Clean energy delayed by ‘stubborn incumbency’ of fossil fuels

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The planetary cleanable vigor system is flourishing but its maturation is inactive acold excessively dilatory to bounds planetary warming to 1.5 degrees and debar catastrophic clime change, says the International Energy Agency, successful a stark informing up of the COP26 clime meetings successful Glasgow.

In its yearly World Energy Outlook, released connected Wednesday, the bureau highlights the request for greater ambition and enactment connected cleanable vigor astatine Glasgow successful an epoch of expanding clime disasters and vigor marketplace volatility.

In May, the bureau enactment fossil fuels connected announcement with its archetypal study aligned with the 1.5-degree goals, uncovering that nett zero by 2050 meant determination should beryllium nary caller oil, state oregon ember extraction. Wednesday’s study reinforces this position.

Global deployments of star and upwind vigor are soaring, the study finds, and successful 2020 – adjacent arsenic economies staggered nether the value of coronavirus lockdowns – they continued to turn rapidly. In astir markets, star and upwind present correspond the cheapest disposable root of caller energy generation.

The IEA finds hydrogen‐based fuels volition request to flooded a fig of hurdles to play a large relation arsenic liquid fuels, including precocious costs of accumulation and constricted infrastructure.

The world’s depletion of ember grew powerfully this year, pushing c dioxide emissions towards their second-largest yearly summation successful history.

Existing coal‐fired powerfulness plants contiguous a important challenge, the bureau says. If they proceed caller operations for the remainder of their technically viable lives, it is “very hard” to spot however nett zero emissions could beryllium reached by 2050.

“The world’s hugely encouraging cleanable vigor momentum is moving up against the stubborn incumbency of fossil fuels successful our vigor systems,” says Dr Fatih Birol, the agency’s enforcement director.

“Governments request to resoluteness this astatine COP26 by giving a wide and unmistakable awesome that they are committed to rapidly scaling up the cleanable and resilient technologies of the future,” helium says.

“The societal and economical benefits of accelerating cleanable vigor transitions are immense and the costs of inaction are immense.”

Today’s clime pledges would effect successful lone 20 per cent of the emissions reductions by 2030 that are indispensable to enactment the satellite connected a way towards nett zero by 2050, the IEA study finds.

International Energy Agency enforcement  manager  Fatih Birol.

International Energy Agency enforcement manager Fatih Birol.Credit:Bloomberg

Indeed, the satellite has to much than triple its concern successful cleanable vigor projects implicit the adjacent decade. And immoderate of this spending needs to hap successful processing economies, wherever financing is scarce.

Despite this, the study besides stresses the concern to scope nett zero by 2050 is little burdensome than it mightiness appear.

More than 40 per cent of the required emissions reductions would travel from measures that would wage for themselves, specified arsenic improving efficiency, limiting state leakage oregon installing upwind oregon star successful places wherever they are present the cheapest options.

And successfully pursuing nett zero would make a marketplace for upwind turbines, star panels, lithium-ion batteries and substance cells of good implicit $US1 trillion ($1.36 trillion) a twelvemonth by 2050, comparable successful size to the existent lipid market.

The bureau spells retired what authorities pledges to trim emissions to day mean for the vigor assemblage and the climate, and outlines which pathways person the champion accidental of limiting planetary warming to 1.5 degrees.

The archetypal of 3 imaginable pathways would scope nett zero emissions by 2050 and support warming to 1.5 degrees, successful enactment with the Intergovernmental Panel connected Climate Change’s recommendations. Annual cleanable vigor concern worldwide volition request to much than triple by 2030 to astir $4 trillion.


The 2nd script is based connected the vigor and clime measures governments person really enactment successful spot to date. Although each the nett maturation successful vigor request done to 2050 is met by low-emissions sources, yearly emissions stay astatine today’s levels. This means planetary mean temperatures volition support rising erstwhile they deed 2.6 degrees supra pre-industrial levels successful 2100.

The 3rd pathway is 1 successful which the nett zero emissions pledges announced by governments truthful acold are implemented successful time, and successful full. This means request for fossil fuels volition highest by 2025, and planetary c emissions autumn by 40 per cent by 2050. The planetary mean somesthesia emergence successful 2100 would beryllium held astatine astir 2.1 degrees.

The IEA says determination is simply a looming hazard of much turbulence and volatility up for vigor markets due to the fact that the satellite is not investing capable to conscionable aboriginal vigor needs.

The vigor assemblage is liable for astir three‐quarters of the emissions that person already pushed planetary mean temperatures 1.1 degrees higher since the pre-industrial age.

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