LONDON - The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that temperatures could jump by as much as 4.3 deg C by the end of the century and urged countries to improve their pledges on reducing emissions.
In a report ahead of a climate change conference in Paris later this year, IEA said more should be done to reach the goal of keeping the rise in average global temperature below 2 deg C. Current pledges "will have a positive impact on future energy trends but will fall short of the major course correction required to meet the 2 deg C goal," said the report presented in London on Monday.
Instead, it estimated there would be an average temperature rise globally of around 2.6 deg C by 2100 and said the rise could be higher at 4.3 deg C for countries in the northern hemisphere. "The energy sector must play a critical role if efforts to reduce emissions are to succeed. Energy production and use accounts for two-thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions," IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said.
The agency's chief economist Fatih Birol said extreme weather events would become "much more frequent" as a result, with Africa particularly badly affected despite only minimally contributing to the problem. Ms van der Hoeven stressed "time is of the essence", noting "the cost and difficulty of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions increase every year".
The IEA suggested five key measures to ensure global energy-related emissions peak already in 2020. They call for improved energy efficiency in key industrial sectors, reducing the use of inefficient coal-fired power plants, increased investment in renewable energy technologies, a gradual phasing out of fossil-fuel subsidies and a cut in methane emissions in oil and gas production.
"This major climate milestone is possible utilising only proven technologies and policies and without changing the economic and development prospects of any region," the IEA said.
The European Union has formally adopted targets for the Paris forum, including a 40 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. The United States, which accounts for 12 per cent of global emissions, intends to reduce them by 26 to 28 per cent in 2025 compared with the 2005 level.