By PATRICK McGROARTY
With little hope for significant progress on a major international climate agreement at this week's climate negotiations, nations must take it upon themselves to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Tuesday.
"The door to achieving our objective is closing," said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven. "While I strongly urge an agreement on emissions I have quite a simple message to the participating in these talks: Don't wait for a global deal. Act now."
Van der Hoeven said that IEA research shows global temperatures are on track to rise an average of 6 degrees Celsius by 2035 unless dramatic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is taken.
To limit rising temperatures to a widely accepted target of an average of 2 degrees Celsius, global growth would have to come with just a 20% rise in emissions over current levels in the years ahead, she said.
"That means all (infrastructure and development) built after 2017 needs to be zero carbon," Van der Hoeven said.
Many ministers and a few heads of state arrived in Durban, South Africa, on Tuesday for the last four days of climate talks led by the United Nations aimed at drafting a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 treaty binding developed-world nations to cut emissions.
The commitments industrialized countries have under Kyoto expire after 2012. This year's meetings in Durban won't result in a new binding deal that could cover more countries, delegates say.
"We all hear that no significant progress is expected at this (conference), and that should be a serious concern for all of us," Van der Hoeven said.
Dow Jones Newswires