IEA calls for "strong signal" to promote new investment for clean energy

14:26, December 15, 2009      

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The International Energy Agency(IEA) on Monday called on governments to send a strong signal to spur new investment for clean energy.

"While the details of a binding agreement may not be completely worked out in Copenhagen, it is more important than ever that participants send a strong, indicative and ambitious signal that can guide energy investment and policy decisions globally," IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in a press release.

The economic crisis, which resulted in a fall in global energy-related CO2 emissions of around 3 percent in 2009, has provided "a unique window of opportunity" to change the current highly unsustainable energy path, the IEA chief said.

To limit the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 equivalent, in line with a two-degree increase in global temperature, the world would need to retire a significant portion of today's coal-fired electricity plants before the end of their lifetime -- by 2030. Around 60 percent of global electricity production in 2030 would need to come from a mix of renewables, nuclear energy and plants fitted with carbon capture and storage.

The bulk of the emissions reduction could be delivered by energy efficiency, accounting for over half of total abatement by 2030 in the IEA 450 Scenario, Tanaka said.

The IEA estimates that 10.5 trillion U.S. dollars are needed by2030 to support a global transition to more efficient, low-carbon energy systems, which will reduce global CO2 emissions after 2020 and bring global emissions below today's level by 2030, he said.

"The wave of investments that will come with the economic recovery must be climate friendly. A strong signal is needed now. Every year of delay adds USD 500 billion to the energy sector cost of reaching 450 ppm," Tanaka stressed.

The IEA has produced several roadmaps on key technologies to meet that challenge and to guide environmental and energy decision makers on the path to needed innovations.

"A strong political signal is needed now in order to drive the necessary changes," Tanaka said.

The IEA will work with all countries to turn global climate goals into practical steps for the energy sector and will be evaluating the energy implications of any emission goal coming out of Copenhagen, said Tanaka.

A UN panel of climate scientists were proposing a 25-40 percent cut in carbon emissions by rich nations by 2020 in order to keep global warming under control. Developing nations are asking for a 40-percent cut.

Source: Xinhua
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