In another wake up call, the prestigious Paris-based International Energy Agency has called for a significant increase to clean up the global energy system as the effort ” has stalled “. As the IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven stated :
“Despite much talk by world leaders, and despite a boom in renewable energy over the last decade, the average unit of energy produced today is basically as dirty as it was 20 years ago.”
This is is highly surprising if you remember that despite all the efforts that are being made on solar and wind energy, coal is still booming around the world.
The executive summary of their latest report brings some worrying data :
To illustrate this inertia, the report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, introduces the Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index (ESCII), which shows how much carbon dioxide is emitted, on average, to provide a given unit of energy. The ESCII stood at 2.39 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of oil equivalent (tCO2/toe) in 1990, and had barely moved by 2010, holding at 2.37 tCO2/toe (see data visualisations).
“As world temperatures creep higher due to ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide – two thirds of which come from the energy sector – the overall lack of progress should serve as a wake-up call,” Ms. Van der Hoeven said. “We cannot afford another 20 years of listlessness.
We need a rapid expansion in low-carbon energy technologies if we are to avoid a potentially catastrophic warming of the planet, but we must also accelerate the shift away from dirtier fossil fuels.”
While noting that progress remains alarmingly slow for a majority of technologies that could save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions consistent with international climate goals, the IEA’s reportdid find some recent, positive signs.