten years and which continues to bet on fossil energies, while believing in the development of technologies still questioned”, lamented the organizations Reclaim Finance and Oil Change International.
“It is an insufficient first step, because as long as this type of report does not focus on the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC, the IEA will continue to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry and will be an obstacle to action for the climate”, criticized Romain Ioualalen of Oil Change International.
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