Energy & Sustainability: World’s Energy System Not On Track To Meet Climate Goals

Denmark’s Horns Rev offshore wind farm. Wind power made up 35%of its electicity needs in 2013 (Flickr/ VattenfalL)

Barely one tenth of renewable energy technology is ready to meet long-term climate change targets as governments have failed to adequately support large-scale deployment, acoording to the report by the International Energy Agency quoted by Reuters on Tuesday.

Under a global climate pact, called the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries agreed last year to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century and to limit a global average rise in temperature to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Energy technology innovation can help achieve a cleaner energy system but strong policy signals are needed, the report said.

Only three out of 26 assessed technologies – electric vehicles, energy storage and mature variable renewables (solar PV and onshore wind) – are on track to meet climate targets, according to the IEA.

“Transformation towards a clean energy system is not in line with stated international policy goals. Many technology areas suffer from a lack of policy support and this impedes their scaled-up deployment,” the report said.

The IEA said the world’s power sector could reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2060 under a goal to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius.

The energy sector could even become carbon neutral by 2060 to limit future temperature increase to 1.75 degrees C by 2100, if technology innovations are “pushed to the limit”.

“But to do so would require an unprecedented level of policy action and effort from all stakeholders,” the report added.

Global new nuclear capacity additions totalled 10 gigawatt (GW last year, the highest rate since 1990. However, a capacity addition rate of 20 GW annually would be needed to meet goals for limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees C, the report said.

From 2010 to 2015, renewable power generation grew by more than 30 percent and is forecast to grow by another 30 percent between 2015 and 2020.

However, renewable power generation growth needs to accelerate by an additional 40 percent over 2020-25 to reach a 2 degree C limit goal.

Carbon dioxide emissions from coal must decline by around 3 percent a year to 2025, led by the retirement in the least efficient technologies and a decline in coal generation not equipped with carbon capture and storage after 2020, the IEA said.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney, editing by Louise Heavens)

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