Global CO2 emissions will reach new records in 2023 due to insufficient efforts in the development of renewable energy in post-pandemic economic recovery plans, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Tuesday.
States, especially Western ones, invested large amounts of public money to sustain their economies during the pandemic, but only 2% of these resources went to renewable energy, according to a study of recovery plans carried out by the IEA.
So far, most of the $ 16 trillion announced to deal with the Covid-19 crisis has been earmarked for health measures and support for businesses and families.
Some 2.3 trillion were invested in the economic recovery, but only 380,000 million in promoting green energy.
For this reason, “taking into account current forecasts for public spending, CO2 emissions follow a path that will take them to record levels in 2023 and will continue to grow in the following years”.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, many governments have highlighted the importance of rebuilding with a better model, for a cleaner future, but many of them have yet to turn their words into deeds,” said AIE director Fatih Birol.
“Not only is investment in renewable energy in the world far from the path to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century, but it is not even able to avoid a new emissions record,” he lamented.
– Strong disparity between North and South –
Public and private funds are lacking. According to calculations carried out by the IEA and the IMF in mid-2020, it would be necessary a trillion dollars of additional green investment per year for three years (energy efficiency, electrification, networks) compared to what was agreed in the Paris climate agreement , which would create “9 million jobs”.
So far, the measures adopted will mean $350 billion in additional investments annually, from 2021 to 2023: it is more than before the Covid, but insufficient.
The trend is particularly alarming in developing and emerging countries, where, for example, increased electricity demand finds its answer in coal rather than in solar and wind energy.
These regions register only 20% of the investments necessary to reduce their emissions, according to the report, which fears there will be a large gap with rich countries.
In this way “many countries also lose opportunities that they could take from the development of clean energies: growth, jobs, deployment of energy industries of the future”, laments Fatih Birol, who underlines the commitment of the countries of the North towards the South.
At COP21 in Paris in 2015, countries pledged to provide $ 100 billion annually in climate finance over ten years.
With the Covid crisis, the IEA wants, with the help of the instrument for monitoring relaunch plans (“Sustainable Recovery Tracker”), to help governments measure the impact of their action. This updated balance is also published with a view to the G20 of the Ministers of Environment and Energy that takes place on July 22 and 23 in Naples.
More than 800 measures have been analyzed in 50 countries and can be consulted on the agency’s website.
Based in Paris, the IEA was created by the OECD in 1974 to ensure global energy security, particularly in rich countries.
In May, the institution, which also monitors the greenhouse gas emissions that energy emits (the majority of total emissions), published a roadmap for global carbon neutrality by 2050. The biggest conclusion is that we must abandon any new fossil fuel exploration project (oil, gas, coal).
A “narrow but still viable route if we act now,” Birol recalled Tuesday.
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