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Countries can reduce GHG emissions by 2020 at no economic cost, says IEA



Greenhouse gas emissions could hit an early peak and then be reduced with five viable key measures to promote clean energy and cut fossil fuels subsidies by 2020, without impacting on the economy, according to the latest analysis of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

A new report by IEA released ahead of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December has shown how countries can accelerate a peak in emissions by 2020 to quickly tackle climate change.

IEA suggests five easy measures that every nation can adopt to reach this goal: increase energy efficiency, reduce methane emissions, shut down coal-fired power plants, phase out fossil fuels subsidies by 2030 and increase investment in renewables to $400 billion in 2030.

IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said, “It is clear that the energy sector must play a critical role if efforts to reduce emissions are to succeed. While we see growing consensus among countries that it is time to act, we must ensure that the steps taken are adequate and that the commitments made are kept.

According to IEA, these measures are safe and risk-free for the economy. Countries also need to review national climate targets regularly and track progress on energy development.

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), commented on the report, “Investors have urged the phasing out of fossil fuels and a long-term emissions reduction goal as key planks of a global agreement, as the report recommends. These measures would give investors’ confidence that the world is united on delivering a low carbon energy system and help boost investment.”

Professor Catherine Mitchell, Professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, added, “This report confirms that two absolute no-brainers are cutting energy waste and closing coal fired power stations – each nation should be doing those two things as soon as it can.

Photo: Martin Nikolaj Bech via flickr

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Further reading:

UN: businesses ‘increasingly significant’ in fight against climate change

Report urges businesses to act on climate change

New series demonstrates climate change impacts on businesses

Shell CEO: We can’t ignore the importance of renewable energy

IEA: low-carbon technology spending needs to triple to meet climate goals