The International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued a warning that global warming is “not on track” to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees centigrade by 2020.
Their latest World Energy report predicts that climate change could potentially double the bench mark, reaching between 3.6 degrees centigrade and 5.3 degrees centigrade.
In the report it says that ” much more can be done to tackle energy-sector emissions without jeopardising economic growth”.
Updated estimates from the IEA for global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 reveals a 1.4% increase, reaching a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes, but also mask significant regional differences, according to the organisation.
Executive director of IEA Maria van der Hoeven said “Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities. But the problem is not going away – quite the opposite.”
The largest growth in carbon dioxide emissions was in China with 300 million tonnes, although the increase was also one of the lowest it has seen in ten years as a result of the deployment of renewables and improvements in energy intensity. Although there is increases in the use of coal in some countries, emissions in Europe have declined by 50 million tonnes , with emissions increasing by 70 million tonnes in Japan.
In the United States, a switch from coal to gas in power generation helped reduce emissions by 200 million tonnes, bringing them back to the level of the mid 1990s.
Energy efficiency measures in industry, building and transport would account for almost half of the emissions reduction in 2020 with the additional investment required offset by reduced spending on fuel bills.
Actions were welcomed on limiting the construction and use of the least efficient coal fired power, which the IEA said would lead to 20% reduction in emissions and curb air pollution in the local area.
The IEA also said that the share of power generation from renewables should increase (from around 20% today to 27% in 2020), as should power generation from natural and that actions to halve expected methane released into the atmosphere from the upstream oil and gas industry in 2020 would provide 18% of the savings.
Implementing a partial phase out of fossil fuel consumption subsidies would account for 12% of the reduction in emissions and support the energy efforts, as stated in the report.