- Category: Climate Talks
11 Jun 2013
- Published on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 07:48
- Hits (779)
According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, four specific energy policies are needed in order to stay on track towards limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.
The report, titled “Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map,” suggested four different economically plausible energy policies that will help keep the increase in global temperature to a minimum by 2020. The four policies were part of the report’s 4-for-2 degrees Celsius scenario which is specifically made to significantly reduce emissions by the target year.
The first policy would be to make the industry, buildings, and transport sector adopt stringent energy efficiency measures. This step could reduce emissions by as much as half in 2020.
The second policy suggested is to limit or ban the construction of inefficient coal-fired power plants and to partially phase out existing ones. This type of policy will not only account for a 20 percent reduction of emissions in 2020, but it will also be a huge step against local air pollution. For this to be done though, power generation from renewable sources and natural gas must be increased.
Minimizing the amount of methane leakage coming from upstream oil and gas operations, transmissions and distribution pipelines is the third suggested policy since methane is known to be 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to its Global Warming Potential. Reducing methane emissions can account for 18 percent of emissions reduction.
The last policy that the report suggested is to partially phase out subsidies on fossil fuel consumption – which can account for 12 percent reduction in emissions. According to the report, subsidies on fossil fuel encourage excessive and wasteful use thereby further increasing emissions.
Delaying any action or failure to adopt these types of policies before 2020 could mean a significant increase in costs to the energy sector, increasing its likelihood to be retrofitted, stopped, or retired.
Report garners mixed reactions
Following the release of the report, various agencies and organizations have expressed their thoughts regarding the four policies that I.E.A. is pushing.
Samantha Smith, the leader of the World Wide Fund for Nature Global Climate and Energy Initiative, welcomes the ideas of the report, specifically sighting energy efficiency standards and reducing methane emissions as great ideas. However, Ms. Smith said that instead of partially phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, I.E.A. should push for the full phasing out of all fossil fuel subsidies.
Dr. Stephen Singer, the W.W.F. director for Global Energy Policy, said that instead of phasing out all inefficient coal plants, a better option would be to reduce the overall coal carbon dioxide emissions for all existing power plants by 20 percent come 2020.
“Renewable energy must become the single largest recipient of new energy supply financing within the next decade in order to avoid disastrous climate change,” Dr. Singer emphasized.
President and chief executive officer of the World Resources Institute Andrew Steer pointed out that the common assumption of emissions reduction being costly is flawed, when in fact it is inaction that would cost more, not to mention the risk that comes with it.
“There are clear advantages to getting ahead and investing in low carbon energy sources today, rather than trying to make corrections and retrofit equipment and infrastructure later on,” Mr. Steer said. – L. Polintan