By SARAH KENT
LONDON -- A global climate
deal that may come into force in 2020 will come too late to
avert a global temperature increase of more than 2 degrees
Celsius, unless governments swiftly implement four new policy
measures to curb carbon emissions, the International Energy
Agency said Monday.
Scientists have warned that a global
temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius could have
dramatic consequences for the environment, including increasing
the frequency of extreme weather events with severe social and
"Rapid and widespread adoption could act as a
bridge to further action, buying precious time while
international climate negotiations continue," said IEA chief
economist Fatih Birol, the report's lead author.
The IEA, which advises rich industrialized
countries on energy policy, called on governments to act
to adopt better energy-efficiency measures, cut back on the use
of inefficient coal-fired power plants, minimize methane emissions from oil and gas
production and accelerate the removal of fossil fuel subsidies
in order to buy more time before a comprehensive agreement.
Governments agreed at the beginning of the
decade to negotiate a new globally binding climate agreement by
2015 that would be implemented by 2020, but the IEA said
preventing global temperatures from rising by more than 2
degrees Celsius is already "extremely challenging."
Last month, US government scientists said carbon dioxide levels in the
atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time
since monitoring began at Mauna Loa in Hawaii. The United
Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says
atmospheric concentrations of CO2 must be kept below 450 parts
per million in order to limit the global temperature rise to
According to the IEA, carbon dioxide emissions rose by 1.4% in 2012 to
reach a record high of 31.6 gigatons. In an April report
tracking the progress of green energy technology, the agency said that the
world had made almost no progress towards reducing the carbon
content of its energy supply in the last 20 years.
The IEA said its four policy measures would leave open the
possibility of limiting a global temperature increase to 2
degrees Celsius in 2020 without harming economic growth.
The suggested policies would benefit nuclear
and renewables-based power plants which would see their net
revenue boosted by $1.8 trillion to 2035, the IEA said.
Existing coal-fired plants would see their revenue decline by a
similar amount and 8% of new fossil-fuelled plants would be
retired before their investment is fully recovered, it
While delaying stronger climate action to 2020
would avoid $1.5 trillion in low-carbon investments over the next
seven years, it would mean an additional $5 trillion in
investment would be needed to get back on track, the IEA
"Climate change has quite frankly slipped to
the back burner of policy priorities. But the problem
is not going away - -quite the opposite," said IEA executive
director Maria van der Hoeven.
UK-based environmental charity WWF said that
the IEA's recommendations were not sufficient. "With the world
on track for catastrophic levels of global warming, as the IEA
says, these stop-gap proposals simply don't go far enough,"
said Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF global climate and
Dow Jones Newswires