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



In order to limit climate change public spending on low-carbon technology research and development must triple, according to a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report – Energy Technology Perspectives 2015 – argues that clean energy progress is falling short if the world is to meet the target of limiting temperature increase to 2C. This target has been agreed upon by the international community, with scientist warning that warming beyond this would lead to dangerous and unpredictable consequences.

Annual government spending on energy research and development is estimated to be $17 billion (£11.7bn). The IEA recommends that this is tripled, noting this would require government and the private sector to work together to shift the focus to low-carbon technologies.

The IEA notes that UN negotiations are set to continue at a summit in Paris in December, where it is hoped an internal climate treaty can be agreed. However, the organisation adds that meeting climate goals solely though this process will be challenging. As a result IEA urges policymakers to step up efforts to support the development and deployment of new, ground-breaking energy technologies.

Maria van der Hoeven, IEA executive director, said, “The stakes are high for the energy sector, but it is also no stranger to profound technological change. An incredible chain of innovations in the energy sector has been at the vanguard of social and economic transformation for over a century, and it is exciting to see the progress being made by solar panels and fuel economy improvement for passenger cars today, to name but two.”

She added, “But we cannot be complacent. We are setting ourselves environmental and energy access targets that rely on better technologies.”

The report looks at the progress the low-carbon technology sector has made, stating it clearly demonstrates that there is “significant and untapped potential for accelerating research and development in clean technologies”.

Photo: lamoix via Flickr 

Further reading:

Global renewable energy investment on the rise

Global renewable energy investment up 11% in promising third quarter

Clean energy investment reached $274bn in 2014

Global renewable energy investment up 33% in second quarter of 2014

Policy uncertainty leads to UK slipping down renewable investment rankings


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