By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR
This Monday the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its annual World Energy Outlook report. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012 to a record high of 31.6 billion tons worldwide.
The report puts the spotlight back on climate change. Governments around the world need to work together to bring emissions down. Some countries and regions have made progress. U.S. emissions dropped 200 million tons and Europe’s emissions declined by 50 million tons. However, China’s emissions grew by 300 million tons compared to 2011, despite the country’s investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. According to the IEA report, developing countries now account for 60 percent of global emissions from energy, up from 45 percent in 2000.
In past climate talks, industrialized countries and emerging economies had points of views about their historical and current responsibilities for cutting carbon emissions.
But there is hope.
IEA said that countries can reduce emissions significantly by 2020. The solution: tackle the largest emitter. According to the IEA, the energy sector is the single largest source of climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions and limiting these is an essential focus of action.
The agency suggests four strategies to reach the emissions reduction goal: improve energy efficiency in buildings industry and transport, limit the use of coal-fired power plants, halve the oil and gas industry’s release of methane, and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
In transportation, some are already exploring innovative solutions using renewable energies. One example is Switzerland. The world’s largest solar boat, MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, and Solar Impulse, a solar plane that can fly using solar energy even by night, are two Swiss initiatives. Both – the PlanetSolar boat and the Solar Impulse plane – are currently in the United States to push the boundaries for solar technology.
In the U.S., States and municipalities are often the drivers of sustainability initiatives, especially when hit with the impact of climate change. Tomorrow, Mayor Bloomberg is expected to address how New York can protect itself against climate change that causes elevated sea levels and exposes the city to natural catastrophes. Earlier this year Hurricane Sandy had paralyzed the city and its neighbor state New Jersey.
For more details, download the IEA Energy Outlook Special Report here.
In November 2013, IEA will release the full World Energy Outlook 2013. The updated report will include energy projections through to 2035 and insights into what they mean for energy security, climate change, economic development and universal access to modern energy services.