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04 July 2010

IEA demands halt to business-as-usual approach to curbing carbon emissions

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For years the International Energy Agency has been regarded as an adjunct to the fossil fuels industry, but now it is calling for a global low-carbon revolution

Governments must take immediate action to facilitate the development of low-carbon technologies or face much higher bills in the long run, according to a major new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Released yesterday, the Energy Technology Perspectives 2010 report warns that if greenhouse gas emissions do not peak by around 2020 and decline steadily towards the 50 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050 recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), tackling climate change will become much more costly and even impossible.

Robert Bell, chief technical officer at environmental consultancy AEA, which advised the IEA report team, said the report highlights the huge differences between a business-as-usual approach and the one needed to tackle both energy security and climate change.

"Governments, investors, and consumers around the world need to take bold steps," he said.

Under a business-as-usual scenario, global carbon dioxide emissions could double by 2050, compared with the IEA's 'BLUE Map' scenario under which they could be halved.

The IEA scenario requires investment in clean technology to rise from the present $165bn a year, to $750bn in 2030 and $1.6 trillion in 2050, with the money coming from both government and the private sector.


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