The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that the door is closing in terms of climate change if there is not a bold change in policy direction. Charlotte Reid has more.
The IEA has revealed in a new report that the world may lock itself into an inefficient high-carbon energy system and be headed for irreversible climate change in five years.
The latest research by the IEA, called World Energy Outlook 2011, says if the world is to stay below 2 degrees C of warming, which scientists treat as the safety limit, then there is a very small gap left for actions to be taken.
“Growth, prosperity and rising population will inevitably push up energy needs over the coming decades,” said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven, “But we cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable uses of energy.”
“Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low carbon technologies,” van der Hoeven added.
A number of countries are continuing their commitment to nuclear power programmes, but the Fukushima accident in Japan has caused some uncertainties.
So far, 2011 has seen the nuclear accident in Japan, as well as a record year for carbon dioxide emissions which van der Hoeven said “highlights the urgency and the scale of the challenge”.
Fatih Birol, IEA chief economist, said, “As each year passes without clear signals to drive investment in clean energy the ‘lock in’ of high carbon infrastructure is making it harder and more expensive to meet our energy security and climate goals.”
Just this week, scientists warned that the polar regions are showing the clearest signs of climate change as it is the cause for the loss of floating ice in the Artic Sea.
The IEA warns that delaying action is not a viable option saying that for every $1 not invested into cleaner technology in the power sector before 2020, means $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for increased emissions.
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