The International Energy Agency (IEA) has recognised the contribution of the EU energy policies in the fight against climate change but highlighted that if global temperature rise is to be kept below 2 ° Celsius, much remains to be done. This is one of the main messages of a presentation of the IEA's World Energy Outlook 2009 (WEO 2009) for European Commission high level officials, hosted by Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs today. The IEA's Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka and Chief Economist Fatih Birol presented the recent upheavals in energy markets and discussed their implications for EU policies.
The WEO 2009 sets out a timetable of actions needed to limit the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million of carbon-dioxide equivalent and to keep the global temperature rise to around 2 ° Celsius. Alongside its sombre warning that every year of delay in implementing these measures adds $500 billion to the energy sector’s mitigation costs, the IEA highlights there are cost-effective solutions to avoid severe climate change, while also enhancing energy security. The biggest contribution should come from energy efficiency, while the role of low carbon technologies such as renewables will also be critical.
Although global energy use is expected to fall this year, it is set to increase by 40% between now and 2030, according to the reference scenario, reflecting both the impact of the economic crisis and of new government policies introduced over the last year.
The report urges governments to make use of this narrow window of opportunity before energy demand starts to rise again to concentrate investment on low-carbon technology and to meet the ambitious pathway advocated by the IEA.